I’ve decided that most guitar playing is “playing chords”-performing chordal accompaniment while either singing or backing up someone else who’s singing. The problem with this is that “practicing chords” is BORING…I mean, if your idea of ‘fun’ is sitting in a room going Am-D7-G over and over again, God bless you, but I have other priorities.
So, I lecture my students (hopefully truthfully) that the quickest way to get their chord transitions together is to find a song that “has meaning” for them (or even better, several songs) and learn to sing and play it. This is something I avoided for most of my musical life, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of music that I’ve played has had a voice plunked into the middle of it.
So, turnabout is fair play-if I’m going to make my kids sing, I’d better step up to the plate myself. So, despite the fact that my nose is running like a faucet due to the unusual cold here (and everywhere, apparently), I warmed up the Coolpix, re-tuned four of the six strings on my steel-string, and belted out the first half of Joe Walsh’s sprawling 1985 masterpiece The Confessor:
Like most instrumental musicians, I’ve been programmed to have a certain level of disdain for vocalists, but if you want to gain new respect for singers, record yourself singing something and listen back. In my defense here, 1) I don’t have a studio at my disposal 2) I’m still having to think WAY too hard about what my hands are doing, and 3) I’m pretending to be Joe Walsh-like someone once said about Keith Richards, it’s not that he can’t sing, it’s the WAY he can’t sing.
Here’s the original, full of 1980s over-produced goodness including a minute-and-a-half-long synth drone at the beginning, overdubbed guitars and percussion galore followed by the rock section where Joe beats his Les Paul like a rented mule and builds to an operatic climax that gives Stairway To Heaven a run for its money: