If you follow this site regularly, you know that I frequently work with my good friend Patrick Joseph on both music and videos to accompany that music. Patrick is an immensely talented singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, and is a great collaborator. We have been working together for a little over a year now, and it has been an incredibly rewarding creative outlet for me as a guitarist. Working with a singer/songwriter can sometimes be a challenge. Artists typically have a very clear, concise idea of how they would like their songs to sound. Oftentimes this results in quite a limited and narrow creative space to occupy as a guitarist. Of course, there is good reason for these limitations as many artists spend hours and hours obsessing over how to make a song the best it can possibly be, and the last thing they want is for some crazy guitarist to come in and try to re-invent their wheel.
Patrick works the same way: spending hours and hours writing and recording, perfecting each and every note and lyric before a song can be deemed “complete.” The big difference is Patrick is willing to work as a collaborator as well. He allows me a lot of creative freedom. I am not held down by a predetermined notion of what a guitar player should or should not bring to his music. I create my own guitar parts, but more importantly, I can stretch and explore sonic territory atypical of the guitar. I can occupy space that might normally be occupied by a keyboard or synthesizer, or create atmospheric/ambient electronic sounds that make people (I hope) listen twice when they see acoustic guitars.
This is territory I am very fond of exploring as a guitarist, and it is also what makes working with Patrick such a rewarding experience. My creative goals of exploring new and/or different sounds are fully satisfied, and I benefit/learn from working and performing with a talented singer/songwriter.
This video is a departure from our typical do-it-yourself approach, and was shot by our friend, and amazing photographer/videographer, JP Agustin.
Arsonist Blues is from Relics, our upcoming EP of re-imagined versions of songs from Patrick’s debut album Antiques. Our covers EP is also in the works as well as many other projects that will be unveiled very soon!
“The blues has lasted because the blues is about reality. Life is blue. Life ends. Sorrow is certain. Pain can’t be avoided. The blues lays it out. But as you sing the blues, and as you listen to the blues, something happens to you. In the middle of songs that have some of the saddest stories ever told, you feel more alive than ever. That’s the strength of the blues. That’s the miracle – watching the blues chase the blues away.” – Little Jimmy Scott
I’ve found myself in a place, musically speaking, that I would have never imagined. Not 4 years ago, not 10 years ago. But that seems to be the way life goes. You get busy making plans, and you miss life happening all around you while you are making those plans. At least that is how I feel. No matter what you think is going to happen, life probably has a different plan. So, come what may…
In high school and a couple years into college I was very much about only the music I liked and wasn’t really open to other styles. I had my Metallica, Tool, and my Dream Theater (and many other bands of the heavier persuasion) and I didn’t need anything else. (I’d chalk it up to teenage angst…but I was not angsty at all, I had no reason to be.) I didn’t like anything else really…except for Bob Dylan, but more in a passing sense. I didn’t even own a steel-string acoustic guitar until about 4 years ago, and even then, I rarely played it.
Which brings me to today…and my current affliction: I’ve become obssessed with folk music, americana, blues…whatever you want to call it. I find myself finger-picking away at very traditional sounding chord progressions late into the night time and time again. I find myself sitting for hours on end playing slide guitar, essentially re-learning everything because the tunings change the layout of the fingerboard and the technique requires completely different mechanics. And I enjoy it much more than I ever thought possible. A cool spring evening, a guitar in open-D tuning, slide in hand, and all is right with the world for that moment (or in my own selfish little world at least).
So, here are two pieces inspired by that folk obsession. By artists like Kelly Joe Phelps, Bill Frisell, Bob Dylan, etc. etc.
Slide guitar is the sound closest to that of a human voice, capable of so many inflections, emotions, and prone to imperfections of sound. It sounds like a weeping soul to me. Sorrowful and melancholy, but somehow still uplifting. Somehow still hopeful. And I think that is a pretty good reflection of how life can be sometimes.
You lose the blues by playing the blues.
If you are a fan of Radiohead…this post is for you. If you aren’t a fan of Radiohead…well, this post can still be for you anyway. I’ll post the original, and my cover, and you can decide which one you’d like to listen to first. (A word of warning: my version takes a little time to get going, but if you have the patience to listen as it develops, I think [hope] you will find it to be well worth it.)
If you don’t know the Radiohead song “Idioteque” from the album Kid A, or if you need a refresher, here is the video of the original:
And here is my interpretation:
Idioteque (Radiohead Cover) by lifetrackedinsound
I think that most people who know me musically, know that I have been, and continue to be, very captivated by the options/limitations of live looping/sampling. I have mostly worked with original improvisation and ambient sound types of looping/sampled music, so this is a bit of a departure for me. This is the second song I have arranged for solo guitar/looping device. The first was the Bjork song “Undo” (which I may post here someday).
This version of “Idioteque” is done entirely on acoustic guitar. It was all done in one take, recorded live, or in real-time. Which means there are no multi-track overdubs. There is very little processing other than a slight reverb and a slight delay on the direct signal from my Taylor acoustic. And yes, I know it is kind of a long piece, but the process of looping requires things to be that way. I spent a few hours doing my best to streamline the arrangement and make everything develop quicker, but adding layer by layer simply requires time to build all the parts into a foundation that the melody of the song is played over.
This is easily my favorite Radiohead song, so it made sense to attempt a cover arrangement/interpretation of it.
I hope you enjoy it!