Ukulele post: I’ll be your song

This song is a whole cornfield & I can’t help but stan.

I’m good at love songs. \m/

From Heart’s “Dreamboat Annie,” “(Love Me Like Music) I’ll Be Your Song” is a sweet ballad that happens to use the right chords as I continue my quest to throw as many C major songs as possible at D.

The original notation I found used in Bb the last line of the chorus — which I think may actually be there in the second chorus when you repeat the line — however for our uses I’m going to sub in Bdim7.

Bb is a lot more comfortable for my spindly alien fingers, but the dim7 chord fits better to my ear on initial playthroughs. The Bb is more drama & def feels like spice for the last chorus.

Also, I subbed in Dm for the D & it rings right to me.

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Ukulele post — One Tin Soldier

Something, something, my approach to new mediums/instruments…

I’ve been trying to pull anyone & everyone who will listen into playing ukulele with me. It’s probably one of the most accessible instruments — with decent quality ukes priced around $100 & what I’d consider a more compact & easy to use fretboard compared to guitar & bass (as someone who plays all three instruments).

I also feel like if you’re creating work in any other medium, diving into music is not just fun but another chance to be inspired & connect with art.

I’m going to spare the extended sales pitch, but if you’re interested, I post bits of things on my Instagram & post here from time to time. I recently posted a short clip that included chords in the key of C major. The next step was finding some music that utilized those chords.

Easy enough, Kate Rusby’s version of “Blooming Heather” is a perfect spring song, Hole’s “Petals” also has the spring vibe. Then there’s “Love Me Like Music I’ll Be Your Song” from Heart’s “Dreamboat Annie” album (prob one of my all time favorite albums) and “Just Say” by Fastbacks. & I will get to those songs…

But what I landed on for my first song using these chords is “One Tin Soldier” by Coven, which happens to be the theme to the 1971 film “Billy Jack.” Why would I go at this first even though there’s a key change & it’s not even particularly springy?

I’m actually working through these with fam I’m trying to get started on ukulele & she happens to be living with my parents during this quarantine period. This is relevant because “Billy Jack” is my mom’s favorite movie & “One Tin Soldier” is one of her favorite songs. So, I’m admittedly using my influence to get D into something my mom will definitely appreciate. 🙂

So, let’s get this laid out…

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Ukulele serenade series: “I Wasn’t Prepared”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

This shall be the last shout into this particular void.

For me this song has the same vibe as Faith No More’s “From Out of Nowhere” or KMFDM’s “Oh My Goth,” but adapts easily to a simple ukulele/voice set up.

It’s the wanting that draws me in & makes “I Wasn’t Prepared” perfect as my final selection for this series.

Off of Eisley’s 2005 release “Room Noises,” “I Wasn’t Prepared” can be played with a few chords and sounds beautiful with a sparse arrangement.

The vocals are a little challenging — probably more fitting for folx working with a soprano range — but there’s a lot of fun to be had in the attempt.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

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Ukulele serenade series: “Gunning Down Romance”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

As far as ’90s pop is concerned, Savage Garden did a lot of things right. Yes, there were some really bad aspects to ’90s pop music, but for the most part, I found the music that came from the Australian duo genuine and palatable.

“Love feels good and I want it pumped directly into my veins but ALSO FUCK THE UNIVERSE WHY AM I AN ANXIETY APE?”

Although this moody number off of 1999’s Affirmation is not my typical jam, it’s stuck with me for several reasons.

Lyrically, the song marries an aching sense of longing with an underlying feeling of existential dread — it’s skillful, deliberate, and effective. Love is science and we are needlessly complicated monkeys AND GODDAMN IT I WANT IT ANYWAY.

With a few minor adjustments, it’s a very comfortable song to sing for mezzo (second soprano) and alto voices.

The notation I based my version on had a few problems and I ended up cutting quite a bit out because it wasn’t working elegantly with the pared down uke/voice set-up I was envisioning. But I had a lot of fun messing around with it.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Gunning Down Romance”

Ukulele serenade series: “Just Say”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

As a native Pacific Northwesterner, I grew up aware of “The Seattle Sound.” Even though I was cast off in rural Eastern Washington and decades younger than most of the “grunge” movement’s key players, once I hit middle school, I was eager to dive in.

