The READIN Family Album
(March 2005)

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Hay peores cárceles que las palabras.

Nuria Monfort


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Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Some new songs -- "the jig is up!"

This weekend I started working on a couple of new songs, some solo fiddle tunes and a blues tune I could play with John.

I thought I would explore the latter half of the alphabet in my music book a little; paging through the R's I found "The Road to Lisdoonvarna" -- well! I've been to Lisdoonvarna -- on a bike trip in western Ireland, with Ellen about 13 years ago -- and remember it fondly, and I have a shortage of jigs in my repertoire; so I thought I'd give it a try. Looked it up on YouTube to get an idea what it sounds like, and I found Ryan and Brennish Thompson playing it along with two other Dorian tunes:

I like all of these songs and have set myself the task of learning them -- they're coming along pretty well, I think. "Lisdoonvarna" and "Swallowtail" are jigs -- i.e. fast tunes in 6/8 time -- and "Drowsy Maggie" is a reel, in 4/4.

Another song I took a look at last night, which I think will be great to play with John, is "If the River Was Whiskey", Charlie Poole's version of "Hesitation Blues." Here are The Dough Rollers playing it:

or you can listen to Poole at lala.com. It's a great fiddle part, a lot of fun, and it'll sound great with John's guitar.

posted afternoon of February 7th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Fiddling

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Playing our book...

John came over for a little while this afternoon; we started playing and with practically no warm-up time we were sounding really good -- earlier today I had been listening to Justin Townes Earle's version of If the River Was Whiskey -- it is very different from any other version I've heard, and easier to imagine myself singing -- so we tried that out, and came up with a fun blues tune. No new songs today -- the degree of comfort we both felt with the tunes in our songbook took me a bit by surprise, in almost every case we could just launch directly into the tune instead of noodling around trying to figure out how to begin it... Other highlights of the set list:

  • The Old Home (Bill Monroe)
  • Meet Me in the Morning (Dylan)
  • One of These Days (Neil Young)
  • Drowsy Maggie (traditional) -- We're slowing this way down. It's starting to sound like something that could actually have lyrics...
  • Man of Constant Sorrow (Stanley Bros.) -- raised the key from Dm to Em (actually I think it's a modal key, but approximately "minor"), John is able to sing it a lot more clearly there and the transposition on fiddle was only a little bit tricky.
  • Jockey Full of Bourbon (Tom Waits) -- we have not played this one in several weeks, it came together a lot more solidly than ever in the past.
We are going to play the (April Fools' Day) open mic at Menzel Violins on Thursday (Mo put my photo on the flier!), we're planning to play "Meet Me in the Morning" and "The Old Home".

posted afternoon of March 28th, 2010: Respond
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