On November 24, 2001, I went to my home studio, turned on the recorder, and spent the evening playing. I had rediscovered a special low Nashville tuning that I had worked with many years ago (on the tune "The Search") and applied it to a recently acquired baritone guitar.
The combination of this wonderful new instrument (made by Canadian luthier Linda Manzer) and this unusual tuning not only made some different things possible harmonically, but challenged me to think about ways of playing that I wouldn't have normally thought to go.
I found and settled into a very specific mood of simple, mostly quiet playing, really just for myself. Listening back to that recording over the next year of touring, I realized that I had inadvertently started on the road to doing something that had been lingering in the back of my mind for some timc to one day think about making a whole record with one single guitar, no overdubs or extra parts; to do a totally solo acoustic guitar record-in this case, on the baritone guitar.
In late 2002, after the tour was over, I chose a couple of my all-time favorite songs ("My Song" and "Ferry Cross The Mersey") and a more recent one ("Don't Know Why"), plus a piece that I had performed solo each night of the tour on the baritone ("Last Train Home") and recorded them the same way-at home-to go along with those initial improvised pieces. Finally, with the addition of two new compositions ("Song For The Boys" and "Over On 4 Street"), this collection seemed complete. .
Unlike most of our recordings that have involved lots of planning and sophisticated recording studios, this one started and ended with just a single guitar and a mic. This record is about essentially one sound, basically one mood, and taking the time to go deep inside that single world.
I also feel obliged to add that the results here are also technically somewhat homemadc there are occasional flaws in the tuning and the recording itself-it was intended for nothing more than my own research and the pleasure of playing at home one night.
But at the same time, these recordings have offered a window into a way of thinking about music that I honestly found myself drawn to on that evening, a way that continues to fascinate me in the subsequent time I have spent with this guitar and tuning.
Also, I have broached a subject that I had only occasionally addressed and hope to continue to pursue on occasion, possibly with different guitars-the unique and challenging world of solo guitar playing. I hope this documentation of those moments will offer some peace and enjoyment.
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