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!
Welcome to the Laptop Sessions’ Original Wednesday. I’m guessing some people will be new to the Laptop Sessions because of this original song video, and we welcome you aboard!
This song, a pun on the “Red, White, and Blue”, is my first and only “protest” type of song.
The song was written in early 2002 after 9/11 about the hypocritical actions of Americans automatically becoming “patriotic” as soon as a disaster hit. This original song is just me wondering why people weren’t just ALWAYS patriotic!
This song is still as relevant today, six years later, as it was when I wrote it. I even talk about Easter in the song (it was that time of year), and I thought this would be the perfect week to bust it out again.
Basically, I’m giving the point of view of an 18 year old kid (at the time) from Connecticut because all the hardship and fear seemed so distant from my everyday life at the time.
To say this song is still relevant today shows how stagnant the country’s been lately. We still are fighting a never-ending war on terror and the patriotism of the country is waning once again.
Oh, and the verse about California: it’s in reference to when they didn’t have the Red-Carpet festivities for a big award show that year. I didn’t think that was helping anyone. Letting the terrorists know we’re scared? That’ll really help…
“The Red, White, and Blues” is from my double-album set, “That’s All…” that I released in 2003. I say “double album” in a different way than you would normally think of it. For instance, the Beatles came out with a double album with their “White Album” (simply titled, “The Beatles”) in 1968. That album consisted of over 20 original songs and couldn’t fit on just one vinyl record. For “That’s All…”, it’s a bit different. You see, I had just gotten a guitar- my first real acoustic guitar, an Ibanez Artcore. I instantly wanted to play everything on the acoustic guitar and quickly went to playing folk songs. I even came up with a bunch of my own. I thought a blues song like “The Red, White, and Blues” would be a perfect way to start off an album of folk songs.
But, I also had a bunch of original songs that I’d written in my normal rock’n’roll style, too. So, I decided to record everything at once and split up the whole project into two original albums: “That’s All Folks”, which featured all of the folk songs I’d written, and “That’s All Jim” that featured all of my songwriting efforts in my normal style. I put both albums on one CD, but each album had it’s own cover. Plus, the combo-pack of both albums called “That’s All…” had it’s unique album cover!
Welcome everyone to another edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco! It feels like these two-week spans between my acoustic cover song music videos fly-by each time. It’s already the second week of December and Christmastime is going by like a shot. This year, I’ll be bringing you one Christmas song music video that I recorded on piano. But, that will have to wait until next time.
Tonight, I bring you the second in my two-part series of songs titled, “I Need You”. The first was the cover video I did two weeks ago, “I Need You” by the Beatles. I’ve always loved that George Harrison song and it’s about time I got to make an acoustic video version of it here for the music blog. As I mentioned on that post, I think the band America, and specifically Gerry Beckley- the writer of today’s song- were heavily influenced by the Beatles. In fact, in each concert performance (and I’ve seen them about 15 times now) they play a Beatles song. They say that it was the music that made them want to become rock musicians and songwriters.
Now, I’ve also hypothesized that Gerry Beckley made a nod to George Harrison’s “I Need You” in his song by the same title. I can hear a similarity in the chord progression, especially at the end of the song when it goes to that minor chord. It’s such an interesting change and both songs feature it (though Harrison’s goes to an F#m and Beckley’s goes to an Em7). It would be such an honor if Gerry Beckley himself ever read this blog post and commented on my theory.
America’s “I Need You”, off of their first (self-titled) album, was one of the songs that got me into the group’s music. Other Beckley songs like “To Each His Own” and “Only In Your Heart” are personal favorites, as well. I always gravitated to Beckley’s songwriting, as I can tell the clear Beatles and Beach Boys influences. After a show of theirs I attended, the band signed autographs. I brought in my copy of Beckley, Lamm, and Wilson’s “Like A Brother” CD and Gerry was surprised that I had it. I loved that album, especially because we got to hear some great Carl Wilson songs. He told me that he spoke at Carl’s funeral and that he was a very, very close friend. To me, that’s amazing- growing up and listening to your favorite group…and then becoming a musician and eventually friends with one of the members. To me, this made sense, as Carl Wilson was the youngest Beach Boy, more Beckley’s age.
