Monday, December 6, 2010

Songs, songwriting & guitar playing

My time is being taken up at the moment with developing solo material, as has been clear with my posts over the last 6 - 12 months. I want to develop my guitar playing so I can solo freely without thinking about what I need to do, I haven't really progressed beyond basic note patterns/scales & it's quite frustrating not being able to play what I can hear in my head. I haven't developed the subtlety of a great player yet, my leads tend to be quite clunky & basic so that's something I want to achieve. I've been listening to Robert Johnson & Blind Willie Johnson who manage to combine their slide work with standard finger playing, something I've never been able to do, my two slide songs are both strictly slide with no finger work involved. I'd love to be mixing the two style up in the same song. I want to one day record a solo blues album that is comparable to what those guys have done, a one take record of just guitar & vocal, it's not really been done since the blues hey day but I think it's a fantastic way to listen to music, just cut right down to it's most basic. That's something that's appealing about Neil Young's recording is the immediacy of his playing, he records his guitar & vocals on the one take (well, he did for living with war anyway, so I presume he does for everything else!). Man, those guys are good. So much of that comes from regular gigging too, you can only go so far practicing in your bedroom, the real growth comes from the actually doing, the playing, so I know I have that up my sleeve. I feel like once I'm performing on a regular basis my growth as a player & songwriter with speed up exponentially.

The songs I'm working on at the moment are coming along, I'm struggling to get vocals done for one of them, 'these falling leaves'. It's a song concerning the overuse of the planets resources so it's difficult not to fall into standard cliche phrases. At the same time the issue is important to me so I want to be able to speak freely through the song, I feel if I can get it right it can be an effective tune. 'Lullaby' is finished and probably my favourite of the recent songs I've written. 'Round & round' song structure is complete & has vocals for half the chorus & half the bridge, so there's still all the verses to do. 'Obituary' has the structure finished, vocals for two verses & the chorus so there's just the final verse to complete. I've also come up with another couple of riffs but it'll take time to see if they'll develop into actually songs or just fall to the side.

The recording of the album is on hold through to next year it appears, Allan hasn't been in touch since the last session so I'm leaving it up to him & not pushing things. We'll both have some time off & continue next year, my expectations for it being finished have pushed out another twelve months, if it's finished by Christmas next year, with all the bit's & pieces I want (strings on 'Fallen', brass on 'Only a fool' & piano on 'In the meantime') I'll be happy.

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