Tag Archives: taylor guitars

Star Waltz

One day in the fall of 2012, I sat down to record a set of improvised songs with a Taylor dreadnought acoustic guitar. I improvised five original songs and two versions of Amazing Grace. With only one or two false starts, they were mostly first takes. The set was nothing really mind altering, but it had some cool songs with good vibes – so I considered it a success. It’s not the kind of thing I do often – in fact I haven’t done the exercise since, haven’t played any of the original songs again, and don’t consider it the most incredible thing I’ve ever done. Yet somehow it stands out in my mind as a creative milestone, a memorable event. Sometimes it’s important to break out of the mold with such experiments to reach a new frame of mind, a new level. This was the fifth song in the set, “Star Waltz.”

Recorded in Louisville, Kentucky, 9/29/12.

Magic Sands – Slack Key Guitar

Here is a slack key style tune I wrote a while back while hanging out around Magic Sands beach in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. I originally wrote it on an old nylon string guitar. While I have a recording of this song played on steel string already posted, I wanted to go back and do a recording with my nylon string Taylor as well. There aren’t many songs I like to play on both steel and nylon, but this is one of them for some reason. Hope you enjoy.

 

Saturday Song

One day in the fall of 2012, I sat down to record a set of improvised songs with a Taylor dreadnought acoustic guitar.  I improvised five original songs and two versions of Amazing Grace.  With only one or two false starts, they were mostly first takes.  The set was nothing really mind altering, but it had some cool songs with good vibes – so I considered it a success.  It’s not the kind of thing I do often – in fact I haven’t done the exercise since, haven’t played any of the original songs again, and don’t consider it the most incredible thing I’ve ever done.  Yet somehow it stands out in my mind as a creative milestone, a memorable event.  Sometimes it’s important to break out of the mold with such experiments to reach a new frame of mind, a new level.  This was the third song in the set, which I dubbed “Saturday Song.”

Recorded in Louisville, Kentucky, 9/29/12.

Punahele – Ray Kane

Here is another Ray Kane cover – this time his classic song Punahele. According to the Dancing Cat liner notes, Punahele (“favorite” or “pet”) came to Ray “one night in 1938 at Zablan’s Beach in Nanakuli. ‘Back in those days there were no cars, it was pitch black. So I sit there in the dark in the nice cool breeze and I hear the waves bouncing on the sand and see the moonlight flicker on the water. It inspired me, something so nice. So mellow. That’s what gave me my inspiration.’”
Similar to other songs Ray composed on the beach (Keiki Slack Key for example), this mellow laid back songs exemplifies Ray’s nahenahe approach that to me represents the archetype of ‘old style’ slack key. Like Keiki Slack Key, Punahele is one of the first slack key songs I learned, and has stayed on my setlists ever since. I recently improvised a few new licks into the song, and recorded a half dozen takes – some 5-6 minutes long. I think this short three and a quarter minute version gets the point across though. Hope you enjoy.

Home Abroad – Slide Guitar

From the vaults, here is a slide guitar song I wrote called Home Abroad. I used to play a fair amount of slide guitar, but I don’t play it much anymore. I figured I’d either have to go all in on the slide or not, but couldn’t just dabble with it – so I decided to work on other areas instead. This is a fun leftover from when I dabbled with it though. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 3/18/09.

Banks of the Ohio – Thumbpick / Bluegrass

Here is my Clarence White inspired arrangement of the Bluegrass classic, “Banks of the Ohio,” played fingerstyle with a thumbpick (rather than flatpicked or cross-picked).

In a Little While – U2

Here is a demo version of my arrangement of the U2 song “In a Little While,” from 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind. This was recorded a few years back when I was using dreadnaught size Taylors, before I got hip to their smaller, more comfortable guitars. The mix is a bit more compressed than what I’ve been doing lately, but it gets the job done. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded at Goldsmith Studios in October, 2011.

Every Breath You Take – The Police / Sting

Here is a demo version of my arrangement of The Police song “Every Breath You Take” I recorded a few years back. I was using dreadnaught size Taylors back then and the mix is a bit more compressed than what I’ve been doing lately, but I think it works for this song. Weren’t The Police great? Hope you enjoy.

Recorded at Goldsmith Studios in October, 2011.

Make (Demo)

Here is a strum intensive song from the vaults called “Make”. The louder strumming in this song was meant to provide a counterpoint to some of the mellower fingerstyle and slack key songs I was playing at the time. I recorded this while living in an ohana unit with a large, tiled room that I kept mostly empty because I enjoyed the acoustics. (Plus, I didn’t own a lot of furniture.) Hope you enjoy.

Recorded in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 3/19/08.