This July 4th weekend marks five years since I rekindled my inner spark for music and began my journey of expressing my love through guitar. As I think back on all I have discovered and all I am planning to become through sound, I realized I have much to be grateful for this weekend.
Here is a sampling from the tapestry of American artists and the songs that have inspired me along the way.
In the months before I became clear on what I wanted to be through music, Ray LaMontagne’s “All the Wild Horses”, is the song that opened my eyes and heart to all that was possible. Let this song guide you to all that is wild within your soul and discover the magic that can happen.
Improvisation has offered me so much freedom in my playing over the last few years. My first taste started with a rendition of the Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong’s jazz number, “Duke’s Place”, by McCoy Tyner. In the spring of 2010, I had the chance to meet jazz pioneer Pat Matheny. His latest project really brings out his inner mad scientist and shows how much of an innovator he has been for the genre.
As much as I love to improvise, I am always drawn to lyrics I can sing. So, as I learn the chords that will give roots to “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”, “Heart of Gold” and “My Thanksgiving”, my heart is set on sharing the gratitude I have for these powerful lyrics, with an audience.
This spring, I finally got up the courage to play, and occasionally sing with an informal folk and bluegrass jam group. One of my favorites in our song book is a traditional gospel ballad made famous by Alison Krauss and Union Station in the movie “Brother Where Art Thou”.
As we dedicate the day to our stars and stripes, I would love to hear what others enjoy playing or singing to celebrate our nation’s rich musically history.
Happy Birthday America!