Looks like I’ve got at least another week to work on perfecting that Bob Seger impersonation. We were so busy working on other songs in my guitar class at the Old Town School of Folk Music this afternoon that we never got around to playing “Against the Wind.”
That’s fine, because I really like playing the song, and this gives me an excuse to practice it every day until the class next Sunday.
We also didn’t get back to “Sweet Jane,” the Cowboy Junkies’ cover of the classic Lou Reed/Velvet Underground song. That’s fine, because that tune has fast chord transitions and and up-down strumming pattern (most strumming is either just down or down-up, for those of you even newer to the gee-tar than me) that is one of the trickier things we’ve been assigned to date, and I haven’t mastered it yet..
Everything, though, is getting a bit more sophisticated. For instance, we are using the song “You’re the Lucky One” by Allison Krauss and Union Station (awesome popular artists out of the bluegrass tradition) to learn bass runs. Without going into too much MEGO detail, every chord has a primary bass string and at least one secondary bass string. So instead of just strumming all the strings in a chord, you pluck the primary bass string, then strum, then pluck the secondary bass string and strum.
We’re also using the song “Mr. Bojangles” — written in the late ’60s by country artist Jerry Jeff Walker and probably most associated with covers by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the late Sammy Davis Jr. — to learn about walking the chords. That means quick transitions between adjacent chords that requires relatively few fingering changes.
This is all very rewarding to me, even if I never get very good at it, because I’ve already learned and absorbed more than I had any reason to have expected. A childhood acquaintance with musical failure (which resulted from my parents’ incorrect conclusion that the clarinet would be a good choice for me) left me with a long-lasting conclusion that I was hard-wired, perhaps genetically, to have no talent for performing music (though I have always loved to listen to it and watch it performed).
But there’s something to be said for the wisdom of experience. I’ve been through quite a bit over the last 10 years or so, and while I don’t recommend serial existential crises as a character-building exercise, I do find I’m a lot less self-conscious than I used to be about sticking my neck out in public. Fearless? Or shameless? Who cares! I’m sure having a lot of fun.
Meanwhile, here’s another dose of Chicago sunset for you, and we’ll wrap with some more catch-up on the Cooler on the Lake Shore Chicago vs. D.C. Weather Smackdown.
According to Weather Underground…
On Tuesday, Chicago O’Hare reported a high of 37, a low of 26 and no precipitation. Washington Reagan National reported a high of 56, a low of 38 and no precipitation. Sheesh, if the ground Washington is gaining this winter is the result of rampant global warming, that’s really nothing to be proud of.
On Wednesday, Chicago O’Hare reported a high of 34, a low of 24 and no precipitation. Washington Reagan National reported a high of 49, a low of 36 and no precipitation.
On Thursday, Chicago O’Hare reported a high of 37, a low of 32 and no precipitation. Washington Reagan National reported a high of 55, a low of 40 and a trace of precipitation.
Even a born-again Chi-vinist like me has to admit those are three clear wins for the old hometown, pushing its overall lead to 92-84.