“Up in the Air” (Kevin Renick Cover)

Originally posted 2010-02-08 20:46:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Kevin Renick chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to another week of new material from the best acoustic cover song music video blog in the universe!  We’re glad you’ve chosen to stop by and we hope you’ll read the posts, watch our music videos, and leave us some comments and requests.

Let me begin my post tonight by explaining the new background.  Although I think I will eventually establish the living room as my backdrop — better lighting, better acoustics — I wanted Laptop Sessions regulars to see that my “wall 0′ CD’s” has been rebuilt in the condo.  I just recorded this video, so there wasn’t any natural light to speak of.  Thus, the image is a bit yellowed.  Additionally, I spent the weekend working on installing surge protectors, organizing my bookshelf, maximizing space in the closet, etc., so there aren’t any posters.  The walls look pretty plain, but I promise there will be a more complete backdrop soon.  I have a cool Beatles poster that came free if you bought two or more Beatles remasters at Newbury Comics, and I’ve been itching to put that up.  And, of course, there are the Bob Dylan posters that have been with me since I lived with my parents, so it will be nice to get those up soon, as well.

Until then, let’s just focus on the music…

I’ve wanted to record this song since I heard it in the closing credits of Up in the Air a month ago.  I had planned to record it right away, but Spoon’s new album, an Elvis Costello phase, and the aborted Locksley new release all intervened.  I had considered milking the Who publicity for a session and I was looking for a fitting Jimi Hendrix song for today, but I just couldn’t put this one off any longer.

If you haven’t heard of Kevin Renick, well, that’s kind of the point.  Apparently, he wrote “Up in the Air” a couple years before he heard that director Jason Reitman was working on a film adaptation of the book.  The version you hear in the film is the original recording Renick handed to Reitman after he heard Reitman speak.  The cassette recording begins, “Hi, Jason.  My name is Kevin Renick, and I’ve written a song called ‘Up in the Air.’ I wanted you to hear it.  It goes like this…”

What follows is a home recording that is simple and wonderfully suited for the film.  Of course, it was literally no work to translate this into a Laptop Session as, for all intents and purposes, it already is.  When I read more about Renick tonight, I became even more excited about posting this session.  He is not signed to a record label.  He has never released an album before.  Being unemployed himself, he sings his song with conviction, and it was relaxing to learn, play, and record.

The lyrics, like the song, are deceptively simple.  There are some great lines here — “When people ask me what I’m doing with my life, I say, ‘It’s up in the air'” and “I’m hearing from friends; it’s that tired, old advice again: ‘You just cannot keep floating all around; oh, you got to get your feet back on the ground.'”

I can’t understate how well this song encapsulated the feel of the film and of the other excellent music chosen for the soundtrack.  The Up in the Air soundtrack includes one of my favorite Elliott Smith songs, “Angel in the Snow” (from the New Moon posthumous release), a couple of cool Graham Nash songs (one with Crosby and Stills, one solo demo), and Dan Auerbach’s “Goin’ Home” (from Keep It Hid, my pick for the #10 best rock album of 2009).

So, that’s the story behind “Up in the Air.”  Once I’ve finished posting this session, I’m off to grade some senior papers before dinner, and then I have two things I’m looking very much forward to.  The first is watching — and yes, your nerd-o-meters are about to go crazy — Star Trek: Voyager with Nicole.  I haven’t watched Voyager for YEARS, not since I watched from the sixth season or so on with my mother.  Every week, we’d meet and watch that show until it went off the air.  And I loved it!  But I never thought to go back, so that’s been my recent television indulgence.

In music-related “news,” the second activity I’m looking forward to tonight is finally being able to relax and read the booklet to the posthumous Jimi Hendrix collection First Rays of the New Rising Sun.  I unfortunately had to return a Christmas present, and although I put it off for weeks, I finally exchanged it last Friday for this Hendrix CD.  I’ve been mildly interested in it for a few years, but I wasn’t sure what it would be like.  I’m generally of the opinion that the overall consistency and quality of Hendrix’s albums started at near-perfection with Are You Experienced? (1967) and declined from there, particularly on Electric Ladyland (1968).  That’s not to say that he didn’t make some tremendous, outstanding music after his debut album — “Wait Until Tomorrow,” “Castles Made of Sand,” “Bold as Love,” “Crosstown Traffic,” and his cover of “All Along the Watchtower” — but the second and third albums themselves just weren’t as tight or compelling as the first.

