a guitarist's occasional blog
"It's been a happy Thanksgiving, and I'm feeling fine. I've got a belly full of turkey and a head full of wine. I grab one for the road, and I head out to the shopping mall!" ~ from "Black Friday Stomp"
Here is an original song that you might enjoy adding to your gig this coming weekend. It's a little bit of satire on the upcoming holiday shopping madness.
"Black Friday Stomp" appears on my A Whisper in this Town CD. I was inspired to write this while reading Steve Goodman: Facing the Music by Clay Eals. The biography reminded me of the need for adding more variety (humor!) to my own set when performing. I also have a companion song called "Fourth of July: Made in China" that will likely get me in some trouble down the road!
This one is fairly easy and straightforward. Strum quarter notes aggressively and throw in occasional upstrokes. When I play it, I add a capo to the third fret. This puts the song in Eb instead of C. Perform it in whatever key works best for your voice.
The "G7#5" chord means that you play a D# instead of a D in your G chord. The easiest way is to play ~ (fret/string) 3/6, x/5, 3/4, 4/3, 4/2, x/1. "x" means to deaden the string. Otherwise, you're just pounding out cowboy chords.
A Whisper in this Town on iTunes
November is here again, and it's time for many of us to begin getting some holiday music ready to go—possibly fueled by too much Halloween candy.
A couple years ago I worked up an outline of "Silent Night" in an uncommon tuning: DGDF#AD. This is the same tuning I used for my original composition "South Branch"
It turns out that this DGDF#AD tuning works nicely, and it allows you to easily leave open strings ringing in the same way a piano player might use a sustain pedal. I'll use anything in my music if I think it sounds good. Letting open strings sustain works beautifully on this one, and the use of unison strings sometimes create a harp-like effect.
Be sure to bring the melody out by playing it with a bit more volume and emphasis than the (usually lower) accompaniment notes. I tried to vary the location of the melody across different strings to take advantage of tonal colors, but you should consider exploring other places on the neck where the melody works. When I begin an arrangement like this, I like to try out different ways of playing the melody before I even worry about harmony and approaches to accompaniment.
This arrangement is simply meant as a guide. I don't play it note-for-note, and I'm still working on a longer arrangement that moves to a higher octave with a little more variation. Enjoy.
Chuck Cheesman writes hopeful, loving, and sometimes funny songs for people of all ages.
All materials ©℗ Chuck Cheesman
Banner photo by Gina Dazzo