Since upgrading my music recording process from the iPhone to a professional microphone and software, I’ve started making music videos illustrated with photos from Shutterstock. This enables me to continue posting songs on my YouTube Channel.
Lately, I’ve been learning songs the way the artist plays them courtesy of my good friend and tutor, JerrysGuitarBar.com. All of these songs are posted on my other blog: davidgittlin.net.
If you are a child of the 1960’s/70’s, then you’ve probably heard of Don McLean’s memorable hit song, “And I Love You So.” What you may not know is that the song was widely covered by other recording artists, most notably Elvis Presley and Perry Como. Yes, I said Perry Como. In a career that spanned decades, Don McLean wrote and recorded twenty-two studio albums, four live albums, and 16 singles. He is best known for his song and album of the same name, “American Pie.” It took the better part of three weeks to master this song, but I enjoyed learning it. The ballad has some beautiful riffs in it. Here is my version of McLean’s hit.
In 1964, Gordon Lightfoot wrote one of his most memorable songs: Early Morning Rain. Lightfoot, a Canadian singer-songwriter, has become a folk legend. Along with his crystal clear singing voice and accomplished guitar playing, Lightfoot has written a library of outstanding folk songs depicting historical events and all manner of love relationships.
To single out a smattering of Lightfoot’s top hits is to do the man an injustice. “Early Morning Rain” appears on his 1966 debut album, Lightfoot! Before he released the song, another Canadian duo, Ian and Sylvia, recorded it in 1964. Many other folk singing notables (Peter, Paul, and Mary) also adopted the song.
The genesis of “Early Morning Rain” can be traced to Gordon’s 1960 stay in Westlake, Los Angeles. At the time, Lightfoot became homesick for his Canadian roots. He remembers going to the Los Angeles International Airport on rainy days to watch the aircraft take-off and land. The memories of the flights launching into the overcast skies stayed with him. In 1964, while caring for his 5-month-old son, Lightfoot remembers thinking, “I’ll put him over here in his crib, and I’ll write myself a tune.” At that moment, “Early Morning Rain” was born.
I’ve always loved this song. Lightfoot strums it. When I heard Eva Cassidy perform the song using a picking technique, I had to learn it her way. Unfortunately, there were no guitar tutorials available. Since Eva plays “Early Morning Rain” close to her version of “Kathy’s Song,” I was able to figure out how to play EMR three-quarters of the way she does. Here’s my version.
Take the next step that’s in your wheelhouse. This is the path to your success. Don’t overreach. Falling off a cliff is no fun.