A trip into the country-blues idiom

One thing that irks me about many bands is their dogged insistence on staying within one comfortable groove. They find a sound and then… pretty much stick with it until all the members are dead. Half of me thinks it’s because the band themselves are timid, but I increasingly imagine it’s probably at least half down to financial pressure. If your first record of chug-a-long indie dross unexpectedly sold a million copies, you’re pretty fucking lucky and I can’t say I’d blame anyone for trying to repeat the trick.

Still, it makes for boring records. The Stones have been derided for their ventures into reggae and disco during the 70s, but if I was Mick or Keef I’d be all like “we’ve done the country blues to death, man – can’t we do something else?”

On which note, I introduce my own foray into the country blues idiom. I like working in different styles and I’ve ventured down this path a few times before. This is cobbled-together home recording, so you’ll have to excuse the shoddy guitars, wobbly timings, background noises and (especially) the made-up-on-the-spot lyrics.

While it’s clearly ramshackle, I’m quite proud of the general construction and imagine that if ever recorded properly it would be quite a convincing number.

When writing in a certain idiom, I like to invest a little time listening to lots of stuff outside my comfort zone. In this case, I think I was originally inspired by watching Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed. As a fingerpicker, I am *rubbish* so this was both daunting but also a bit inspiring – and the genesis of my own song was the fingerpicked melodic part, which was then rationalised into a more formal structure (albeit short of a middle 8 and a proper ending). Anyway, to cleanse your pallet, here’s Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins doing shit properly.

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