Tunings and info for American Lily
(all tunings Low to High...)
1. American Lily - Paddy Burgin Weissenborn tuned: B,F#,B,F#,G#,B
2. Hat's Off to Tev Stevig- Beltone Resonator(biscuit bridge) tuned: F#,B,C#,F#,B,C#. This piece was a happy accident.....that started off it's life as backing track for
Duduk......which was supposed to be the last track on the album, I wanted to have the sound of the biscuit bridge resonator guitar live side by side with the warmth of the Duduk, but it took on a life of it's own, and let me know that it didn't actually need or want any Duduk on it, so I left it alone........Tev Stevig is an amazing musician making some
really wonderful music in a number of really fine groups.......he is an excellent player of more instruments than any human being should be able to play.... he has a great new cd out of fretless clawhammer guitar called "Jeni Jol" which you should purchase immediately if not sooner.
3. Concord Porch Swing - Chaturangui, tuned: D, G, D, D, G, D....sympathetics tuned to notes found in Raga Hindol. In Ragamala paintings, Hindol always portrays Krishna on a swing, surrounded by pretty young women moving the swing 'to and fro'.............and wouldn't you know it, I have an actual swing on my porch here in Concord, although I haven't seen any young women, pretty or otherwise, although Krishna does come by on a regular basis........the swing is not conducive to Chaturangui playing, but it IS great for relaxing, and remembering I am a long long way from where I
began, and I am so very grateful for that........(this raga is supposed to be played late at night, but as we all know, that's not my best time, I'm much more of an early riser......no disrespect intended...)
4. Hijaz Samasara - Turkish Oud(Viken Najarian) tuned: E, A, B, E, A, D. This is the first composition I wrote on Oud, which starts in maqam Hijaz, modulates to Nahawand, and then to Ajam and back to Hijaz. I took a poetry class once in the Middle Ages, and the teacher told us if we couldn't be good poets, we should at least learn to be good thieves,
which we would learn in this particular class by 'copying' poems we liked, and using their form as a template, and replacing words to 'create' our own poems......(they did this sort of thing in 'art school' too when you'd copy paintings of the 'old masters).....so in essence, I 'borrowed' some ideas from some of the Arabic pieces I've learned......
5. Alcott Turns- Paddy Burgin Weissenborn tune: B,F#,B,F#,G#,B. This was one of the first pieces written for this album, something I had been fooling with since my last recording "Acceptance"...... trying to get a moving bass line again, and stay away from the old 6/4 back and forth rut.......also working on exploring new ideas with hammer on/ pulloff/ open
string lines that are relatively easy on guitar, but not so much on a lap style instrument......The title comes from a book that I read recently about Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Alcott, in which the author described Mr. Alcott as somewhat of a drama queen.....and when things went wrong in his life, he would retire to his bed, turn and face the wall and hope to die........
which seems like a pretty funny solution to me..........As always, the Paddy Burgin Weissenborns are just incredible instruments!
6. Blues for Edward Powell - Gibson Dobro tuned: D,A,D,G,B,D. One of my favorite pieces on the album, based on Raga Bageshri, the main melody is written, but a good 75% or more is improvised. Dedicated to Edward Powell, and great musician now living in Prague, who builds his own instruments, and has really developed an amazing sound which is completely his own, by combining elements of Indian Raga and Middle Eastern Maqaam........he has several excellent albums which I listen to a lot, and I hope you will too..... I am fortunate to own one of Edward's amazing instruments,
called a Ragmakamtar, which you can see photos of here...
7. Rehabilitation of Joy - Paddy Burgin Weissenborn tuned: B, F#,B,F#, G#,B. On July 3rd of 2013, a new greyhound entered our life, and we named her Joy. She is 2 years old, and only ran one race. Lucky her. She's REALLY different than Henry.....and has a LOT more energy.........but she's also a lot more skittish. She's definitely been abused, and is still recovering from that.......but one day at a time, she's learning to trust and that things are ok here in Concord and no one is going to hurt her. She has taught me a lot already in a short time...........when she gets afraid, she freezes. It's all fear. I have to remind myself again and again not to push her or force her, and just be patient. over and over. patience, patience..........and persistence and acceptance.....and just to let her be where she is, and in time, she gets it.........and when she unfreezes from the fear, she's a happy dog....
