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Text & Transcriptions By Andy Ziker | Video Lesson By Nate Brown

Hubert Payne honors each song with impeccable feel and musicality, while also breaking down longstanding traditions. The following excerpts from the new Little Big Town album, The Breaker, are each great examples of his understated genius.

“Lost In California”

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Payne holds the fort with a one-handed sixteenth-note hi-hat groove and sparse bass drum, and piques our interest with accented hi-hat and an echo effect on the snare (most backbeats are immediately followed by a ghost note). After a two-measure pause, Payne transitions smoothly to the chorus pattern by keeping the sixteenths rolling along. “I referenced the groove from ‘Come On, Get Higher’ by Matt Nathanson,” Payne says. “I love Jason McGerr’s hi-hat pattern on that track. I wanted the sixteenth pulse to have a funky energy like Adam Deitch. I chose a detuned snare and some vintage drums to make it feel like an old Motown recording.”

“Free”

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Payne holds a brush in his right hand and a Regal Tip Blastick in his left, which creates a slightly uneven snare attack within the alternating sixteenth-note flow. Ghosted diddles, snare accents, and a well-placed bass drum create a three-dimensional effect. Payne says, “My approach for ‘Free’ was based sonically on a Dave Matthews Band song called ‘Lover Lay Down.’ I loved the movement and feel Carter Beauford was able to create using Blasticks. I was also inspired by the hip-hop beat from Doug E Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew’s song, ‘The Show.’”

“Drivin’ Aroun’”

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Entering in the middle of the opening chorus with a four-note pick-up, Payne never looks back. Ghosted notes on the snare serve to fill in the gaps between syncopated bass drum/snare backbeat and consecutive eighth-notes on closed and open hi-hat. Payne adds, “When I heard the demo for the song my first thought was: John Bonham would kill this! I tried to bring in his spirit from the Led Zeppelin song ‘D’yer Mak’er’”

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