Video: “All Blues/Set the Controls….”


Cover tunes are a great way to improve your chops and timing, learn how songs are put together, and can be a fun inclusion into a live set or album. During periods where I’m not writing and practicing my own stuff, I always have a song or two in mind to play along with so I can get out of my set patterns on the fretboard and maybe commit some new chord shapes or finger patterns to muscle memory. Many times those newly learned chord patterns can give you some ideas for your next batch of tunes. Other times, it can be a comical act of futility (“Siberian Khatru” from Yessongs, anyone?) where you’re just left flabbergast at the level of talent and genius in some people’s playing.

Since I started writing and performing my own stuff 20+ years ago, I’ve only done around seven or so cover tunes live or in the studio; and most of those were only done once. All but one of those (June’s “Lena Champagne”) got recorded and will be in the online sound files. The only two that got played more than once were two that I paired together into a medley to end the set with; kind of a ‘chaser’/treat for the audience, lol, after having survived an hour of fractured pop and no holds barred space rock/noise. It was fun to play, and I think we put our stamp on it as well; turning Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” from a multi-verse song in 4/4 time (a 3/3/2 feel) into a 1.5 verse abbreviation with pitch-shifted and echoed vocals done in 3/4 time which still retained a heavy psychedelic impact. Then we nestled it in between a rock-flavored impression of Miles Davis’ “All Blues”, already in a 3-based time signature (6/8), transposed to the key of A to start and end the number. Although not the best version we did (I had mis-set the vocal effects knobs in the dark and had to fix them mid-song), one night it was caught on video, seen above. Cover tunes are always a good option to keep in mind; whether for that extra song in the set, or as a learning tool to help you improve your playing and arranging skills.

Video: Attack of the Glow

Here’s a short video to start December. POV: Lying on the forest floor, looking up at the leaves. The clouds have held the bright fall colors in check; that is, until the sun arrives, igniting the whole forest up with a vivid glow. Watch the treetops sway above you, autumn briefly reigning until the arrival of winter. 

I also re-edited my first HD vid from last week, shortening it and correcting the sound. In this one, three leaves, making good progress downstream, enter an eddy. “It’s a trap!” Too late, they enter the swirl of purgatory. See that short in the post below (re-uploaded today).

Video: Seasonal Leaves’ Dilemma- “It’s A Trap!”

Depending upon your locale’s elevation and latitude, the leaves in your area may have changed six weeks ago or they just might be getting started in mid- and late November. I took my cam and got some foliage footage around Rock Creek Park in DC a few days ago, and am in the process of editing them down to a few short videos. Some of the footage I liked was of all the leaves traveling downstream, many of which had begun to slow and circle as their predecessors started to clog the stream’s arteries. Good timing. The next day when I returned to get some more shots like that, the stream was fully clogged.

Seasonal leaves video #1 is a stationary camera angle, shot in HD just above water level, of leaves caught in an eddy, and captures the harsh glare of the late afternoon November sun, even with the camera and stream bed fully in the shade.