“Christmas Morning” by Jim Fusco – FREE mp3 Download! – Day 14 of 14

By Jim Fusco:

And here it is- the end of the line.  I can’t believe we’re already through all 14 days of my Rock’n’Roll Christmas celebration!  Remind me to never do this again. :-)

Today’s song is my original Christmas tune, “Christmas Morning”, that I wrote back in high school!  I personally think every artist has ONE good Christmas song in them.  And, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure that I’d ever be able to come up with another one as catchy as this one, so I don’t think I’m going to try!

I recorded this song for the first time back in 2004 for our Christmas album, “Our Christmas Gift To You”.  At the time, I was just getting used to playing the guitar and recording with my digital 24-track.  I had basic microphones, too.  Now, I have a Cab Clone to record my guitars, various tube amps, high quality mics, compressors, preamps, and…the same 24 track mixer.  But, if you’ve heard both versions, you can really tell a big difference.  I’ll probably end-up recording this again in the future after my equipment gets even better!

My wife Becky helps me sing on this tune, too.  I was going to have my brother Mike help out, but he was sick when he came home for Thanksgiving, so he couldn’t sing on it.  Next time, though!

I hope you’ve had as much fun reading and listening to these Christmas songs as I have making them.  It’s a pretty big accomplishment for me to do all of this while being so busy otherwise.  I hope I can maybe just do one song a year from now on, just to keep me into the recording process.  Enjoy “Christmas Morning” and have a Merry Christmas!

“Maybe Baby” (Buddy Holly Cover)

Originally posted 2010-01-27 01:11:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Hello everyone- it’s a Tuesday, so that mean’s it’s another edition of The Laptop Sessions and another acoustic cover song from me, Jim Fusco!Tonight, I bring you an oldie, but a goodie in Buddy Holly’s classic tune, “Maybe Baby”.  You know, it’s funny- I can almost picture how Buddy wrote this song.  He started playing an A chord, followed by an F#m chord, which is a nice change.  I can tell that he really liked it and kept playing it over and over until the tune of, “Maybe baby, I’ll have you…” came into his head.  The rest of the song is pretty formulaic after that.

But, that’s what I love so much about these very early rock’n’roll songs- it must’ve been great to have a wide-open slate because no one had done it before!  So, even the simplest chord changes (like the one I just mentioned) became opportunities for new rock songs.  I’m sure someone used that progression in jazz or another form of earlier music, but since Buddy was such a pioneer, he was the first to utilize such chord progressions in rock music.

Now, of course, Buddy Holly had the advantage of being one of the first to write modern rock’n’roll songs in this style, but it wasn’t easy.  Having a blank slate seems great- “Oh, okay, I have every chord and no one has taken any of the potential melodies yet- this will be easy to write a song!”  But, you have to remember that Buddy, unlike the rest of us, didn’t have a lot to draw from.  He didn’t grow up listening to similar music like I did.  He had to do it first, which is infinitely more difficult to do than when you have some prior knowledge to draw on.

So, even though “Maybe Baby” may not be the hardest or most complicated song, I still give the man all the credit in the world because he paved the way for so many others.  I plan on starting a little Buddy Holly collection- I saw a really great CD retrospective once with all of his original, earliest recordings.  That blows me away- there’s some songs in there from the early 50’s!

For this video, I tried to sing the song true to the original, but it’s tough to do that on a Buddy Holly song without having it sound like an imitation.  Of course, I never want that.  So, I tried singing just like myself, but threw in a few “hiccups” of Buddy Holly’s style in there.  It was a lot of fun to record!

The busiest month of the year so far…and it’s only the first one!  I keep telling myself, “Well, as soon as (insert major event here) is over, then things will go back to normal.”  But, as soon as home life returns to normal, work life goes crazy, and vice-versa.

I hope you have a great week and stop back, if for nothing else than my next post next Tuesday!



Wilco Summer 2009 REVIEW – Wappingers Falls, NY: Saturday, 7/18/2009

Originally posted 2009-07-19 02:14:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For the Set List, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

As you walk in the gates at a Wilco concert this summer, your ticket is scanned and you are handed a free tour program.

That’s right; I said “FREE.”

