Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Week 1: Business As Usual

It was business as usual today at lunch. I've got most of "Pennies From Heaven" down - just need to work on the last 12 or so bars because it varies at that point from the rest of the song. There's this really wacky chord, F#9.

Here's a diagram of the F9 chord. So, for an F#9 you'd just move the whole shape up a fret.

Apparently the F9 is Lyle Ritz's favourite chord shape. This is such a coincidence because I was just reading about "Tonight You Belong To Me" and apparently in the scene where Steve Martin is playing the song - it was actually Lyle Ritz playing and dubbed in!

If you don't know who Lyle Ritz is, first slap your hand, then have a taste of this.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Week 1: Major Breakthrough!

I made a major breakthrough on that Cdim7 from Pennies From Heaven today at lunch. I'm starting to feel like I have the opening progression down pretty good.

I just realized that I started this project on a Thursday so I'm going to use this coming weekend as the "end of my first week" - then I'll record and post for Monday.

I've had so many tunes in my head thinking about which one to choose for next week. I'm toying between Tonight You Belong To Me, San Francisco Bay Blues or some Avett Brothers' number. But, I'm sure I'll be tempted by a hundred others before the weekend is up.

Here's Tonight You Belong To Me with the master himself on Uke!
Man, it's such a beautiful song.

Here's Ramblin' Jack Elliott with San Francisco Bay Blues from Pete Seeger's show...woah, now that was quality TV!

I forgot to post this earlier but here's the lead sheet for Pennies From Heaven.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Week 1: Avett Brothers

Man, I'm really digging the Avett Brothers these days. I just can't seem to get enough of them. I might have to pick one of their numbers for next week's tune.

Here's a three tune set they did at NPR.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Week 1 - Pennies From Heaven

I know this tune from the Steve Martin film. It's a jazz standard written in 1936 by Arthur Johnston (music) and Johnny Burke (lyrics). I'm not sure what else they've written together but I'm gonna have a look 'cause I really dig this song. It was first popped by Bing Crosby in the film Pennies From Heaven. Of course, it's been covered a million times by such luminaries as Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Big Joe Turner, Frank Sinatra (one of my favourite versions), Dean Martin...the list goes on.

Here's old blue eyes himself. Don't feel too bad for him when he blows the end - he's still the Chairman of the Board. Don't ever forget that.

The idea to do this tune came from watching Ukulele Mike teach it on his YouTube channel MusicTeacher2009. He does a great job teaching it. Of course, it has that damn Cdim7 chord. I don't know why that shape gives me so much trouble. I mean, it's just a D shape with the pinky thrown in but it messes with my mind for some reason. Today at lunch I played the following progression over and over for about 30 minutes: A, Bm7, C#m7, Cdim7, Bm7, E7, Bm7, E7. By the end I was sort of nailing the Cdim7, it felt pretty damn good.