Saturday, March 24, 2012

Researching Before Touring

Just the act of preparing to hit the road as a busker has been an education to me. Yeah, I am getting close, but I am not ready yet. What is dawning on me the most is that I am seeing just how starved for music has been. There is so much music out there that I have not heard. I now realize that I have been more shut off from the rest of the world than I thought. I now know that I have missed out on a lot of life’s pleasures simply by not being a socially minded person. The real problem was that I never learned to love me as much as I loved “the wrong” other people. I must try to remedy that.

I have been researching for more songs to use as a busker. For what I am attempting to do these songs need to be simple to play, and have a good connection with the people I am playing too. In my research I am finding lots of songs and  performers that I have never even heard of even though the recordings I am listening to show that they have produced outstanding music. And, I am finding a world of songs that I have just simply forgotten about.

Currently I have a list of somewhere around 200 country tunes with a little religion thrown in there. I also have somewhere around 200 rock, blues and jazz tunes. No, I do not know them all yet. There are a few that I have simply found or copied the lyrics and chords too, but have not had time to do any further work with them. There are some that are, at this point, still out of my abilities. There are a bunch of them that I play thru, but have no desire to add them to my main list of working songs. Finally, I am gathering somewhere between 30 to 50 songs from each (country and rock) lists to do my primary work on. Here are a few songs from each of my lists:

 1.) Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
 2.) Big City - Merle Haggard
 3.) Amanda - Waylon Jennings
 4.) I Still Miss Someone - Jessie Colter
 5.) Things Change - Bobby Bare
 6.) Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay - Ottis Redding
 7.) As Tears Go By - Rolling Stones
 8.) When I Need You - Leo Sayer
 9.) If I Were a Carpenter - Tim Hardin
10.) Young Love - Sonny James

This is not a final list. It is only a few of the songs I am working with. Like I said, I am looking for songs that are easy to play, and have a good connection with people. And, I know that they sound good when performed solo with one guitar. My job is to learn to play them the right way, and in a style that people can enjoy. Right now my major problem is that I still sometimes have to look at the sheet music just to remember what I was playing without the sheet music not 10 minutes ago. Practice. Practice. Practice.

One special category that I have begun to work on is "Truckin' Tunes". You would think that after 35 years of trucking I would know a long list of trucking tunes. Well, the fact that I didn't often listen to truckin' stations on my radio shows just how closed off from the rest of the world my life was. Anyway, I plan will soon be sending out letters to truck stops to ask for permission to stop, visit and play on my travels through their towns.

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