Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, I’m going to be delving into a different type of review than I typically pen here. Jaime Villarreal, an incredibly talented guitar instructor, has quite the online presence. He has a modest YouTube following, several professional endorsements, and he offers his services via Skype - gone are the days of settling for the guitar teacher you found on Craigslist. So, let’s dig into Villarreal’s persona and his talent.
I wasn’t entirely sure where to start when critiquing an instructor. Then, I spent an hour on Villarreal’s YouTube channel. I want to touch primarily on the exhibitions of his talent over on that platform, because obviously, I can’t speak to his ability as an instructor. Donning a variety of Ibanez guitars, Villarreal shows off his chops through an array of metal covers. His production quality is fantastic, he plays with a solid backing track, and on occasion, includes multiple guitar performances and layers them.
Covers like Villarreal’s Whitesnake solo are excellent excursions into his talent, but they’re also very short lived. There’s a lot of that on his YouTube channel, and if I was to offer a critique, I’d argue he should spend more time covering longer pieces. Sixty second tidbits are fun, but lack the replayability or substance of a fuller cover. Villarreal, however, does do exactly that here and there. He has a nice Journey cover with the vocalist Addie Nicole. (Which is a heavy compliment. As Spotlight readers know, I really dislike Journey.) The cover is far too safe, though. The art of a good cover is taking the song in a place the original artist did not - Villarreal and Nicole don’t do that.
Moving forward, I’d love to see Villarreal delve into more creative musings. Right now, he’s showing off some excellent, very true-to-form covers. For example: a fifty second cover of the solo from ‘Jump’ is pretty cool. It would be ten times more compelling if Villarreal covered the whole song, or drastically changed it. He has the talent to take creative license - he should.
I was contemplating also arguing that Villarreal’s range is pretty set within hard rock and metal. I think that’s actually the point, though, and I don’t think you’d be hiring him for lessons if you were trying to learn something else. So in reality, abiding within these spaces may prove beneficial for him because he’s carving out a niche rather than spreading himself too thin.
Check him out on his website below where you can easily find all his other links or hire him!