I’m pretty excited today, as I give you a new band to the Laptop Sessions: America!
I got into this band because of today’s cover song, Sister Golden Hair. I used to hear it on the radio many times growing up and decided that it would be perfect for a cover song. I’ve now seen the band America in concert at least ten times, meeting them and getting their autographs on many occasions. They’re great guys and that only helped make them one of my favorite bands.
I love their album “Homecoming” and will be doing most of the songs off it in the future. But, for now, I give you the tune that started it all for me. Once I found out that this song was from the same guys that did “Horse With No Name”, I had to get the “Best Of” CD. After that, I scoured CT (this was before eBay was huge) for any America CDs I could find. I even bought some of the LPs. The band was surprised to see such a young guy asking to get those signed. My gravitation towards America was probably due to the fact that I could tell they were influenced by the Beach Boys- their harmonies and melodic songs drew me in. And, they put a classic rock spin on things- kind of like Crosby, Stills, and Nash, but even more mellow.
“Sister Golden Hair” is really one of my favorite songs. The chorus is so catchy, but Gerry Beckley (the singer and songwriter for this song) didn’t stop there- he began the song with a great acoustic guitar part and some really cool slide guitar. One of the reasons why the original recording of “Sister Golden Hair” sounds so good is because Beatles producer George Martin actually produced it! Yes, that’s right- he even produced a few other albums for America in the mid 70s. The first song he produced for them was the big hit “Tin Man”.
America had two #1 Billboard hits- “A Horse With No Name” and “Sister Golden Hair”. It’s a shame they didn’t have a third, because then each member would’ve had their shot at having a Number One Hit. “A Horse With No Name” was written by Dewey Bunnell, but original member Dan Peek (left in the late 70s, but is now deceased) never got a song up to Number One. He did have a popular song, though, in “Lonely People”, which is instantly recognizable. So, I guess all of the band members had their chances to shine.
Like many of my acoustic cover song videos, I’m using my nylon string guitar here. Sure, it doesn’t sound exactly like the original, but I thought it allowed me to sing over the guitar without shouting. On the verses, I found that I needed a softer sounding guitar because the tone is so “conversational” and not soaring above the music (like a Beach Boys song would be, for instance).
I hope you all enjoy this America acoustic cover song- truly one of my favorites. Stay tuned for more cover song music videos from the musicians here at the Laptop Sessions video blog!
Welcome to September, a truly promising month for new music from the likes of Steven Page, Ben Folds, and Weezer!
Today, I’m taking a break from our regularly scheduled Original Wednesday program of previews from The 2010 Project to bring you a song I just wrote last week.
Specifically, a song I wrote on Monday of last week.
You may be wondering, why Monday? Well, August 23rd — aside from being my friend and sometimes-collaborator Alberto Distefano’s birthday — marked the fifth anniversary of my first date with my girlfriend Nicole. Because we broke up for three months in late 2008, we’ve decided to officially celebrate our anniversary on the day we got back together for the first time, January 2nd. (I’m personally a fan of this date for all its implications of the new year, fresh beginnings, resolutions to be made, and all the promise this invokes. And, although it’s only a week after Christmas, the original date was only a week before her birthday, so proximity to other occasions is not a factor.)
Thus, August 23rd has become the anniversary that we’ve promised to honor, but without monetary expense in the name of gifts.
We never said anything about not spending time to make something like, say, a song!
I spent the better part of my morning last Monday writing, playing, and perfecting “The One For Me.” It is one of the — if not the — best love songs I’ve written, in my opinion. And, for those that don’t know, my opinion is that my love songs are generally sub-par. The version which you will hear in the video below is the first full performance I committed to tape last week. I’ve been playing it numerous times each day since and it has progressed considerably from the form it is in on this session.
Why post an out-of-date version?
For one, I like the idea of showing off a fresh song, without having practiced it or worked on it. What is Original Wednesday, after all, if it is not a place to celebrate the writing process? In addition, I’m trying to imagine a spot for this song on The 2010 Project, so it may show up there. If it does, you will hopefully be able to tell how much it has progressed since this video. (And, it will have turned out that today is indeed another installment of the preview series.)
So, without further ado, I give you “The One For Me.” I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you’ll tune back in for more exciting new material here at the Laptop Sessions as we move into the fall season.
Here’s a simple but great 70’s Dylan song, off the “Desire” album. I’ve always loved the words to this one.
As a brief sidenote, my essay book was supposed to be released tomorrow, but I’m still trying to figure out how to convert it into an eBook without paying a big fee. I would release it next Tuesday, but I don’t want to overshadow the MoU release (lol…), so I’ll probably just wait until later this month.
As always, thanks for listening. Keeping with my New Year’s resolution to post at least one new Laptop Session every day this year, Jim and/or I and/or Jeff will see you tomorrow!