Rogue River, House of Snow and new tunings

by on December 11th, 2010
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As songwriters it is easy to get stuck in ruts playing major and minor chords low on the neck of the guitar. Sometimes I feel like everything I come up with sounds like a song I’ve heard before or else one that I’ve already written. One way to free yourself from this is to try new tunings and the accompanying chord shapes that you experiment with. Suddenly the strings will have different relationships with each other and new melodies will present themselves.

Try this tuning DADF#BE: that is starting with the lowest string as a D and so on.

Here is a song I wrote this week using this tuning. It is not in finished form and for some reason only recorded in mono (right speaker) but I liked the take enough to publish it on YouTube. I’ve been getting into the habit of putting new songs on YouTube because you can’t share music files on sites like Facebook, but you can share links, and people seem more likely to click on something with a visual element. I just posted this yesterday, and already there has been nearly 40 views!

I set the song to photographs of the Rogue River here in Oregon. Some of the photos are mine taken from a trip we took this August down the Wild and Scenic section after obtaining some last minute permits.

A girl named Moon Walker from Missoula, MT, took the live shots of me playing at the Top Hat with the Portland Cello Project.

Still trying to decide if this is going to make it on to the album I’m recording pretty soon here. Here are the lyrics:

House of Snow

You took pictures of the sky at night
Winking eyes were streaks of light
By a northern riverside
Moonlight over river wide
Spring comes rushing through
Everytime that I’m with you
Floating down the Rogue
A world of green and gold

I have been seeing only winter scenes
Snow on late night TV screens
Tire tracks of our routines
Your arms around me in my dreams
Build us a house of snow
And promise not to go
Till it flies up in the breeze
Or melts into spring’s streams

We have sewn together lonely pasts
And finally smashed the hour glass
Sealed our lips about the war
That once was worth dying for
Won’t you lay me down
Lay with me on this cold ground
Under canvas eaves
And a thousand tiny moon beams

Build us a house of snow
And promise not to go.

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Categories: Outdoor Inspiration, Songwriting Craft

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