Last weekend I had the pleasure of getting together with a couple of old friends, band-mates from my high school days that I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. We set up some time in the studio along with my current band-mate and guitar counterpart Mo, and had planned on a good long jam. At the last minute, Mo’s son’s band got a call to fill in at a gig and needed to take most of the drum kit with them, but they brought in a few replacements from an old kit, leaving us with just enough hardware to scrabble together a minimalistic rig. My drummer friend Chris, always an easy-going fellow, adapted easily enough and between the four of us – Me, Mo, Chris and Lyle we put together a solid hour of improv.
This was my favourite jam of the night – a bit of everything – some melodic soul, a bit of power, a few vocal musings by Lyle, and some interesting beats and rhythm changes.
While my guitar gently weeps (instrumental)
One Tuesday afternoon at the end of a business day, I received news that a colleague in Ottawa was retiring and his co- workers had asked that everyone who knew him could send a farewell message at the same time – noon eastern that Thursday, and that every message should have a creative spin to the message that somehow involved the Beatles, Bryan’s favourite band.
I mulled it over and came up with a plan, and given my busy Wednesday didn’t get a chance to sit down and actually start putting my idea together until about 10:30 at night. I pushed hard until 3, and this is the result that appeared in his inbox the next morning.
I have tried to keep as much feel of the original together through the rhythm and melody lines, and then added my own flavour on the lead parts. I ended up using three guitars: steel string for strummed rhythm, hollow body electric for picked rhythm and melody, and my trusty Baretta for the lead work.
On New Year’s Eve, 2012, I was playing with my new iPad mini and exploring Twitter, when I saw a tweet from well known Canadian author Douglas Coupland, stating that he was going to nickname 2013 “Tammy”. I was at the time beginning to play around with the capability of the mini as a recording device using the GarageBand app, so spent the remainder of the evening and much of the first few hours of 2013 writing and recording a fun little tune, that ended up being somewhat “soundtrack-esque”
A great experiment, fully created, recorded, mixed, and posted on a little tablet one night!
Tears in the sun
Built around a dissonant chord transition that we were jamming to one week, this piece came together quite quickly on a hot summer day. A soft Latin feel to the drum track and layers of soft electric and acoustic guitars. electric piano and a walking bass line made for a great backdrop for some sax and brass melody lines played on the keyboard, accented with some electric guitar improv breaks.
This tune started out as just the bass line that transitions from the first to the second section of the tune. I built all the rest around that, varying from 4/4, 11/8, 6/4, back to 4/4, then 6/4, and finally 4/4 again, with three changes in tempo. All of this came together on March 20 and 21, 2009, right around the vernal equinox, and I thought the change of seasons theme really fit the style of the piece.