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!
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.
I’ve had this song recorded for awhile now, it was actually the first song I ever wrote on guitar (and it was completely by accident!) I was waiting for Mr. Jim Fusco (who’s great new album “Halfway There” is available now for purchase!…you’re welcome, Fusc!) to get off the phone my sophomore year of high school so I can Dial up (for those of you who don’t know what that is, we used to have to dial up to go online and connect to a blazing 24.4 kbs on an old modem) and go on Instant Messenger. AOL was the place to be at night in high school, and my brother took up our only phone line.
Impatiently waiting, I picked up my unplugged electric guitar I had received two years earlier (on Jim’s 16th birthday, actually). My father can’t turn down a good deal, so he excitedly asked me if I wanted a guitar, too, and drove us to the JCPenny outlet store that morning before the party so I could have one as well =) I never learned how to play it in those two years, but Jim had started to get the basics and knew all the chords.
I recall seeing him play a G (which, to a non-guitar player, looks like this cool, difficult chord). So I pick it up, throw my fingers on it, get it completely wrong, but as soon as I strummed it, I LOVED the chord. It sounded like a harp. And an entire melody and lyrics hit me all at once, as I struggled the better part of the night to figure out how the strings worked and BS some chords to fit this new tune.
Needless to say, I never made it on instant messenger that night. I became a guitar player =) And it still goes down as one of my favorite songs, and I thank Jim for three things- 1. Vocals on the original recording 2. driving me home in the camaro everyday so I’d stare at the passenger-side side-view mirror that said “Objects are Closer Than They Appear” (listen for a variation in the song!) and 3. Talking on the phone too long. =) enjoy!
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!