Onlooker banjo research

"Follow Me Down needs a banjo!" cries Travis.
Kindly sending one down with Huck and India on their return from the Renegade Craft Thang, Travis enabled me to fulfil his dreams.

Now i have to learn how to play - or rather how to tune it. i can probably play it in my own fashion, as is my wont. The particular banjo that i've been bequeathed will not keep the drone (5th string) where i think it should stay. so mayhaps i'm wrong.

Here's what wikipedia has to say about tuning the 5 string banjo:
Many tunings are used for the five-string banjo. Probably the most common, particularly in bluegrass, is the open G tuning (gDGBd). In earlier times, the tuning gCGBd was commonly used instead. Other tunings common in old-time music include double C (gCGCd), sawmill or mountain minor (gDGCd) also called Modal or Mountain Modal, and open D (f#DF#Ad). These tunings are often taken up a tone, either by tuning up or using a capo.

If i can't get the top string to stick where it's supposed to, i might have to tune it to a non-traditional (perish the thought) note that fits nicely with the rest of the instruments in the song. That might be fun, since the song is in a minor key and banjos are traditionally tuned to a major key. I might be able to work it so that that the 5th string makes up the difference between the major tuning and the rest of the song.

Poles Apart round up

• Another Afternoon
• The Pressure (formerly Papio and Burning Oak)
• Fierce, the Fallow Foe
• Knowing Where We're Going
• Fact Follows Fiction

Still on blocks:
• Out the Window - need to strip out the intro, but keep underlying horn and mtron. Also, vocals need to come up and be more clear.
• Digging Through Dirt - mixdown existing and shred it for a new foundation
• Grasping at Straws - full frontal vocal attack monkeys must needs be unleashed.
• Thaw Gains Momentum - i want to get into this one; it SOUNDS SOOO GOOD right now! all roy!

There are two more, thursday and Try this, which (desoite having the most creative of titles) I'm really on the fence about. They sound nice and I can really get into them, but they are probably not going to progress much further. They will most likely sit on the back burner and wait for our 25 year retrospective blu-ray disc with far too many extras.

* not mastered, but finished writing/recording


Poles Apart - Out The Window

It's been a while since i've been able to get to any of the Poles Apart project. Let me be the first to tell me that I am relieved to have gotten back to it. To anything actually. Sometimes life gets in the way of livin' if you know what i mean.

So roy had sent some guitar track to me that he named Out the Window, probably because he thought ill of the tracks, or maybe he was playing to the dude across the street who had moved all of his wordly posessions to the curb . I liked his parts alot. There are three tracks, all acoustic. The first is the basis for the following two, which are the great linear plucks that bounce around eachother. I liked them so much that I sat on them forever.

After listening many times, I decided i need to get at the heart of my difficulty in finding anything to add - the introduction of the part. I worked out a part using my favorite contrived soft-instrument, my Tebetan Horn, and the Mtron Choir on chords that served the guitar parts well enough without being too notey - I didn't want to take away from the guitars, you see. I played with the guitar line then moved it aside so that i could "introduce them." That seemed to work well enough in a very dead can dance sort of way. I guess i don't mind the reference (self-imposed).

After that was left alone for a while (until tonight), i really had no idea where it was going to go.
I listened and listened finally settling on a noodle on the wurlitzer that would maybe bring some chordal form to it that i could follow vocally. Easy 'nuff. I guess the weeks of not doing much creatively (there WERE a few things here and there) added up tonight's relative ease at settling into a song after having little idea what to do to complement what was given to me.

Wanna hear it? Here it go:
Out the Window as of yet - right click, save, whatever

The shade my impression promisses
Lies to the burns on my back

With chemicals and floating rain
we force it down and leave a stain

The steps I am taking go nowhere
They're lies and my body won't last

The chemicals won't heal the pain
It's not safe out in the prayed-for rain.


My hope is that Roy can dig me and my vocals out from my insecurities - upon a listen... dang that's a lot of reverb!
Enjoy, n,joy,oy oioioiiii


Close - spacedawg (working title, obviously)

We hadn't gotten together in a few weeks due to an adorable new arrival in Vince's household. Congrats for birthing another cute kid.

When we got together last week, we just started to play our guitars to freshen up. Vince started plucking his chords the way he do; and I - feeling very lyrical (must have been the blousey jester's outfit - picture it if you will) - work out some linear phrases to chase his part around.

This was the result.
He EQ'd his part and split the panning - very nice. the linear part was begging for a tweaked out feeling to keep the hits on the strings from being a distraction to the lengthy melody line.

We will definitely rename it (name came from a comment of the type of drummer we might need... whatever that means!) as vocals and lyrics develop.