P.S. she is also a RUNNER...........at five a.m. when the door opens, she does her business and them boom, it's off to the races, around and around and around at unbelievable speeds............and then back in the house for more napping......life is good for the hounds.
8. Farewell Last Heath Hen (1932) - Arabic Oud(Faruk Turunz) tuned: C,G,A,D,G,C. An improvisation in maqam Nahawand. This piece and #11 both start with some one handed oud, which is a technique developed by the amazing Iraqi oudist Naseer Shamma, as a way of bringing healing to his war torn homeland....... he began to meet
more more oud players who had lost hands, fingers, or arms as a result of U.S. bombing...........and were unable to play the instrument they loved, so he started writing music to be played with
one hand, the fretting hand only. It is pretty amazing stuff, and my imitation is weak at best, but I do it as a very deep bow of respect. In much the same way, it hurts my heart to think that humans manage to wipe species off the face of the earth forever. The Heath Hen became extinct in 1932, the last one was sighted on Martha's Vineyard in March of 1932. We hunted them right off the planet. There is a small plaque there in West Tisbury.
9. Reflections on Lake Dhanakosha - Kay acoustic guitar (set up lap style) tuned: D,G,D,D,G,D. In the summer of 2013 I started working with this tuning to play some Indian Ragas....and I needed something which was neither major nor minor..........but more 'modal'....and this fit the bill........and some songs grew out of this......I got this Kay acoustic guitar at Sandy's music in Cambridge about six or eight years ago, for a hundred and fifty bucks and I've used it on quite a few recordings over the years.........it's got a great sound, all natural, no pickups or tomfoolery. Lake Dhanakosha is a lakein Oddiyana where Padmasambhava was born...........and dakinis wander freely. It's not on GPS or google earth......
10. Graverobber's Delight - Chaturangui tuned: D, G, D,D,G,D - sympathetics tuned to notes found in Raga Malkauns, which is described as majestic and introverted raga........that some musicians feel has 'supernatural powers' and that it can attract evil spirits........which may or may not be related to the fact that it is supposed to be played late at night. Some people study this kind of thing, like Ms. Smythe.
11. Brahma Viharas - Arabic Oud(Faruk Turunz) tuned: D,G,A,D,G,C. This piece is an improvisation in maqam Saba,
which modulates to Hijaz in F(Farafazah), Ajam and Nahawand. The Brahma Viharas are four Buddhist virtues or attitudes, also known as the "four immeasurables".........1. loving-kindness 2. compassion 3. empathetic joy and 4. equanimity.
12. Willful Suspension of Disbelief - Gibson Dobro tuned: D,A,D,G,B,D capoed at the third fret. This is one of the first pieces that I wrote for this album, in a tuning I have been working with which I call 'half G/half D'........the bottom three strings are in open D tuning and the top three in open G. Of course, there are several other ways of looking at this. But for me,
all my playing comes back to the open G I started on when I first picked up a Dobro: GBDGBD. That is the tuning I'm most familiar with and most comfortable with.......it's not, however, the most versatile, so this tuning gives me the nice 6th string 4th string alternating bass, with a root note on top.....but without that pesky major third. I know, yawn.......yawn.......musician talk......
I really like the way this came out, it's all about the feel........Dobro is best.
13. Let Go of the Day, Every Day Let Go - Beltone Resonator guitar tuned F#, B, C#,F#,B,C# and Armenian Duduk. My initial idea for this was to contrast the raw, dirty sound of the biscuit bridge resonator guitar with the earthy, soulfulness of the Duduk....(see track 2)........but then it turned in to something more than that. We moved to Concord Mass in February of 2012. It is incredibly beautiful here. I have never lived in a place like this(maybe the opposite of this...).....it's SO so quiet at night.......and early in the morning........... really a deep and wonderful silence......
In the spring, the peepers come out......followed closely by crickets and katydids throughout the summer.........which can get loud and intense..........even though it's still quiet....I love to just sit and listen.........and to let go again and again. Sometimes it seems like that has been my biggest lesson to re learn again and again : let go. let go.
thanks for reading this, and thanks for listening.