Category - music

Psssst… wanna hear some music?

I Made A Music

Like the rest or the country/world right now, I’m trying to make meaningful use of the abundance free time that fate and the Coronavirus has bestowed upon me/us.

What to do… what to do…

This morning I picked up my electric guitar for the first time in… well, months.  It’s a Gibson ES-335 – the electric guitar that I had wanted for decades but only finally got about 8 years ago  (but that’s a whole other story.)

It had been so long since I’d played it, it took me a couple of minutes to remember how it all fit together, to get the amp set up and the guitar plugged in and tuned.  Then I tried to recall what I used to play on it – really, it’s been that long.

Then I remembered Albatross.  Except I didn’t really remember it.  I just recalled that it was something I learned from Nashville Guitar Guru David Isaacs when I took a workshop with him a couple of years ago  (January, 2018).

Albatross is a dreamy guitar instrumental first recorded in 1969 by an up-and-coming little band from England called Fleetwood Mac.  Maybe you’ve heard of the them?  Probably so,  but you probably haven’t heard Albatross, which was composed by the band’s lead guitarist at the time, somebody named Peter Green (click the link if you want to know more about his brilliant/tragic story).

OK, I thought, let’s see if I can remember how to play Albatross.  So I went digging around in my hard drive to find the file that Dave had given us for the workshop.

Thinking I had found the original recording, I listened to an MP3 file that I found.  It was the right tune but… it didn’t sound like I remembered the original.  For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what I was listening to or who was playing the layered guitar parts.

Until it finally dawned on me:  it was me.

I slowly recalled that I’d been dorking around with GarageBand at the time.  There are a couple of sections of Albatross that feature bendy melodies played on two guitars a third apart.  I’d completely forgotten that I  played and recorded all the parts on my ES-335 over a backing track that Dave had given us to practice with.

And as I’m listening to it for the first time in two years, I’m thinking, “damn, that sounds pretty good!” (except for one slipped-string clam somewhere in the middle).

So here, use this to fill up about 3-1/2 minutes of your quarantine time.  It’s the first music I’ve ever recorded and put online.

It only took 69 years (OK, only 25 years since I got on the Internet…but… that, too… is a whole other story).

Podcast Review:
The Long Ride w The Wild Ponies

Clearly there are not enough podcasts in the world, so what’s not to like about just one more?? (#sarcasm) 

Funny thing is, despite the virtually infinite selection of podcasts available nowadays (which nomenclature I find ironic, since who uses an actual iPod anymore?) it can actually be hard to find a new one that you want to subscribe to.  

The vast universe of podcasts is perhaps rivaled only by the vast universe of independent singer-songwriters, so I guess it makes some kind of Ven-diagram sense that I would actually find a lot to like about a new podcast created by a couple of singer-songwriters.  

I am speaking of “The Long Ride with The Wild Ponies.”

Hosts Doug and Telisha Williams (aka “The Wild Ponies“)  have come up with what seems like a fairly original format.  The first episode features a solo performance by singer/songwriter extraordinaire (really) Will Kimbrough, peppered with conversational breaks about life as traveling and performing artists.  I can’t say whether it’s because Will is such a tremendous (phenomenal, really) solo performer, or because the hosts do such a great job of keeping the conversational interludes brief and on-point, but between those elements the whole format just sorta works.  

Since the profusion of podcasts offered up lately are mostly just two people talking and pretending to laugh at each other’s lame attempts at humor, this format is a welcome relief.  I found it thoroughly engaging from start fo 46-minutes-later finish – although Will Kimbrough – have I mentioned how exceptional he is? – has placed a rather high bar for future guests to rise to.  

Of particular note is the “Speed Bump” segment near the end where Doug and Telisha ask a series of quick either/or questions, like:  

Telisha:  “Sunrise or sunset?”  

Will:  “Sun Ra. “ 

Such depth of insight is rarely found this side of Malcolm Gladwell. And Gladwell can’t sing or play guitar.  

So get ye over to your Podcast app and listen to “The Long Ride.” It will make your next long ride go faster. 

