In the Spring of 2020, when the pandemic caused everything to shut down, I decided to apply my energy to this trio of compositions and record them at home.
This tune is an expression of the uncertainty surrounding the pesky and dangerous virus, how fast it was spreading, and where it would go as far as impact on society.
Two Plus One Is Four
At this point, I’m pretty upset about the mismanagement of the pandemic at the federal level, the denial, down playing, misinformation, and lack of responsibility. For guitar geeks, it was time to break out the ES-335, a bit of overdrive, and some harmonic dissonance in a somewhat bluesy progression.
My heart sank witnessing the struggles experienced in health care facilities and by providers, along with that were the families suffering the loss of loved ones. I was also inspired by the courage and dedication of health care workers in their relentless caring for those in need.
I was inspired to arrange this instrumental version of Paul McCartney’s wonderful tune, Blackbird. The intro was inspired by something I saw Martin Taylor play. I asked him about the intro, and chuckling, asked him if I could steal it for my own use. He said, “Sure, I stole it from Johnny Smith”. Martin and I shared a number of such stories in that time period around 2011.
This is a favorite solo guitar piece that I learned a long time ago. I think I was fifteen when the Yes album, Fragile came out, which included this tune by Steve Howe. He was one of my favorite guitarists at that impressionable age, so I immediately took on the task of figuring out how it play it. It remains in my repertoire to this day. My version of it has probably evolved a little over the years.
In 2003, I put together an album of my originals with this wonderful crew, recorded at the UNC studio in Greely, CO. Pictured (left to right) are Jessy Lucas (bass), Mark Raynes (drums), Greg Heimbecker (engineer), Mark Sloniker (piano), and myself (guitars). Byron Hamer (not shown) contributed on flute and tenor saxophone.
The Happy Guitarist
Here is one of the cuts from that album, featuring the crew in the photo.
This is a little piece of a demo that I recorded, featuring vocalist Chrissy Faith. Chrissy was a popular and highly employed backup singer in the 80s and 90s and nominated for best rock vocalist for a voice over she did in the movie, No Small Affair. She went on to singing jazz where we hooked up in Portland, OR in 2000-2001. This piece also features my good friends Gary Irvine on drums and Dan Davis on bass.