And this is no cheap artifact thrown together for the sake of it.  This is a 34 page program, printed and bound as professionally as any other band’s tour program for which you would probably spend in the ballpark (pun intended) of $15 to $20.  Inside, you’ll find exclusive band photographs, the “Wilco Top 5-a-go-go” (a set of “Top 5” lists from the band members), interviews with Jeff Tweedy and Derek Welch (who designed the Wilco toys and the Nudie suits you see in the artwork for the new album), reproduced handwritten lyrics for “Country Disappeared,” a brief word from Glenn Kotche about a custom aspect of his drumset, a scorecard listing all the Wilco songs across the x-axis and all the locations for the summer tour down the y-axis, cartoons, and more…

I think you get the idea.

Although I didn’t know it when I entered the gates Saturday at Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls for my first Wilco concert, this is precisely the type of show the band was about to put on: one jam-packed with more effort, creative energy, and ability to impress than I ever thought possible.

Over two and a half hours — and that’s AFTER Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band left the stage — Wilco played a full set with two encores that added up to 29 songs.  The band entered by simply strolling through a gate on the first base line, walking across the outfield, and running up the steps to launch immediately into a rocking version of “Wilco (the song),” the opening track from their new album.

Throughout the night, Jeff Tweedy and the boys of Wilco played predominantly from their most recent four albums (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, A Ghost is Born, Sky Blue Sky, and Wilco (the album) – six songs a piece, except for Sky Blue Sky‘s five), but they also played three songs from their third album Summerteeth and dusted off one each from their 1995 debut album A.M. (CLICK HERE to read a review of A.M.), its 1996 followup Being There, and the first Mermaid Avenue.

The first 22 songs — the main set — came at a rapid pace, as the band members somehow maintained the same soaring level of enthusiasm for recreating some of their best songs, as well as some deeper album cuts, onstage with either note-for-note perfection compared to the studio versions (“I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” “Shot in the Arm,” & “Walken”) or by introducing interesting new rythyms, riffs, and other interesting aspects to their interpretations (“War on War,” “Too Far Apart,” & the by-now-classic concert version of “I’m the Man Who Loves You”).

Throughout the night, Tweedy interacted with the crowd in his characteristic way, the night’s main topics being the mosquitoes that were swarming the stage — “Does anyone have any DEET?” he asked — and the glow sticks that were being tossed around amongst the audience members at the foot of the stage — he mimed a set of “try to hit me, I dare you!” arm motions during one song, causing a volley of glow sticks to shower the stage, showing off the audience’s profoundly poor coordination.

“You guys have really bad aim,” Tweedy laughed at the end of the song.  That prompted a few more glow sticks to be launched in his direction, but he managed to duck each of them.

The first encore only included two songs, but it stretched on for more than twenty minutes.  The first song, “Poor Places,” was a heartfelt rendition of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot‘s penultimate track.  It was followed by a scorching, more than full-length version of A Ghost is Born‘s “Spiders (Kidsmoke).”  The latter is one of the songs that showed off the considerable talent and electric stylings of the three guitarists — Tweedy, the incredible Nels Cline (who truly brought a distinctive guitar style to the band when he joined in early 2004), and Pat Sansone (who was really unleashed in the second encore when he engaged in a volley of solos that passed between him and Cline as though they were firing automatic weapons).

The encore ended with Tweedy calling for the audience to clap to the beat, raising their arms above their heads.  As the instrumentation dropped away, he issued a challenge; apparently, the Brooklyn, New York crowd at Keyspan Park couldn’t keep up the beat after the band stopped playing.  Instead, they sped up rapidly.

For a brief moment after they stopped playing, I thought this crowd would fare better… but it was not to be so.  The members of Wilco motioned for the crowd to slow down and Tweedy started laughing as they went back to their instruments for the final riff of “Spiders.”

“You guys were good,” he politely exaggerated after the song ended.

When they left the stage for the second time, I thought for certain that the show had ended.  After all, they had played 24 songs and it had been two hours since they took the stage at 8:30pm.

And yet they still returned for more!

The second encore kicked off with an upbeat rendition of “The Late Greats” that had the entire crowd moving — from foot-tapping to full-out dancing — and smiling.  Next came the first single off the new album, “You Never Know,” complete with note-for-note perfect George Harrison-esque slide guitar by Cline.

