Category Archives: twang

Badlands = Good Listen

Finding new music that hits me viscerally is sublime. Recently, No Depression introduced me to Eric Tingstad and his take on Americana instrumentals.

Eric Tingstad, BadlandsWhen my copy of Badlands arrived, it stayed in the CD player in the car for over two weeks, playing over and over again. Nearly every track is on my all-night music list (I never sleep without music playing. I’ve heard some people do. Seems odd to me.)

Instrumentals are hard to write. (continued)

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USSS: Billy Sea

Can you say “prolific” ? My buddy Billy Sea often writes 60 songs or more during FAWM.

And then writes hundreds (plural) more throughout the year.

(continued)

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What if the Light at the End of the Tunnel is Just the Headlamp of an Oncoming Train?

After repeated listenings to Cream’s Born Under a Bad Sign a few years ago I went to my music room to play around on my bass. Rather than trying to copy Jack Bruce’s bass line, I played what it made me feel like.

Speeding it up a little and moving down and back up a few times, all I needed was a brief refrain at the end, a turnaround between verses, and it felt complete.

What if the Light at the End of the Tunnel is Just the Headlamp of an Oncoming Train?

A rockabilly shuffle on the drums is loads of fun, but it’s hard to keep up if you’re not practicing regularly. The drums seem to have survived most of this trip.

When you commit to writing 14 songs in 28 days there’s a bit of a time constraint. When I started recording the springy lead guitar I realised that, though it was recording, it wasn’t coming out of the amp, and it wasn’t coming through the computer to my headphones. I could hear a tinny little noise straight off the strings on my Stratocaster, but even that was muffled by the headphones.

Knowing I could do it over, I soldiered on.

I didn’t do it over. This is what I sound like playing lead guitar when I can’t hear myself. Maybe I should try it more often.

Blues without harmonica seemed wrong. Then the piano started complaining about being left out.

I’ve written a handful of short verses which I might record some day, but if Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust can survive as an instrumental for more than a decade, this one will be okay.

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Little Debbie, Little Debbie

TTwang should be a genre all to itself. I’m a sucker for twang. Play way back by the bridge, turn the reverb up to some kind of tape-slap setting, and it might not even matter what the words are.

Of course, if the words are about oatmeal pies, pointy boots, quarters and Little Debbie, that’s just fine, too.

I blame Southern Culture on the Skids (SCOTS) for psychobilly; rockabilly was usually pretty friendly and happy. SCOTS took it to the edge, and many have taken it right over. None for me, thank you. I like my musical energy to be positive.

“Walk Like a Camel” is just plain silly, if you squint your ears and block out external nonsense. Of course, Little Debbie’s ‘special outfit’ probably isn’t a flannel sleeper, but at least there’s nothing here requiring explanation to the four-year-old.

Yet.

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