Tag Archives: Nick Drake

Heaven Adores You

So I went to see the Elliott Smith movie, ‘Heaven Adores You’. I don’t like the title. I think Elliott used the word heaven in his awesome, wry way on St. Ides Heaven not in some I-feel-warm-and-I-love and miss you way (as the movie intended). St Ides, for those who don’t know, is a cheap beer. The line to the SVA Theatre wrapped around the block and I stood in line with a nice couple. We struck up a conversation about Elliott, I had seen him on four separate occasions. The dude apologetically said he got into his music after he died. My feeling about this is this, it’s the music. I got into Nick Drake after he died after I had heard ‘Pink Moon’ on a Volkswagen commercial. I think what people object to is the introduction to the music by way of the news of the death which …yes that’s macabre but ultimately it’s the music that matters. The premise of ‘hipster’ being a dirty word is based largely on the attitude of “I knew about this awesome artist/product/book/artisanal pencil sharpener before anybody else!” as though discovery connotes sole proprietor-ship. I don’t feel that way. When I discover great music I want to share it not crow about when I heard it. So the movie was really a light tribute to Elliott and his music and particularly his scene in Portland, OR before being nominated for an Oscar and the years following leading up to his death. A lot of friends and musicians who worked with him are in the film with nothing but good things to say which I would expect no less but it leaves me a little hollow…his songs are deeper and darker than that and therefore present a fuller picture of his person than warm remembrances. A more interesting moment in the film is when an ex-girlfriend mentions that his songs became more autobiographical and pointed and personal as he descended into his drug involvement. Noticeably absent from the film are Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss (from the righteous band Quasi). They had toured with Elliott and I get the sense they were close friends. Maybe his death was still too close for them to partake in the filmmakers (Nikolas Dylan Rossi) venture. All in all I still recommend the film because I’m still a fan of his music and there are oddball recordings from his highschool days in it!! hahahahahaha Have a great day! xo -p
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The Philip Lynch Band is next performing Tuesday December 23rd @ 7PM Piano’s 158 Ludlow Street NYC shake off the consumerism blues and get on down!!

Alternate Tunings

So a co-worker of mine, Ryan, has been taking guitar lessons from another co-worker of mine, Tom (http://rotaryclub.bandcamp.com/). Ryan swung by my desk one day and said something like “Hey man, what’s the deal with alternate tunings? Why do guitarists do that?”. My initial response was well you get deeper sounds and you can play chords which would otherwise be hard to form in the usual guitar E-A-D-G-B-E formation (strings low to high). Also alternate tunings make slide playing easier. Conceptually though I had to parse through what it means to change the tuning of ones guitar. Some favorite players of mine play in many various alternate tunings, John Fahey, Nick Drake, and Joni Mitchell. John Fahey’s choice of alternate tuning I can grasp easily since he was usually a solo performer performing instrumental tunes and other tunings add variety. It may test an audiences patience asking them to wait while moving from tuning to tuning but alternate tunings do offer very varied sounds. This is a link to his many various tunings:
http://johnfahey.com/TuningsPage.htm
And here’s, ‘On the Sunnyside of The Ocean’, in DGDGBD which is an open G chord:

Here’s Joni Mitchell playing ‘Just Like This Train’ in an open C, CGDFCE

I’m also including this version of ‘California’ with Joni on dulcimer because it’s amazing!

Here’s Nick Drake’s ‘Cello Song’ in (I think) DADGDF# (capo on 1st fret)

Bands use alternate tunings too! Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) uses open G quite a bit and apparently without a low e-string! Stephen Malkmus (Pavement) employs many various tunings. I use a couple on some of my songs. So, in short, I encourage all budding guitarists to de-tune and re-tune your guitars, it opens up sonic possibilities and chord voicings you might not have otherwise encountered!!

I’ll be on the cable access show Deprogramming Hour tonight at 12:30AM MNN4 or mnn.org after Boy Altar, tune in (get it?)!!
Have great listens this weekend and I’ll be more prompt with next weeks post! -p