Aso: H/T to Laura Schneider, who had to mention this several times before I finally took the hint. 

Suzy Boggus

Performing a benefit concert for the Bells Bend Corridor at Sulphur Dell Farms in Scottsdale, aka the Last Vestige of Old Nashville (off the Ashland City Hwy, Rt 12, btw Briley Parkway and Ashland City).

Gretchen Peters – Guitar Mash 2019

This is one of my favorite shots from the second (annual?) Guitar Mash at City Winery Nasvhille on May 11, 2019.  Also dubbed “The Urban Campfire,” this event encourages the audience to bring their instruments and play along with the artists on stage.  The house band is led by Mark Stewart (musical director for Paul Simon) and Nashville’s own Jerry Douglas, International Dobro Maester Extraordinaire.  The lineup also included, in addition to Gretchen, Amythyst Kia, Nicole Atkins, some guy named Jason (Isbell) and some other guy named Buddy (Miller).  I’ll post some more pix this week. 

David Crosby

…at City Winery, Nashville – May 16, 2019

David Crosby has always been one of my favorites from the Classic Rock Era (aka “my youth”).  Maybe cause our voices are in a similar high-tenor range, and I have learned to play several of his songs over the years. Or maybe because the Jefferson Airplane version of “Wooden Ships” – which Crosby co-wrote with Stephen Stills and the Airplane’s Paul Kantner – lives prominently on my “All Time Top 5” songs playlist.

Apart from the fact that it’s amazing he’s still alive (he has too much in common with Keith Richard), he continues to be a stellar writer and performer.  At age 77 (!) David Crosby’s voice is every bit as clear, bright, and crystalline now as it was 50 years ago.

He has been touring of late in support of his 2017 album “Sky Trails.”  Last night was the second time I’ve seen him on this tour.  The first time was in December 2017 at the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame (my new favorite venue in Nashville). 

Last night he returned to City Winery to play to a very enthusiastic (admittedly, mostly Boomer) crowd.  He does an outstanding job of mixing his back catalog with the more recent material, making “nostalgia” seem “current” in the mix.  I was particularly pleased to hear him perform “The Lee Shore,” which has only ever been released on the CSN&Y concert double LP, “Four Way Street.”  That song was a favorite back in my own sailing days, when I lived in Hawaii in the 1980s.  

After the encore (“…everybody sing: ‘Four dead in O-hi-o…’”)  I thought about the extraordinary legacy that David Crosby has created since The Byrds released “Mr. Tambourine Man” in 1965.  Besides The Byrds, he played with Buffalo Springfield in their waning days; Crosby Stills and Nash (with or without Young) was a staple of the era; and I’ve always considered his first solo release, “If I Could Only Remember My Name” one of the most sonically layered and textured vocal works of that or any era.  I’ll put a link to that release on my website.

As we were leaving, I turned to my date and said “ya know, I never did get to see Paul McCartney, but this is pretty close….” In his own way, David Crosby has been every bit as lasting and influential as any Beatle. 

©2019 paul@cohesionarts.com

Caution

Nerves of Steel At Work

After the GuitarMash at City Winery, we were treated to an after party at Gruhn Guitars, one or the premier vintage guitar dealers in the whole world. Most of the festivities were held in the main showroom of Gruhn’s three-story location on 8th Avenue, on the outskirts of downtown Nashville, but the real treat was getting a chance to go up to the second and third floors.

On the second floor – that’s where the really expensive stuff is on display. From the $5-10,000 guitars on the ground floor, now we’re looking at $25,000 and higher instruments. I’ll post a photo later of me playing a $55,000 1940s D28.

The real treat was getting a tour of the workshop on the third floor, led by Greg Voros,. the Repair Department Manager. Here, Greg is explaining how the neck of a vintage Martin – in this case a 1940 D-45 worth something in the neighborhood of half a million dollars – is “re-set.” After nearly 80 years, the neck has to be removed through a very delicate process. One false move, Greg explains, and the value of the instrument can plunge by as much as $150,000.

Clearly not a job for the faint of heart.