It’s hard liking stuff when it seems everyone else likes things.

I learned what I could through back issues of zines and blogs written by fans and soon realized that the scene was huge and included outstanding bands of all different genres. Some of the best pop and pop-punk music came out of Seattle in the 90s including a 1996 album called “New Mansions in Sound” by Fastbacks.

“Just Say” comes from “New Mansions…,” an anthemic single that made loneliness feel catchy. I pulled this song for my serenade selections because it’s fun to play and so goddamn relatable — and I thought it might bring some comfort to other folks who always seem to be the wrong number.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

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Ukulele serenade series: “Navigate the Seas of the Sun”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

If you know the name Bruce Dickinson, you’re likely either aware of his role as lead singer of the legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden or you’ve come across the name while consuming quirky paranormal films and documentaries.

Yes, Dickinson is metal af, but the ballads on his solo albums are legendary.

Less often do I speak with folks who are actually aware of the breadth of Dickinson’s solo albums. The solo albums were less traditional NWOBHM genre-wise, granting the singer — known for his signature style of super on-key hollering — a chance to show off a softer side in ballads like “Tears of the Dragon,” “Omega,” “Man of Sorrow,” and “Arc of Space.”

My fourth serenade selection is among those masterful ballads, “Navigate the Seas of the Sun” off of 2005’s “Tyranny of Souls.”

In some respects, “Navigate…” belongs on a soundtrack to a quirky paranormal film — with lyrics exploring the idea of connections continuing across lifetimes and generations. Yet at its core, it’s a beautiful song that translates well to ukulele. So, I trimmed it up — a lot — and tried to arrange it in a way that’s manageable for a beginner ukulele player.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

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Ukulele serenade series: “Call Me a Dog”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

Feel like you don’t measure up? I’ve got the song for you.

“Call Me a Dog” is a bluesy ballad off of Temple of the Dog’s 1991 self titled album. The lyrics flirt with feelings of inadequacy in a relationship while maintaining a bit of soft wonder toward the connection.

The song is incredibly relatable to anyone that feels at a disadvantage with someone close to their heart and it’s classic Chris Cornell vocal style so it’s rough and beautiful and absolutely amazing.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

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Ukulele serenade series: “Coming Right Along”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

Nobody takes this shit seriously.

Love is complicated and capitalism sucks. So obviously, Valentines Day can be a lot of complicated suckitude. And I’m here to give a voice to that feeling as well.

I selected this song because it’s simple, beautiful, and relatable. It’s off The Posies’ 1993 album “Frosting on the Beater.”

And while you may not be serenading a lover with this tune, it may provide you a method of catharsis over this overhyped, cash-horny holiday.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

Alright, let’s get into the chords.

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Ukulele serenade series: “Miss You In a Heartbeat”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

My version of romantic vibes, which is one of many reasons why I’m entirely unqualified for this.

When I made the decision to include “Miss You in a Heartbeat” in this series I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at myself. But I wanted to give potential players a sappy-ass love song they could learn quickly, and though I scoured my bookmarks for alternatives, nothing quite fit the bill like this Def Leppard ballad.

For our purposes, we’re going to cut it down a bit — you’ll find I’ll do that with a lot of these selections. I’m looking for quick, easy to practice pieces that an intro player could pick up in a few days.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Miss You In a Heartbeat”

Ukulele post: Tighter & Tighter

The first time I saw a Soundgarden video, I wasn’t supposed to see it.

It was the late ’90s & we still had a wooden box-style ’80s era TV that took up huge chunk of the living room in the drab-brown double-wide trailer I grew up in.

My parents went to bed early, so after 8 p.m. the living room was abandoned & the door to their bedroom was shut to keep our Miniature Schnauzer Doogie in & out of mischief. They had a TV in their room & slept with it on, allowing us to get away with a good amount of noise elsewhere in the house.

Later in the evening, my brother & I would sneak out of our rooms & meet in front of the TV in hopes of catching a rerun of Beavis & Butt-Head without dad’s head exploding. It was during one of those evenings when I first heard Soundgarden, drifting through the shrieking & cackling of the dumbass duo — “A black hole is like this giant bunghole in outer space…”

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