Drive. what is it?
"Am I the only person who has a problem with the word "drive" when applied to music. I hear it used to mean so many different nuances that it’s almost like it’s totally lost its meaning. And it’s often used by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. So what’s wrong with being a safety net? To me it just means that you’re on the beat and not doing anything too flash. Isn’t that what you purists always say you want from backers? It’s like: make up your minds for god’s sake!"
If you’re strumming away on the beat and not doing anything too flash, chances are you might as well just put that ol’ guitar down, start up your metronome and retire to the bar for a pint. I’m not saying you should play out of time with lots of twidlly bits, it’s more subtle than that. When played well, these diddley tunes have an inherantly powerful pulse that defies the rigour of mechanical timekeeping, so if you play mechanically, as Arty does,the best you can hope to be is inofensive, but you are more likely to be holding back the drive. (And I don’t mean stopping people from speeding up, of course)
The thing about good diddling is it is ensemble stuff, everybody contributes. You keep your ears constanlty open to the subtleties of the music around you and you respond accordingly. That’s where the drive comes from. From a tention created by the give and take of the constant response to diddley stimuli. Throw in someone who just sits "on the beat" and you’ve ruined it