Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The Carolan Guitar Songs

So, fans of the Carolan Guitar, did you ever wonder about the finished products?

As you all know (of course), one of last year's projects was test driving the Carolan Guitar - I caught it for a week or so, before it travelled to the US, and then on its way to France. These intensive days produced a bunch of recordings, videos and even prompted the resurrection of this blog!

As you may remember, I also started off  writing two songs on that curiously carved semi-acoustic guitar. The first was an unfinished instrumental which ended up with the title Judith. I posted the primary results in the hope that someone would pick it up and finish it. Nobody ever did, so I simply reclaimed it.

To hear the original demo, played, in part, on the Carolan Guitar, go here.

I added more and more overdubs, removed some of the tracks (so much, that in the end *none* of the original ones were used!), added some vocals, wend mad on the drums, and knitted a giant guitar riff together. A very convoluted process, that, surprisingly, ended up sounding very loose and live (played to a virtual audience only). I was basically making up this song on tape.

Have a listen:

Sometime later, when I had a Boss drum-machine running, while fooling around on the piano, I returned to that same song. I stumbled upon a piano-based arrangement, focusing on a left hand bass-riff. Then I added several layers of of trumpets and brass (on synth), bass and electric guitar, more drums and vocals. The results were quite poppy and commercial:

How different from the previous, gritty guitar version!

But these songs were just playing around. The real Carolan Guitar song, written deliberately on that instrument was Shut This Door - a deeply sad lament that goes one or two steps too far. In the finished version (played on my regular Cimar acoustic guitar, I'm afraid), I share vocals with Claire. Chambo plays a Nick Drake-like guitar intermezzo (that pushes the song's protagonist over the edge):

And that's a nice little CD single for the twenty-first century.

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