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 Liner Notes To "Guitar Voyages " by Harvey Reid

114 cover


CREDITS

Harvey Reid: 6-string ,12-string & slide guitars
Arrangements, Production, Engineering, Mixing, Mastering Harvey Reid
CD Mastering Dr. Toby Mountain, Northeastern Digital, Southboro, MA
Recording Woodpecker Studios, York, ME
No over-dubbing or multi-tracking was done. All tracks were played and recorded live with one guitar.
Gear

Recorded in 24-bit digital with Audio-Technica 4051 enhanced mikes, API 3124+ pre-amps, Apogee AD-8000 converter, MOTU 2408, and a Macintosh G4 450mz computer.
Strings Elixir Medium Gauge, D’Addario Medium gauge on 12-strings
Guitars (T)=1984 rosewood Taylor Model 810, serial #3086, (L)=1999 rosewood Larrivee model C-10 serial number #27236, (T12)=1988 Maple jumbo Taylor 12-string, serial #5460, (LK12)=1999 mahogany Taylor Leo Kottke model, serial #990409140, (D) Early 70’s metal-body round-neck Dobro, serial #0410, (D2)= 1996 round-neck Dobro Model 90 Deluxe, serial #B107696
Codes FP=fingerpicks, BF= bare finger, Esus = capo 2 on strings 3,4,5.
Design Type & Graphics Aphro Graphics, cover design by Eileen Healy
Cover art unknown steel engraving found in Parma, Italy
(*) A partial capo was used on the guitar on tracks 1,5,6,7,8,10,11,12,15. http://www.partialcapo.com
All selections © 2000 by Harvey Reid (Quahog Music, BMI) except #14
Complex solo guitar music rarely falls out of the sky, and usually must be constructed at considerable effort. But effort alone does not always yield what we strive for, and I offer thanks to the Muses, Gods, the Songbird, and the cold North Wind for the ideas, energy, and inspiration. I still don’t know where this stuff comes from, but I’m always humbly grateful for it. (HR)


About The Songs...
1- Racing The Storm (H. Reid) [4:46] This arose out of a fascination I have with traditional fiddle tunes, which are usually impossible to play on a guitar with the drive and life that fiddles give them. It started out as a jig, and gradually got weirder, with un-fiddle-like kicks and corners, to the point where I doubt this would sound good on a fiddle, or if anyone would even consider it a fiddle tune. You can’t really play it slowly or gently– it’s more like a race car that wants to go fast, and is hard to drive down city streets. It reminds me of hurrying to get somewhere when the storm has begun, and you are hoping you can make it wherever you are going before the weather gets too bad. FP. Esus-1. (T)(*) [Recorded 4/10/00]
2- The Lost Lullaby (H. Reid) [4:03] I found this in a box of old dusty reel-to-reel tapes I had been meaning to go through for years. It was dated 1984, and luckily it was labeled with the tuning, since I don’t play in this tuning much, and might have had trouble guessing it. It was weird learning something from myself as though it was on somebody else’s record. I had no recollection that the tune ever existed, and it barely made it from the Realm of Lost Songs into the physical world. (LK12) Open G-2. FP. [4/1/00]
3- French Quarter Concerto (H. Reid) [8:20] This one sets a record for length of time in an unfinished state. It first appeared when I was a street musician in Jackson Square in New Orleans in 1975, when I hitchhiked to Mardi Gras and stayed for a month. I have carried it around ever since in my head, never taping it, and never being able to finish it or forget it. There was a guy operating a jackhammer nearby, which made me feel like I was the orchestra and he was the soloist. I always referred to it as the “Jackhammer Concerto”, but it has earned a better name. I have fond memories of the French market coffee, grits & biscuits for breakfast, and a portrait painter I met there. I used to watch her paint while I played this, and she would listen to me play, which seemed like a perfect collaboration. It’s obviously meant to evoke baroque images and techniques. FP. Standard tuning-1. Capo 2. (T) [4/25/00]
4- Life Is Like A Mountain Railroad (Trad./arr. H. Reid) [3:10] It’s always a victory when you can make an effective instrumental out of a song, especially when you like the melody a lot more than the words. This one is credited as being a traditional gospel song. “Life is like a mountain railroad, with an engineer so brave, we must make the run successful, from the cradle to the grave...” Like a Christmas carol, the verses get progressively weirder. I suspect a nice melody like this must have come from an older song, but I don’t know which. I usually play with a glass slide, but for some reason a heavy brass one spoke to me. Slide guitar & gospel music have a mysterious relationship. BF. Open D (D2) [4/12/00]
5- Norway Suite: Part 1: The Waterfall (H. Reid) [4:21] Essentially an exercise in chromatic runs, bathed in the feeling of the haunting Norwegian hardanger fiddle. I can imagine this being played on one, since they play with more sustain and less speed than most Celtic fiddlers, due to the resonant drone strings. Most Irish fiddle music is too fast for guitar I think. There is a large trend today among guitarists away from the use of fingerpicks, but I know of no other way to get the same drive and attack. There are almost an infinite number of waterfalls in Norway, more than there are people, they say. (*)(L) Asus +3. FP. (L) [4/5/00]
6- Part 2: Across the Fjord (H. Reid) [3:03] Inspired by the amazing scenery around the fjord country, and a particularly blissful afternoon I spent playing guitar staring at the blue water and dramatic landscape. For some reason huge natural vistas make me think of slow airs and majestic, long notes. I should stop yearning for instruments like cellos, whistles and horns that can play those long, long notes, and remember that those instruments can’t play chords. (*)(L) Asus + capo 3. FP. [3/31/00]
7- Part 3: Farewell To Vikedal (H. Reid) [3:45] I wrote most of this while watching my friend Sten Olav cleaning up after an all-night party in our hotel room in Vikedal, Norway. (It only lasted a few hours, since the summer nights are so short.) I was exploring this tuning, with my bags packed, ready to leave, after playing at a folk festival there in 1999. My head was full of several days of Norwegian, Scottish & Irish traditional music. This is musically what would be called a “fiddle tune,” though I couldn’t tell you what dance rhythm it is. (*)(L) Asus +capo 3, FP. (*) [1/21/00]
8- Pegasus (H. Reid) [6:58] This approach to the 12-string I first developed in 1982, trying to play fiddle tunes using the split pairs of the 12-string like a chromatic banjo. The end result sounds more like a hammered dulcimer, whose sound I have envied for years. It requires a very controlled, yet very fast right hand attack, and takes some stamina to play this long. If you strike the octave pair (not too hard) from the treble side with a finger, you sound only the lower octave of the pair, and if you strike it with the thumb from the other side, you get the octave string. If you strike it harder from either side you sound both strings, which is a different sound than either of the 2 individual strings. (12) Asus-3. FP. (T12)(*) [4/9/00]
9- Uncloudy Day (Trad./arr. H. Reid) [3:16] This is a traditional gospel song whose melody has haunted me for years. I wanted to include an echo here of my years of playing old-time and bluegrass music, since you can’t always hear it in my music. Actually this arrangement owes more to blues and Joseph Spence style gospel fingerpicking, but only a hillbilly music fan would know the song. The chorus goes “I hear tell of an uncloudy day,” and I play it with the accent on “cloud,” though some singers accent the “un.” Some even sing “unclouded day.” My favorite version is an Ozark mountain dulcimer LP by the Simmons Family. I tried every tuning and technique I know, every guitar, and all kinds of flatpicks and fingerpicks, and finally settled on this sparse, barefinger version in Drop D tuning. (T) [4/29/00]


