“Keep On Going” (Original Wednesday Acoustic Song)

Originally posted 2009-04-29 20:32:23. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

And welcome one, welcome all to my Laptop Session for this very special Original Wednesday here at your source for the best acoustic cover and original song music videos available on the internet today!  (That’s a mouthful…)

You may be wondering, why is this day so special?

Well, for one, this is the birthday of Laptop Sessions series creator Jim Fusco.  On behalf of the other contributors and the loyal viewers of this blog, I’d like to wish him a very happy 25th birthday!  Only a quarter century in, and he’s accumulated quite a back catalog of music, writing, and side projects.  If you haven’t already, you should head on over to jimfusco.com.

Take it from me: the best gift you can get Jim this year is to spend a measely $10 on his brand new album Halfway There.  Go ahead, check out the album in streaming audio at his official website, or use the search function at the top of this page to listen to Laptop Sessions of many of the Halfway There tracks, read a full review (another one from Jeff coming soon…), and see the beautiful, custom artwork he used for the cover.

Okay, that’s enough plugging for one post.

Tonight’s session is based on a song that I never recorded for an album.  “Keep On Going” is an early track, as you will most likely be able to tell!  Although the words are straightforward and the chord progression is simple, I’ve always liked this little tune.  I originally wrote this song as a direct statement to my best friend (Jim, if you haven’t made the connection yet), assuring him after a rough week that things really will turn out all right, even though people — particularly high school aged people — can be cruel.  I hope he’s seen that to be true, as he’s moved on to college, made many lifelong friends, and become engaged to Becky Daly.  For all you former Pine Loft faithfuls: yes, this is indeed the same Becky Daly of Chris, Jim, and Becky fame!

I still sing “Keep On Going” when I feel stressed out or begin to think something — a relationship, a professional endeavor, etc. — won’t work out.  I hope you like it.

As a final note, stepping back into the present, I just started listening to the new Bob Dylan album, Together Through Life.  In case you’re questioning my devotion, there’s only one reason why I didn’t start listening yesterday: I pre-ordered the album on Amazon.com and didn’t spring for any more than Free Super Saver Shipping.  So, I’m cheap.  What do you want???  🙂

Did I mention I’m loving the album?  As I type, it’s blaring through my room and probably throughout the condo complex.  I may even get a letter in the mail from the condo association condemning me for noise pollution or disturbing the peace or some other such nonsense, but it will be worth it!  I spent the day at school today wearing the Best Buy exclusive Together Through Life t-shirt that Mike so graciously passed along to me from his purchase of the album (thanks again, Fusc!!).  I made certain to wear a white button down shirt today and a narrow tie, so as to have the Dylan t-shirt show through.  Thanks to at least one inquisitive student in each class I taught, I got to talk about the new album at least once every 82 minutes today!

I’ll save my commentary on Together Through Life for the review that will most certainly come, but allow me to share a couple comments.  First, this is not what I was expecting after Love & Theft and Modern Times.  Then again, that’s pretty much what Dylan himself suggested, so I’m not really surprised.  My favorite line thus far is the chorus to track three: “Hell is my wife’s home town.”  As if there’s any question as to whether Dylan’s dry sense of humor is still intact, just listen for his chuckling — yes, his chuckling — in the outro of that song.  Finally, although it’s a slow album to start, just wait for “Jolene” and “Shake Shake Mama” to really get your foot tapping.

And, with that taste of this new Dylan album, I’ll emphatically suggest you need to buy both Halfway There and Together Through Life and be on my merry way.

See you next session!

“The Jolly Banker” (Wilco / Woody Guthrie Acoustic & Lap Steel Cover)

Originally posted 2009-05-25 23:17:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Wilco/Woody Guthrie chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

This is quite the story for a session.  It seems that, in order to outdo my previous “new release” Laptop Sessions, I needed to call in some outside help…

In the form of one Jim Fusco on his brand-new metallic blue lap steel guitar!

Oh, and if you’re a Wilco fan, then I hope you can appreciate how exciting it was for me to host the first Lap-(steel)-top Session.  Throughout their catalog, they have incorporated country tinges with instruments such as this.  Most recently, even as they continue to play around with more experimental forms, Nels Cline plays beautifully on the lap steel in several of their concert set list mainstays, from the older deep track “It’s Just That Simple” to more recent material off of Sky Blue Sky, their 2007 album.

This track, “The Jolly Banker,” was written by Woody Guthrie and originally recorded on March 22, 1940 (as reported in the Library of Congress records for these sessions with folk music expert Alan Lomax).  Nearly seventy years later, Wilco has recorded their own version of this song — which is eerily relevant as of its release on April 30th, 2009 — and released it as a free download online.  Technically, they suggest/request that you donate at least $2 to the Woody Guthrie Foundation — this is quite funny, as one of the three options for downloading states “I am/was a banker/hedge fund manager/credit default swap trader. I know times are tough, but I’m just fine thank you. (Suggested minimum donation $100.00).”

Tonight, I jokingly challenged Jim to not only play this song as his debut performance on his new guitar, but to actually record a Laptop Session on the spot.  He must have taken me seriously or at least had the urge to give the Rogue brand lap steel an official test run, because he didn’t skip a beat when we set up downstairs.  As you’ll hear — and I hope you’ll agree — this is a great, loyal rendition of Wilco’s cover version, right down to the tapping opening count and the aforementioned lap steel.  I was initially thinking that this would be just another session with me recording just another version of a simple song.  Instead, I am proud to say that this is one of my favorite sessions I’ve recorded in a long time.