“You have time for a couple more?” Tweedy asked, to which he received the deafening screams of the crowd.

When they kick-started “Heavy Metal Drummer,” you would have thought this was Lynyrd Skynyrd about to play “Freebird” for the response that issued forth from the audience.  They played a great version, but nothing could have prepared me for their interpretation of “Hoodoo Voodoo.”  With lyrics that Woody Guthrie wrote for his children but was never able to record, this track appeared as one of the Tweedy leads on Mermaid Avenue. I’ve always liked this song, but I’ve never loved it the way I did for those five minutes they played it, complete with a new driving guitar riff, pitch-perfect vocals by Tweedy as though we were in the studio with him back in 1998, and outstanding guitar work by Cline and Sansone.

Even though Tweedy had only asked the crowd if they had time for “a couple more,” Wilco launched into one final song.  By this time, the concert had to end at some point.  “I’m A Wheel” was just as good a song to close with as any that remained unplayed from their catalog.

As the song ended, Tweedy said a brief farewell, and Wilco turned on the crowd and exited from whence they had come.

Walking to my car, I realized that this is a fifteen year old band that is somehow in their prime now.  I’m so accustomed to seeing bands that have been playing for decades, that I forget sometimes that it is a different experience to attend the concert of a band that still has something to prove to history — namely that they deserve a place in the memories of rock music fans for all time.  I entered Dutchess stadium a big fan of the band, but tonight, Wilco had me convinced that they deserve that aforementioned place.

All in all, this was by far the best $42 I have ever spent.  If you have the opportunity, get out there and see this band at the peak of their game (ballpark pun, this time, NOT intended…).

“Busy Doin’ Nothing” (Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2008-01-22 12:31:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Back into my favorite domain: the obscure Beach Boys cover songs! Today’s song is by request, and I’ll tell you, it wasn’t easy.

I always loved the acoustic guitar part in “Busy Doin’ Nothing”, especially because there’s not too many acoustic-guitar driven Brian Wilson songs.

But, this song uses some crazy chords, including some that 99.9% of rock songs never use- kind of like old jazz chords.

Needless to say, I learned all these new chords and practiced it over and over again for this cover song music video. That same night, I made this recording. It was actually pretty easy because I knew the words completely by heart (any Beach Boys songs I can sing in my sleep). That’s always the hardest part of the Laptop Sessions- learning the chords to a cover song is easy, but if you forget the order of the verses (see Jeff’s post yesterday), you’re stuck.

About this song: From the Friends album, this tune (I always thought) kind of shows the state of mind Brian Wilson was in during the late 60s. I think after the craziness of SMiLE, he wanted to be at home. This song describes a “day in the life”. Although, I still don’t know why Brian Wilson had a “pocket book”! Reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry had the pocket-book: “It’s European!”  But seriously, “Busy Doin’ Nothing” doesn’t really sound like any other Beach Boys song.  It has it’s own sound, from the acoustic guitars (that I mentioned earlier) to the flutes.  It has the same bossa nova beat The Beach Boys were into during the Friends sessions, though.  I think The Beach Boys were looking for a way to forge their own niche.  After the SMiLE project broke down, the Beach Boys tried doing psychedelic music on “Smiley Smile”, but to me, it just didn’t work.  I can imagine that they didn’t want to always follow in the (large) footsteps of the Beatles.  At that time, they were working on the White Album and were going back to basics with their sound.  The Beach Boys kind of did that in a way, but they also changed their style.  It became more relaxed.  Beach Boy music was always peppy and fast-paced under the tutelage of Murray Wilson, the Wilson brothers’ father.  Under their own management, the Boys decided to take a more mellow approach.  It didn’t gain them much commercial success for quite a while, but I do look back on this period of albums fondly.

This is a big shout-out to all the Blueboarders (fans of Brian Wilson’s message board on his official website) that always give me encouragement and always want more videos! I have so many great cover song music videos up my sleeve, I can’t wait to release them to the world!  Enjoy tonight’s cover song video in the Beach Boys’ “Busy Doin’ Nothing” here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!