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Originally a Tin Hat Trio tune, this was one of the first songs that we learned together.  In fact, I believe this may be the first tune we played together as a group.  Ever.  That being the case, I’ve always felt like a lot of what’s in this recording exemplifies the flexibility and cohesion in the group.  This particular recording is from a Sunday in February, and was our second attempt at recording it.  Go ahead and click on the link for the tune to listen to it while you read the article.

I’ll do my best to recall our process in prepping this tune, but it was quite a while ago, so forgive me if I embellish some of the more boring moments or missing pieces from the story with commentary on the nuclear armageddon that I pretend happened during rehearsal.

So.  At our first rehearsal, we all showed up at Adam and Jana’s place excited and ready to go.  I remember my mood quite vividly because I heard about Russian scientists prepping nuclear warheads for an attack on an unknown country on Fox News (fair and balanced!) immediately prior to rehearsal, but was too pumped to play with everybody to care.  The original version of the tune has almost the same instrumentation as our group, with the exception of cello in place of violin, which gave us an opportunity to try and emulate the original recording as much as possible.  As many of you will notice on many of these posts, the pieces that we’re including in our repertoire are varied and rarely have a similar instrumentation.  Of course Lulu’s did put its own stamp on things, particularly on the solo section.  Tin Hat Trio (if I can turn into a gushing fan-boy for a second) has a great blend between their instruments, and when you have as weird an instrumentation as they do (and, I suppose, we do) it’s INCREDIBLY difficult to get things to blend well.  I personally believe that where we lack in blending our tones (though again, considering our instrumentation I think we do very well), we exceed in our ability to improvise and react spontaneously as a group.  Honestly, considering how early on in our rehearsals this recording took place, some really wonderful things happened.  During the two rehearsals we worked on this tune Greg came up with a couple very cool background riffs to give us a compass for both my solo and his, and we freed things up more underneath Adam’s chorus.  As Russia rained nuclear fire on America’s heartland, we sat comfy in our underground rehearsal space, oblivious to the carnage and destruction occurring above us, focused only on the dissonance and dirty groove we had going.

I was very happy with our first recording of it, and am practically puking my pants with excitement over this version.  I think the second time around the blend was better, we grooved harder, and the flow was better throughout the tune.  There’s not too much else I can think of to say, other than I don’t know exactly why I chose to talk about armageddon but feel like it fits somehow (I’m sure the other guys will think of something more coherent).

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One Comment

  1. A couple notes on the form for the music nerds: This is a 24 bar blues, with each chord played twice as long, and instead of a IV chord we get a bVI! Although the head is a little different, if you think of a normal blues form being A A’ B, then the head is A A’ A A’ B B, with the B’s being slightly modified. Woot! You probably all could figure that out by listening, but I wanted to feel smart.

    Also, we were sitting around e-mailing about who was going to bring in what tunes, and I sent an e-mail bitching about not having enough time to put something together, and then like, five minutes later I heard this track and was like, “oh” write write write, and it was done.

    Also also, I can’t decide if the straight quarter notes on the tonic I play at the end of my first chorus are horribly lame or brilliant. Thoughts? Be brutal.


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