My grandmother used to play guitar as a child (which was a while ago) and since I started playing guitar, she's always been supportive, even though she hasn't heard me play much at all. Recently we were talking on the phone and she asked me how my guitar work is going, which was super great. She has no need to know - incentive to know - so this is purely her being interested in me, which is nice. I said it was going as well as it could be and if she would like me to, I could record her a short CD of songs that I play. She said yes she would love to hear that (as most grandma's would say, I believe).
So I got to work recording. When I was finished I noticed a huge volume difference and my friend in Germany offered to master the EP and he brought the volume levels up and worked his magic and we came out with this.
The tracks are:
1. It's Only a Paper Moon:
Fans or readers of the site will have heard this song again and again as I use it for a LOT of demos as jazz is a great tonal measuring stick, but this is the only jazz song that I have a strong enough grip on to feel comfortable recording. It's also my wife's favorite song. For this recording I used JamUp Pro with a preset I made and plugged in my EVH Wolfgang Special using the neck pickup. I used to be scared of the Floyd because it made such a HUGE change in tone with such a light touch (where a Bigsby you kind of have to lean on to make a difference), but I've gained a lighter touch and really like the way it sounds. It's still a pain in the neck to tune, but it sounds good.
2. Ghostriders in the Sky:
I love Duane Eddy. He's the ultimate authority on melody and using the guitar to paint a picture. He's got an amazing tone and is nothing short of a hero for any solo guitarist out there, because even though he usually plays with a band, he doesn't NEED a band and his material sounds so amazing, even without the backing bandmembers, it's great. Every guitarist should learn at LEAST one Duane Eddy song because there's so much benefit to it. This was recorded using a Gretsch 6118T with TV Jones Pickups. I THINK I was using the neck pickup (as Eddy does), even though the twang will make you think it's the bridge, but that's accomplished by picking closer to the bar bridge and letting my Godbox FX Tesla Fuzz do the heavy lifting. If you back off the actual fuzz and use it more as an EQ, it really helps bring out the Eddy in us all. The Tesla's a great pedal - without a doubt the most used pedal on my shelf.
There had to be a Misfits song on the EP and no EP from me (that wasn't a focused tribute) would be complete without it and what better one to pick that Halloween? I've been working on bending this song to become a hybrid picking exercise for so long that I think I came out with a pretty unique interpretation and I think it sounds pretty good. I think it sounds even better on an acoustic guitar rather than an electric, so I opted to record this with my Taylor Big Baby straight into GarageBand with nothing but a Blue Snowball in the middle to pick it up.
4. Swing Life Away:
Rise Against is a great band and a new band to me. I had never heard of them until I watched The Other F Word, and my life has been better since. There's no real personal significance to this song to me - I'm not singing it TO anyone for any particular reason - I just think it's a really nice song that had an initially tricky intro to set it apart from your average acoustic punk fare and was again recorded with a Taylor Big Baby and a Snowball into GarageBand. This one was also the biggest pain to record as I had to record the guitar and then go back and add a vocal track, which is why I come in a smidge late right there at the beginning. I was thinking about the time, sure, but I was thinking more (just shy of praying) about not sounding awful since I rarely sing for people. Usually singing only comes after a few drinks and by then the key I'm in is of little consequence to me (but my apologies go out to those forced to listen). A while back I was experimenting with a song that ultimately didn't get recorded and we were trying to find the right key to record the song in and he said that, while I could carry a tune, he asked me to supply the BEANS - the emotion - to the song, rather than just sing the song. Ever since then, when I have sung, it's always been a quest for beans.
So there you have it, my Grandma's EP. I hope you like it. Feel free to download and keep it if you like. Many, many thanks go out to Jan for mastering this. You're awesome.