In the studio version of “I Need You”, you hear a great acoustic 12-string guitar over the piano. For my Laptop Sessions cover version, I took a rare seat at the piano and stripped this song down to its basic elements. And when you just sit back and listen to the words, you realize how great of a song it really is. Beckley wrote this song right out of high school and you can tell- going away from all of your friends (like he talked about in “To Each His Own”) is really tough, and the emotions that you feel for people in high school feel like they’re SO important. I remember feeling that I’d be alone forever if a relationship didn’t work out back in high school. If only I could give myself some late-20s wisdom.
I hope you enjoy tonight’s “I Need You” piano cover song music video. I’ll be back with a Christmas song music video for you in a couple of weeks, so I hope you’ll stay tuned! In the meantime, get that shopping done (without getting too stressed) and we’ll see you back here on the music blog!
Well, as promised, I’m back with your Wednesday edition of Jim Fusco Tuesdays! Don’t understand that? Then you should be visiting the blog more often! Tuesdays are my usual day to post, but unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera last night, so I had to put-off doing the video until today. I also recorded another video for next week that you’re going to LOVE. It’s from a guy you probably haven’t heard of, but he’s new to the blog and he’s a well-respected musician. I guess you’ll have to wait in suspense until then!
I can’t believe it- this blog has been up for well over two years and there hasn’t been a Grateful Dead song done yet! Late last year, I decided that I wanted to learn more about the Grateful Dead. Back in high school and early college, I used to work at the now defunct Cheshire Video and Disc (a local video store). I used to work with this hippy girl named Karen. She was cool- we used to work on Sunday mornings together and always had a nice time. She used to play this Grateful Dead VHS tape during our shift every week. It was from the 80’s. It was a trippy kind of concert- crazy 80’s video effects and extended drum solos. But, I really enjoyed the songs.
Fast-forward about seven years to the present-day. I finally got my Grateful Dead “Best Of” for Christmas from my mother in law and I was so excited to play it for the first time. My boss had re-ignited my interest for the band, as he put a few of their songs on a mix CD for me. So, I got the CD and played it at work for the first time. I LOVED IT!!
It’s 17 songs and, believe me, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better overall “Best Of”. It has all of my favorite elements: harmonies, good guitar, everyone plays their own instruments, and (my personal favorite) multiple band members writing songs!! Actually, my favorite song on the whole “Best Of” CD (which I will definitely cover in the future) is “Box Of Rain”, written by bassist Phil Lesh. (On another note, I hear he and former Dead member Bob Weir are now touring as “Furthur”, but the show in my hometown of Wallingford, CT is SOLD OUT! Grrr….)
Anyway, there are so many great songs on this disc- from the ones you’ve heard of (and probably didn’t know they did them) like “Truckin'”, “Casey Jones”, and “Touch of Grey” to the ones that you haven’t heard of yet, this is a top-to-bottom rare “Best Of” find. The last times I felt this great about a “Best Of” was when I purchased the America and Doobie Brothers’ discs. So, what I’m saying is, if you haven’t purchased the Grateful Dead “Best Of” (the one with 17 tracks- NOT the cheap 10-track version), then you should really give it a try.
Tonight’s song is “Friend of the Devil”. At first, this wasn’t one of my favorites, but it’s catchy and the story is pretty cool, so it grew on me quickly. I love singing it in that Jerry Garcia drawl. Plus, this was an easy one to convert to acoustic. Most of their songs aren’t so easy because of their great harmonies. I’ve wanted to do so many of their songs, but it just won’t sound right without someone else singing with me (who knows the song really well, too).
So, whatever idea you had of the Dead (I thought it was just a stupid stoner band that jammed nonsensical songs for hours on end…which may be true for the live sets, as I’ve heard), throw it away! They’re a tight band that last quite a while and came up with some great songs. And now I’m even more excited that I can build my vinyl record collection with some of their interesting albums, such as their lone 60’s record (from 1967, which I’m INCREDIBLY interested in hearing) and their all-time classic from 1970, American Beauty.
Enjoy tonight’s LSHD video and make sure to come back next week for my newest obsession in music!