10- Scotland Suite: Part I: Requiem For The Last Minstrel (H. Reid) [9:57] The prelude to this piece came to me on the banks of the sea in southern Skye. I wrote a few tunes in this imitation-bagpipes style in the early 80’s when I first developed it, but it has been quite a while since a new one has arrived. The melody is played mostly on the high E-string, with a mixture of plucking, hammerings and pull-offs being done with both hands. The technique was inspired by the two-handed playing of Eddie van Halen and 80’s rock guitarists. I quit playing like this for a while because I got annoyed that everyone assumed I got the idea from Michael Hedges, whom I had not heard at the time I developed the technique. I also don’t think anyone else ever used two-handed techniques to play Celtic music. This is not the first time I have woven together strands from Celtic and Baroque influences, and something in me finds the drone bass of one and the counterpoint of the other to be a nice juxtaposition. I have a nice old edition of the Sir Walter Scott epic poem about the Last Minstrel. Minstrelsy was outlawed in the 1590’s by Queen Elizabeth I. (*)(L) BF. Esus -2. [3/10/00]
11- Part II: The Speyside Jig (H. Reid) [2:08] This snappy jig is played bare-finger, and ends up with a surprising amount of drive. (The left hand does a lot of the work.) Speyside is the region of Scotland that is home to many of the great single-malt Scotches. It’s tempting to offer a toast to them, but I’ll offer a tune instead. (L) Esus-2. BF. (*) [5/24/00]
12- Part III: The Hills of Torridon (H. Reid) [3:54] Written above the cliffs where the river Lealt meets the sea on the Scottish Isle of Skye. I was looking across the water at the staggeringly beautiful and mystical hills in the distance. I have never had such a strong feeling of being an antenna, of being surrounded by music in the land around me that I could pull in like a radio. This melody instantly leaped out of the air onto my guitar. I made a tape in my hotel that evening, and it has remained unchanged since then. I remember feeling that I understood why the ancient Celtic airs are so slow, and I remember telling myself to try not to forget that feeling. (L) Esus-2. BF. (*) [3/10/00]
13- Flüf’s Vacation (H. Reid) [3:01] I have never liked cats very much, until 1999, when an adorable little Maine coon cat named Flüf visited me for her summer vacation. Now I love at least one cat, which I hear is how you start liking more of them. Flüf is sort of a comedian among cats, and loves to sleep in open drawers and boxes, and can amuse herself with a paper bag for hours. She is a fine mouser too. This tune is based on the snap-string blues style of slide guitar playing, but I don’t think it employs the cliches or even really sounds like blues. (D1) Open Eb. BF. [1/31/00]
14- Miss The Mississippi (J. Rodgers) [3:15] During every recording project I work hard for months, often investing 50 or 100 hours on a single piece. There is always at least one unexpected song that knocks gently and I let it in, even though I had not planned to include it. The lyrics fit the theme of this project even if the music is different: “I am sad and weary, far away from home...” I have played a lot of blues in my life, and this hints at that, and that I know there is more to the world than the cold North where I live. I spent many years living in the South. I use capos and tunings a lot, and have not recorded much in A position, so here is a straight-ahead old chestnut, played in a “normal” guitar style. (L) BF. Standard-2. No capo. [4/28/00]
15- Skye Boat Song (Trad. /arr. H. Reid) [2:01] I have heard this song for years and just filed it away in my head, since it never worked for me as a guitar piece, and I am not the right guy to sing it. I heard a lone piper play it at sunset at Inverness castle in Scotland and it was both beautiful and a revelation about the melody. From then on I have thought of it as a pipe tune, with no real chords, just the drone and melody. This beautiful song has deep significance to the Scots, because it tells of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s escape from the British to the island of Skye, transported in a rowboat by a brave local woman named Flora MacDonald who risked certain death for helping him. (*)(L) Esus-2. BF. [3/10/00]



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