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"Almost Eleven" is the latest collection of instrumental tracks, featuring Ethan Newman on bass and Tony King on drums and percussion. Ken Williams handled the drums for "Antics of Confusion", and Andy Brown played keyboards on "Rabbit".  Once again, Mike Detto on final mixing and mastering, and Chad Banning did an amazing job on the graphic design.  Unlike a lot of my past projects, I took a took a raw approach to the songs, and as a result, it didn't take 7 years to finish.  Actually, the record was done in a year, but it took another 12 months to come up with the album name.  Enjoy.

 

Track Listing:

1.   Guitar Jetsons

2.   Train

3.   Rabbit

4.   Teacher

5.   Swamp Thing

6.   Riding with the Times

7.   Antics of Confusion

8.   Malcolm

9.   Blue Rondo

10. Almost 11

11. Border


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With the exception of Tony's drums, this is a guitar only version of the classic cartoon theme song.  My trusty Roland GT-6 handled all of the effects, and the special FX (doors closing and spaceship "exhaust") were done on an Oahu lap steel.  The piano parts were done with a Parker Fly. I had the luxury to do as many takes as I needed to get it right, so it's pretty humbling to realize that a full orchestra did this live in 1961... for a cartoon.

Train

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Just two guitar tracks with the Jerry Donohue Telecaster, a MusicMan 210-65, and a touch of Tube Screamer.  Tony's percussion and drums make this tune happen.

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This started life as a funk piece, but it took on a definite latin vibe by the time it was all grown up.  Keyboardist and composer extraordinaire Andy Brown thankfully redid all of my original keyboard parts, and added some great touches like the key change for the outro solo and the melodic bridge between the first two verses. 

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I took a minimalist approach to this song as well.  A Martin MC-38 handles the rhythm, and a Gibson EDS-1275 string for the melody.  It's a really sparse arrangement with a simple melody, but the 12 string gave it some interesting harmonic complexity.  Paring it down to the basics was a good exercise in restraint.  No runs and no 16th notes! 

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Spaghetti Western meets acoustic stomp.  Martin MC-38 in a DADFCE tuning and a Jerry Donahue Tele in DGDGBD tuning.  

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A remake of a song I wrote in 1979, originally recorded with my first band, Leaky Sneakers, at the local PBS radio station, WVIA-FM, for a Homegrown Music segment. I used a James Tyler Studio elite with a Music Man RD-50 for this cut.  The RD-50 never sounds quite right when I'm listening to it live, but it somehow records REALLY well.  Ethan and Tony did an amazing job building the intensity of the song with each verse.

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My friends Tom Nourse and Jimmy Manley co-wrote this song.  It was originally aired in 1979 on the local PBS radio station WVIA-FM for George Graham's "Homegrown Music" program.  It's a great tune that was an abslolute blast to recut.  My Gibson EDS 1275 and an Ovation using Nashville tuning were used for the rhythm parts, while a Suhr Strat was the main lead.  Kenny Williams handled drums and percussion on the track. 

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Multiple time signature changes, but Ethan and Tony were unfazed, and did their parts in a couple of takes. The King Brown mandolin added interesting contrast for the melody, and I used a lap steel to emulate a string section.  Rhythm is a Taylor 614CE in a hybrid G-tuning.

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Hard to believe that this Dave Brubeck piece was a crossover hit in 1959.  My goal was to transcribe as much of the piano to guitar as possible, which is always fun and painful.  I kept the arrangement sparse so it could be played live as a 3 piece, and it's a nice contrast to my other mid-century cover, Guitar Jetsons, which has a whole orchestra of overdubs.  The trick here was tuning the low e-string up to F since a lot of the harmony is based on F major-ish and A major-ish voicings.  Ibanez AM-305 stereo mic'd with a pair of original Groove Tubes MD1's.

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The melody was written first, which provided a lot of freedom with the chords, and presented some interesting time signature challenges. Lead is my Gibson Chet Atkins nylon string,and the Ibanez AM-305 handled rhythm duty. 

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This was the last track I did for the album.  The rest of record was mixed and mastered, but it didn't feel complete until I added this tune.  It's my Martin MC-38.  The string-like reverb is a really cool patch on my ancient Digitech TSR-24 (circa 1995) that works really well for mellower solo acoustic guitar tunes.  The percussion is a plastic cup with a timed delay, very hi-tech.  Did a video of the tune so I could remember how to play it later.