solo arrangements for acoustic guitar and voice.
Bohemian Rhapsody 6:03 [MP3
Written by Freddie Mercury, published by EMI Glenwood Music Corporation (ASCAP)
God Only Knows
[MP3 excerpt #2]
[MP3 excerpt #2]
Sweet Baby James
Shes Always a Woman
Leader of the Band
Sister Golden Hair
Castles Made of Sand
For five days in December, 2000 I took a stab at recording 10 cover song arrangements Id worked up, intending to put them all on a CD-R as a Christmas gift for my mother, Carol Turner. I soundproofed my office, set up multiple mics, fired up my Mac, and for the next four days (recording each song live at least twice), went hog wild! I finished recording and doing a rough mix (soon to be the first of many) within hours of hopping onto a plane bound for Seattle. My stocking stuffer was in hand! On Christmas Day, my mom, sister Lisa, and some of my relatives had tons of fun eating, drinking, and generally being merry, with these tunes blaring in the background. As far as this little 10-song treat was concerned, that was that. Or so I thought...
A Few of My Friends
Bottom line: After I played some of these tracks for a few of my friends, their positive feedback and advice transformed this stocking stuffer into an actual album. Without them, I wouldnt have gone the distance necessary to make this intimate recording available! (Three years later...) Id like to thank them now, in alphabetical order:
But most of my thanks goes to my sweetie pie, Jennifer Rybine, whose sincere interest in what I do, understanding in why I do it, and appreciation for art in general has made all the difference in the world in keeping the ol fire lit. I reckon Jenschka rules!!! (She also designed this CDs artwork!)
Prior to August 1998, when I first heard the eclectic vocal/guitar stylings of Jeff Buckley, I was the last guy who ever messed with playing other peoples songs. Sure, I played some coverseither for cover band gigs, solo performances at weddings, etc.but I never took it as a serious artistic pursuit. Basically, hearing cover songs (on radio or record) usually hit me like the artist thought, Hey! Lets record a song someone else wrote, thats already great to begin with, but lets do it with [insert modern production approach here] to update it so we can cash in! It really bugged me when I heard cover songs that were essentially rehashes of the original.
But after hearing Jeff Buckleys amazingly individualized treatment of Leonard Cohens Hallelujah, J. Sheltons Lilac Wine, and Benjamin Brittens Corpus Christi Carol (all from Grace), among others, I viewed playing (and listening to) covers in a whole new light. So much, in fact, that between late 1999 and late 2000, I all but abandoned the 25 or so original songs Id been working on and transcribed/arranged at least 50 different cover tunes for acoustic guitar and voice. I was particularly intrigued with the idea of taking piano-based songs and adapting them to an acoustic guitar, arranging them in a manner that retained as much of the songs instrumental motifs as possible. I also wanted to get really good at the technical aspects of singing and playing guitar at the same timestriving for the level of rhythmic independence between parts I was hearing in Jeff Buckley. I was obsessed with this, actually. Given that Id been diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (eventually this mellowed out into bad tendinitis, which I still have), I couldnt really practice complicated guitar stuff anymore. But I could practice fine-tuning rhythmic independence between my vocal lines and accompaniment patterns till the cows came home, with no fear of doing further damage to my traumatized tendons! It felt great to be able to practice *something* again, so...
What you hear on this recording is 10 songs I recorded at the tail end of this period, all of which were written by artists who thrived in the 1960s and 1970s. At the very least, I hope people dig the somewhat adventurous approach I took in arranging these tunes! I certainly had fun assembling them. Thanks for listening!
On These Arrangements...
Rhapsody - QUEEN
covers, cover versions, ours
Piano and ensemble figures arranged for acoustic guitar and voice. Transposed down one whole step from Bb to Ab. (I learned this song first in Bb, playing in standard tuning with a capo at the 1st fret, but play it here on a capo-less guitar tuned down 1/2 step, FYI.) In listening to this, it probably wont take you long to conclude that this was fun as hell! The opera part pretty much says it all. Id never heard one person try to pull off this famed Galileo section. Most of my aforementioned friends eyes were watering (from laughter) after hearing this! Features lots of vocal improvisation.
Only Knows - THE BEACH BOYS
Piano and ensemble figures arranged for acoustic guitar and voice. Played in the original key of... E? A? F#m? Bm? Whatever key(s) it is, I like it :) One of several Pet Sounds-era songs I learned in 1999-2000.
- THE BEATLES
Transposed down one half step from G to Gb (i.e., tuned down 1/2 step). For the most part, this is faithful to McCartneys masterful original. BUT, with the addition of my trademark, goofball bird sounds (!) before the last verse, I reckon that makes it different enough to put on here :)
Baby James - JAMES TAYLOR
Played in the original key of D major, at a slower tempo, and with a swing feel. Performed 99% pickstyle, as opposed to w/fingers.
- LEONARD COHEN
Features an intro arranged by Jeff Buckley. Transposed down one whole step from C to Bb (with a capo at the 3rd fret). This is a tribute to Jeff Buckley, who I feel is one of the greatest male vocalistsand self accompanistsof all time. Nevertheless, I tried to not rip him off! (Who could?) Includes a unique guitar solo/interlude and a totally improvised ending. Actually, I didnt even know how I was going to end it, because, for whatever reason, Id never played the song all the way to the end before recording it.
Always a Woman - BILLY JOEL
Piano arranged for strummed acoustic guitar (tuned down 1/2 step). I used mostly homemade, open-string chord voicings, throughout. Played in original key of Eb.
of the Band - DAN FOGELBERG
For what its worth, its impossible for me to listen to the original version of this song and not think of my personal mentors whom are no longer on this planet, namely EC Duke Miller, Paul LaRose, and my dynamite dad, Doug Turner. I kept the ol emotions in check though, and didnt lose it in the 3rd verse , though my voice sorta cracks. Transposed down one half step from Ab to G (i.e., without Fogelbergs capoed 1st fret). This is really the only song I didnt mess with in some way.
Golden Hair - AMERICA
Transposed down a minor 3rd from E to Db (w/capo at 1st fret), played at a faster tempo than the original. I fabricated a pretty elaborate Travis Picking arrangement for this, replete with some fancy Carter strummingplaying country-style alternating bass notes with percussive strumsin the 3rd verse.
Made of Sand - JIMI HENDRIX
This stays fairly faithful to the original versions chorus and intro guitar parts, but I tried to come up with my own Hendrixesque stuff for the verses. Features a personal trademarka little mouth guitar solo at its midpoint. FYI, I practiced the outro bit on a different guitar than I recorded this on. Hence, I completely blew what Id planned! Oh well...
- HARRY NILSSON
How many ways can I play a C7 chord? Listen to this track to find out :) FYI, the crashing sound at the end is my set of headphones hitting the floor! I originally intended to fade it out, but figured it punctuated this disc nicely, so I left it in.
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