Let me tell you: it’s a SHAME that Hendrix never finished First Rays of the New Rising Sun.  Even as a 17 track collection compiled “under the direct supervision of the Hendrix family,” this disc is easily the best, most dynamic work he released after Are You Experienced? Given the time, Hendrix may very well have topped even that.  Anyone who owns the greatest hits collection Experience Hendrix already knows the rocking “Freedom,” the jaw-droppingly beautiful “Angel,” and “Dolly Dagger.”  If you like those tracks, you should check this out as well, especially for great work like “Night Bird Flying,” “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun),” and “In From the Storm.”  Great stuff indeed.

Well, that about does it for me this week.  Of course, you should hurry back every day of this week for fun new material — you can bank on another full Laptop Session, a three-part “Yes, No, Maybe So, Retro” series, a Guest Session of a great Buddy Holly song, and an all-new Weekend Review.  Don’t miss any of these great music-related posts — you’re only going to find them here…

See you next session!

“Broken” (Jack Johnson Cover music video)

Originally posted 2009-11-02 23:51:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Jack Johnson chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

The best part about contributing to this blog is that, every so often, all the pieces fall together at just the right time.  For example, I still have the remnants of a cough that just doesn’t seem to want to leave me entirely, yet I really wanted to record a new video for tonight.  Meanwhile, over the weekend, I was listening to Jack Johnson on shuffle when this song — “Broken” from his Sing-a-Longs and Lullabies from Curious George soundtrack CD — and immediately felt the urge to learn and record it.

Fortunately, the register is fairly low and the chords are very simple, so this was a joy to lay down as a session.

Of course, every cover song music video is not without its challenges when it involves me…

The only difficult aspect of this song is that, although I’ve heard it dozens of times and could sing along to the chorus in my sleep, I really don’t know the verse.  Thus, I put “Broken” on repeat in my car on the way home.  After listening to it seven or eight times straight, I didn’t seem to be much closer to nailing the lyrics.  Still, I soldiered on — I typed up the lyrics from the booklet and practiced a few times to the music.  Finally, I practiced a few times on my own before I hit the “record” button.

And, a few takes later, you have a session to watch!

The reason I was listening to Jack Johnson in the first place was that Mike showed Jim and I his copy of En Concert, the new live CD/DVD, this past Thursday at wrestling.  Based on my disappointment at his last record, I hadn’t purchased the CD myself, but Mike had nothing but great things to say about it, so it’s only a matter of time before I find my way back to the “J” section of my local Newbury Comics store…

Speaking of new music, I am wildly curious about tomorrow’s new Weezer release.  The title alone has caused some controversy.  Based on a recommendation from The Office actor Rainn Wilson (who plays Dwight Schrute), Rivers Cuomo and company titled their latest studio album Raditude.  I’ve heard the first track, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” and it may be cheesy, but it sounds great and it’s fun to listen to.  That being said, the other titles on the album alone are enough to make one question what Raditude will be like — tracks like “I’m Your Daddy” and “Girl Got Hot.”

All I will say for now is that The Red Album seemed very weird at first, and it quickly grew on me.  I was just listening to it this weekend, in fact, and realizing that it is truly one of my favorite Weezer releases.  I can’t imagine that this new album will be up to that level, but I have promised myself that I will reserve judgment until after I’ve heard it a few times.  Based on their incredible catalog alone, Weezer really does deserve the benefit of the doubt.

More on that next time…

And that about does it for me, at least for now.  This week is crazy for me, as my grades are due this Friday.  In addition, I have meetings today and now Thursday, a full day of professional development (i.e. no time to grade) tomorrow, and I’m monitoring the selling of tickets at the drama production on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Add in some wrestling on Thursday night and a whole lot a gradin’ goin’ on, and I’ve got one busy week!  I am looking forward to the weekend, as I’ll be completing a swap with my former student Geoff — some Ben Folds for some Tom Waits.  It’s bound to give me some more interesting listening and perhaps some more interesting Laptop Sessions songs…

See you next session!

“Younger Generation” by the Lovin’ Spoonful – Chords, Tabs, & How to Play

Originally posted 2009-11-23 12:00:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

To see how it’s played in the cover song music video, CLICK HERE!

“Younger Generation”
The Lovin’ Spoonful

Cmaj7                                                   Dm7
Why must every generation think their folks are square?
Dm7     G7                                                            Cmaj7
And no matter where their heads are, they know Mom’s ain’t there…
‘Cause I swore when I was small that I’d remember when
I knew what’s wrong with them that I was smaller then.

