All arrangements by Nortune and in "Open G (A pattern)" tuning except "Recuerdos" in "Open G minor (Am pattern)".
songs were recorded direct to my mastering software (Wavelab version 4.0).
The signal process begins with a Lo Prinzi LR-50 guitar containing a
Fishman Rare Earth dual humbucking pickup going into a Digitech 2120 with
stereo output direct to Yamaha AX-44 / DSP Factory combination computer
sound card (whew). At the same time a Shure SM-85 condenser mic into
a RANE FMI 14 to the AX-44 provided the acoustical ambience.
Most of the tweaking was done up front.
Here's a plug for technology.
The "Wavelab" software is amazing. It has opened the door for me
doing some things that I would have never been able to do. One of the most
remarkable things is that you can actually talk by way of a W.W.W. forum
to the main technical person responsible for its development. From
the recording process side I would like to give a special big kudos to
Phillippe Goutier (PG on the forum). His efforts have been an
important cog in my wheel.
1. When You Wish Upon A Star - (Leigh Harline) When I heard Chet
Atkins do this song, I wished upon a star that one day I would be able to
play my own version. Doing it like Chet is impossible for most mortals so
I basically started from scratch. The similarities of the intro and the
moving bass line can be attributed to my loving Chet's version so much.
When Chet passed, the world lost and God received an incredible musician.
2. Georgia On My Mind - (Hoagy Carmichael) Being from Georgia, I
had originally intended for this one to be the centerpiece of the CD. When
it was all said and done I think track one sets up the collection
best but followed by Georgia the entire sentimental perspective is
revealed. I recently was able to hear Ray Charles do it live. That's the
standard and in my arrangement I tried to pick up some of his
"soul". The middle high section was more difficult
for me on my non-cutaway. I have a lot of guitar influences and
believe it or not the "double octave" ending was inspired from
my early days of listening to Wes Montgomery.
3. American Trilogy - Adapted from the Mickey Newbury classic (Dixie - Dan Emmett / Battle Hymn - William Steffe / All My Trials - Traditional)
Here's one that I've been doing forever. It'll be a classic. It has always
been well received when I perform for friends and in public. The
arrangement is pretty much like I have done it for twenty years. Again
this is a heritage song which excites all kinds of Americana passions in
4. Recuerdos de la Alhambra de la Nortune (Fransico Tarrega) This is
actually a classical piece done using a technique called "tremelo
picking". When I first heard Pepe Romero do this, I thought it had
been overdubbed with two guitars. My special "sticht" is that I
developed my arrangement in "open A minor" tuning. That plus the
fact that it does not contain the exactness of the original classical
piece is why I put the "de la Nortune" on the title. I've
worked on the technique for years and it has taken me a long time with my
metal finger picks to play with the subtleties of the required dynamics
and range. The thumb is playing arpeggios while the "A,M, I"
fingers are playing a very fast rolling melody.
5. Both Sides Medley:
(Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell / Moonshadow - Cat Stevens / Minuet for the Backroads - Gove
Scrivenor) Believe it or not I was doing this one prior to my
hearing the Randy Scruggs version on the "Will the Circle Be
Unbroken" album. I've been doing it forever. This song also
accentuates the ease of the open tuning to be able to "medley"
several songs together. I have played weddings and dinner shows where I
begin with one song and move through many others without stopping just as
the "spirit moves me". Including the Gove piece allows me to
give credit to one of my main guitarist influences. Years ago, I had
originally seen Gove Scrivenor perform and in the process he was switching
guitars. I finally got the nerve to ask him why and he told me he was
playing in different tunings with each of the guitars. So he is one of my major influences since he started my whole quest for open tunings.
6. Londonderry Air (O Danny Boy) (Attributed to Rory Dall O'Cahan) This
one is a relatively new piece for me. I just happened to try it one day
and it kind of just fell off the strings. I did put some work on the
middle higher part. I held back from calling it "London
7. Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring (Johann Schop - originally arranged by Johann Sebastian Bach)
I've been doing the standard tuning version of this one for a long time
but one day I got the thought that what better song should be done in
"Open G" tuning than the historical renown song "Jesu".
It ain't that easy in the open tuning although the inherent resonance is a
benefit worth the effort. I was amazed to find out that it was
actually written by Schop and we've given credit to Bach for his
arrangement. There's a little piece of Gove in this one also. He does it
with an autoharp but uses his finger picks to make kind of a rhythmic
chordal rendition. In a later section in my arrangement, I basically tried
to do the same with the guitar.
Selections From The Land Of Oz: This section I have to attribute
entirely to my good buddy and probably most major finger picking influence
Henry Wynn who is a local from North Augusta, South Carolina. He's both an
artist ("Nortune Fried Picking" cover ) and an outstanding
finger picker. He plays upside down left handed but he has a natural gift
that can't be learned. He was the first person I heard doing the metal
finger picks. I think he's given them up now to finger nails like the rest
of the world but I still use 'em. Henry recently told a friend about me:
"I taught him everything he knows". In a way that may be true
since after I heard him play that first time I realized that what I knew
meant nothing. It's how you sound that counts. In any case I heard Henry
do a song from "Oz" live at the mall several years ago and I
went home and began my own quest for Oz. Again, a big thanks for the
8. We're Off To See The Wizard (Harold Arlen) This is the shortest song
on the CD. I can play longer versions but it basically becomes redundant.
The thing is of course you gotta start at the beginning of the
"Yellow Brick Road".
9. If I Only Had A Brain (Harold Arlen) I tried to capture both the
"whimsy" and the "love" in the scarecrow. This is one
of my favorites to play and I had to create some new chord voicings in the
open tuning to be able to play it.
10. Optimistic Voices (Harold Arlen) This is one that's pretty simple
and redundant so I had to add some variations and flourishes. In terms of
musical analysis this song utilizes a simple motif (short repetitive
musical phrase) but has some nice underlying chord changes.
11. Merry Ole Land Of Oz (Harold Arlen) This is the most fun piece to
play. I can literally go on forever with variations. My thought
during this song is just "happy". Late on Sunday afternoons when
I'm just picking for myself (I work at the guitar each day in the early
morning hours) I like to just crank this one up and see where it leads me.
It would be nice to have captured some of those days at ease since I'm at
my best when I ain't recording.
12. Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Harold Arlen) This was the perfect
ending for the OZ set as well as the CD. 'Nuff said.
I would also like to dedicate this effort to some of my guitar
students who have tried the finger picking and open tunings. There are
many of them but John Caldwell, Wil McCranie, Jordan Miller, Doug Barrett
come immediately to mind. Hopefully others will be added to this list upon
hearing "Sweet G".