Unfortunately, although the actual playing of the song with Jim was very fun and relaxed, the events around the recording were frustrating.  As I’m sure Jim will explain in “tomorrow’s” post (don’t forget that I forgot to remember to record on “Memorial” day… there’s some irony for you), he just got his new HD video camera in the mail.  We tried to record the session with the camera — and the video quality was amazing — but the audio quality was terrible.  Jim finally gave up for the night, but I’m sure he’ll come up with some plan to augment and/or jury rig the setup before next week’s Jim Fusco Tuesday.

Maybe then I’ll bug him to record a saxophone solo for a Bruce Springsteen cover…  (Kidding!)  🙂

On a side note, today started off sadly, as I awoke to find the news of former Wilco multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett’s death on my iPhone AP News app.  While I haven’t followed his work outside of Wilco, I was sad to hear this, especially as I read a quote from Bennett from a couple weeks ago about how excited he was for his new album and the future in general.  It all came in a burst for me, as I also just learned yesterday of the lawsuit Bennett had filed against Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy calling for $50,001.00 in back royalties he felt he was owed, citing the YHF documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart as a film for which he did not sign a proper release form.

Some say Bennett was being unreasonable.  Others say he was instrumental (no pun intended… okay, maybe a little) in Wilco’s mainstream breakthrough and that he deserved additional money.  (Apparently he couldn’t even afford a hip replacement that he badly needed.)

Regardless of which side you take, the bottom line is that he has passed away, and at least for the moment, no one is exactly sure what happened.

I also learned today that our oldies/rock acquaintance, Tony Persia, also passed away recently.  I was saddened to learn about this loss, as he has really set the tone at the annual Carbutti Christmas parties that both Jim and I attend.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, he was probably best known as the piano player for the classic Danny & the Juniors single “At the Hop.”  He was an incredibly kind, charming man who met many great music stars in his life and played lots and lots of music — I know I speak for Jim, Mike, and I when I say he will be sorely missed, particularly this December…

On a happy note, I just downloaded the Wilco iPhone app, and it’s great fun.  You can access all the latest band news, photos, and listen in full(!) to every song from their official catalog, including both Mermaid Avenue releases and their live Kicking Television concert album.  If only my other favorite bands would jump on the iPhone application train…  (cough, nudge – “Dylan, Beach Boys, Barenaked Ladies, Moody Blues, Pearl Jam” – cough, nudge)

Without further ado, I will leave you to watch this collaborative session.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed recording it…

See you next session!

“Soulful Old Man Sunshine” (Beach Boys Cover)

Originally posted 2008-03-10 14:14:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to my Beach Boys Session for this week! Today, this song goes out by request, but I probably would’ve done it eventually, anyway.

This is a technically unreleased song called “Soulful Old Man Sunshine” that was only released on a compilation a few years ago.

I truly think the only reason the Beach Boys never released it is because of Carl’s “shun-shine” gaff in the middle 8.

I figured out this song’s chords by myself and even though I took some liberties, I think it stays true to the original.

Also, I think this is one of the few over-produced Beach Boys songs. That’s why I was so excited to strip all that excess out and just make an acoustic version. You’ll notice that I even sing a bit of it like Brian Wilson did in the original demo of the song, also included on that compilation. I love that version, too- it’s a bit more jazzy.

Thank you for making this ongoing series so incredibly popular! We’re doing a Session a day in 2008, so make sure to check back EVERY DAY you go on the computer for fresh, new material at http://laptopsessions.com. Don’t forget to RATE the songs, too!



“Green Christmas” (Acoustic Christmas Cover)

Originally posted 2008-12-21 23:50:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Well, tonight’s going to be a brief one, and I apologize.  But I made up for it by calling in the big guns — aka one Jim Fusco for additional guitar stylings and harmony vocals — to make this video one my favorites that I’ve done.  It’s certainly the best Christmas video that I’ve recorded.  We had a lot of fun playing it, and I think that comes through on the recording.

I hope you enjoy it!

Oh, yeah, I should probably mention what song it is.  This is “Green Christmas,” one of the holiday originals on the Barenaked Ladies’ Barenaked For the Holidays album.  Second only to “Elf’s Lament” and maybe “Christmastime (Oh Yeah),” this is one of my favorite original tracks on the album.  There’s just the right mix of humor and seriousness on this record, and I think this one leans more toward the serious side.  I especially like the middle part — “Green, cause of everything I miss.  All this missletoe, no kiss…”

Simply put, this was a lot of fun to record.

And it’s certainly not like we haven’t played it before.  It’s been a while, but this song is officially part of our MoU Christmas Chord Book, Part II.  That’s right, we needed multiple chord books to contain the number of songs we learned for our Christmas shows.

The reason this post is so brief is that I remembered and recorded my video much later than I would have liked, and then, Jim and I watched the SNL “Best of Christmas Past” DVD while wrapping our gifts for Christmas.  It felt good to accomplish that while simultaneously watching some great skits — the Matt Foley “motivational speaker” Santa, Alec Baldwin’s “Shvety balls,” Eddie Murphy’s “Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood, and boy does the list go on… — and laughing (a lot!) together.

And, now, it will feel good to sleep…

See you next session!