Cmaj7                                          Dm7
Determined to remember all the cardinal rules,
Dm7  G7                                                 Cmaj7
Like sun showers are legal grounds for cutting school.
Cmaj7                                       Dm7
I know I have forgotten maybe one or two,
Dm7                       G7                Cmaj7
And I hope that I recall them all before the baby’s due
Dm7                              G7              Cmaj7
And I know he’ll have a question or two.

Cmaj7   F      G            C                 Am
Like,    “Hey, Pop, can I go ride my zoom?
Am      F                   G7                     C                     Am
It goes two hundred miles an hour suspended on balloons.
Am   F               G                    C                       Am
And can I put a droplet of this new stuff on my tongue,
Am    Dm                                                 D7
And imagine frothing dragons while you sit and wreck your lungs?”
C                                            Am                                                G
And I must be permissive, understanding of the younger generation

Cmaj7                                                 Dm7
Then I’ll know that all I’ve learned my kid assumes,
Dm7  G7                                             Cmaj7
And   all my deepest worries must be his cartoons.
Cmaj7                                       Dm7
And still I’ll try to tell him all the things I’ve done
Dm7                   G7                     Cmaj7
Related to what he can do when he becomes a man,
Dm7                           G7                Cmaj7
And still he’ll stick his fingers in the fan.

And, “Hey, Pop, my girlfriend’s only three.
She’s got her own videophone and she’s taking L.S.D.,
And now that we’re best friends she wants to give a bit to me.
But what’s the matter, Daddy?  How come you’re turning green?
F                                                           G
Can it be that you can’t live up to your dreams?

** These chords and lyrics are interpretations and transcriptions, respectively, and are the sole property of the copyright holder(s). They are posted on this website free of charge for no profit for the purpose of study and commentary, as allowed for under the “fair use” provision of U.S. copyright law, and should only be used for such personal and/or academic work. **

“Good Times” (Marcy Playground Cover)

Originally posted 2009-08-05 00:06:09. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Marcy Playground chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to the second installment of a double header here at the Laptop Sessions, two sessions in honor of Marcy Playground singles, both past and present. Tonight I’m standing in for Jim, who’s away for one more week on his honeymoon. I can only imagine what kinds of photos and songs he’ll bring back with him from his exotic — yet domestic — locale for next week’s Jim Fusco Tuesday.  Don’t miss it!

My cover song music video tonight is from Marcy Playground’s latest album, Leaving Wonderland… in a fit of rage, just released last month. “Good Times” is a song about accepting whatever difficulty or hardship you may face and moving on from there.  He invokes the classic phrases, “It’s all right” and “This too shall pass,” and although the lyrics are extremely simple, “Good Times” has a Jack Johnson-esque feel-good vibe to it and I enjoyed playing it.

My one hesitation in endorsing this as a great track is that lead singer John Wozniak refers to himself twice in the song.  (I tried inserting my name into my version, but it just didn’t feel right…)  In the first bridge, he refers to himself both as “Woz” and “John.”  Initially, this was distracting for me.  Then I realized, after playing it over and over again before recording my session today, that his personal reference works in the context of the song as a whole.  In the first half of the song, he’s essentially singing a song about and for himself.  By the end of the song, however, he refers much more generally and universally, inviting all people to join him in appreciating the “good times” and dealing positively with the bad.

Right about now, I think all three core members of the Laptop Sessions are enjoying the good times.  After all, Jim is on his honeymoon and Jeff and I are on summer break from school.  Sure, life is always going to be busy for guys like ourselves who are constantly working and writing and playing, but that only makes our leisure time all the more enjoyable and relaxing.

Speaking of free time, I’m off to do laundry and vacuum!

Seriously, though, I hope you’ll come back soon for all-new sessions, starting with Jeff’s “Thumpin’ Thursday.”  As for me, I’m picking up some real creative steam now that the moving process is complete and the summer is in full swing.  I’m working on finishing my third poetry book (FINALLY!), a couple novels (which translates to a lot of writing, jumping back and forth, and thus a very slow process), and songwriting for my next album (I’ve written eight songs in the past three weeks that I’m very proud of — I think some of these are the best songs I’ve ever written, and I’m anxious to find a way to translate them to tape or, in this day and age, to computer).

This all adds up to some great new updates by the fall and some new Original Wednesdays for me in the near future.  For now, though, if you’re interested in hearing what my new material sounds like, you can check out a file that I “tweeted” a few weeks ago: CLICK HERE.  The song is called “Work Time, Get In Line,” and it’s a taste of what it sounds like when I tinker around with GarageBand, my MacBook’s built-in mic, and my Fender acoustic guitar.

See you next session!