Friday, November 20, 2009

New Tunes

Some bluegrass-playing friends have invited me to join them in entertaining at a retirement home in a few days. We did a run-through of the proposed set yesterday afternoon before I went to work. For the most part the tunes were three- or four-chord melodies, fairly predictable, especially since I had a good view of the guitar players from where I was sitting, but there were a few worries when it came to instrumental selections, namely these three:

Dear Old Dixie (The musicians are Bill Wells and Blue Ridge Mountain Grass.)

Remington's Ride (The banjo player here is Jason Skinner, who has included the tune on an instructional video):

Santa Claus (I have no idea why "Santa Claus," therefore this tune does not awaken in me the same degree of antipathy that my neighbors' Christmas decorations-already-yet do. The banjo player here is Johnny Butten.):

An extra note for those of you who might like to try this at home: I ceased to think of "Tennessee Waltz" as an interesting tune a good fifteen years ago, until yesterday when the dobro player said in an offhand way, "Oh this is just the way I learned the chords. . ." Where most folks would play the first two measures: C_ _ C_ _, she plays C_ _ Cmaj7_ _, and it makes a world of difference. Exquisite might be a good description.

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