The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Show and Tell

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 12-03-2019, 02:20 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Coastal Washington State
Posts: 35,076
Default "American Tune" by Paul Simon (cover)



"American Tune" was released in 1973 on Paul Simon's 2nd solo album, "There Goes Rhymin' Simon."

This song is challenging to learn because it has chord changes on almost every syllable in the song, which is typical of church hymns. This song is inspired by the old church hymn "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded". J.S. Bach did the harmonization on this hymn, which explains why there are so many chord changes. The song certainly has a bit of a Bach sound to it, but modernized by Paul Simon's ideas. Certainly the bridge is all Paul Simon. So are all the lyrics, of course, and there are many harmonic modifications and melodic changes to the original hymn that Paul Simon used.

I had to work on this for a good week to 10 days to finally get the song memorized before I could do a decent job recording this. At first, I wondered if it was possible, but there are a couple of YouTube videos of Paul Simon playing this song live and he made it look so easy. I thought, well, Paul Simon is human... if he can do it...maybe I can.

Thanks for listening!

- Glenn
__________________
My You Tube Channel

Last edited by Glennwillow; 12-03-2019 at 02:35 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-03-2019, 02:53 PM
J.DrewPetersen J.DrewPetersen is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Southern Colorado
Posts: 215
Default

Real nice, and thanks for the background (along with some nice fingering close-ups!). That's MTV quality video there, kudos, Drew.
__________________
2020 CD "Warble"(instrumental) https://johndrewpetersen.bandcamp.com/
2017 CD "Faint But Visible" (instrumental): https://johndrewpetersen.bandcamp.com/
1996 CD "Cat's Pajamas": https://open.spotify.com/album/2U3C6wKaWmDKf9eBjYiWjd
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY3...w6Mc8J1GOpLzZQ
Blog: http://jdpmm.blogspot.com/
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-03-2019, 02:57 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Coastal Washington State
Posts: 35,076
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.DrewPetersen View Post
Real nice, and thanks for the background (along with some nice fingering close-ups!). That's MTV quality video there, kudos, Drew.
Hi Drew!

Thanks so much for your comments and for watching! You're welcome on the song background, and I very much appreciate your kind words on the video quality!

I always enjoy your videos, as well, Drew!

- Glenn
__________________
My You Tube Channel
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-03-2019, 04:48 PM
MrEd MrEd is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 673
Default

Very nice Glenn. I can't imagine singing & playing that song with a zillion chord changes. Thanks again for sharing your talents.

Mike
__________________
Godin Washburn Fender Epiphone Walden Blueridge Cordoba Lag

https://www.youtube.com/user/1953MrEd
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-03-2019, 05:18 PM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Central Connecticut, USA
Posts: 3,689
Default

Hi Glenn,

That was fantastic. I love Paul Simon’s music and American Tune is one of my favorites. That song is quite a handful and you nailed it. Bravo!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-03-2019, 05:48 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Coastal Washington State
Posts: 35,076
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrEd View Post
Very nice Glenn. I can't imagine singing & playing that song with a zillion chord changes. Thanks again for sharing your talents.

Mike
Hi Mike!

Thank you for the kind words and comments! Yes, a zillion chord changes is about right! I wondered how I was ever going to get it memorized and yet after a week of playing it two or three hours every day, it started to happen! I couldn't believe it!

I think I counted all the chord changes and it came out to something like 187 changes over the course of the song. Crazy Bach! Maybe he thought someone would be reading music and not have to remember the sequence of all those changes!

Thanks for the generous support here on Show & Tell Mike!

- Glenn
__________________
My You Tube Channel
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-03-2019, 05:57 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Coastal Washington State
Posts: 35,076
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by reeve21 View Post
Hi Glenn,

That was fantastic. I love Paul Simon’s music and American Tune is one of my favorites. That song is quite a handful and you nailed it. Bravo!
Thank you Bob!

I'm so pleased that you thought this came out well! I always appreciate your comments and knowing you are watching!

American Tune has been one of my favorite songs for a long time, too, but I never spent the time it would take to learn this. I somehow knew I was going to have to memorize this song to get the whole thing internalized. I tried to record this with music in front of me on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The image of the Mayflower made me think of Thanksgiving... But while I had the guitar part down, I did not have the vocal part down quite right. Joining the playing and singing together takes some kind of brain synthesis that I just did not have down a week ago. I knew it wasn't good enough after listening to a bunch of trial recordings so I kept practicing every day.

This one took a while, but I have to say, watching Paul Simon play this live was really an inspiration. He seems so relaxed and his voice sounds so good.

This first one is with his steel string F30 Guild:



This next one is with a classical guitar. He is so in the zone here...



- Glenn
__________________
My You Tube Channel
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-03-2019, 05:59 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Coastal Washington State
Posts: 35,076
Default

By the way, for those interested in learning this, Jerry's Guitar Bar does a very good job of teaching this song. He also provides a free download of the tab and a cheat sheet plus compressed videos at no charge.



- Glenn
__________________
My You Tube Channel
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-03-2019, 06:24 PM
islandguitar's Avatar
islandguitar islandguitar is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 3,412
Default

Wonderful, Glenn! I really appreciate your mentioning the work that goes into some of these 3+ minute tunes. We can get lulled into thinking you kinda just sat down and ripped it off, sometime after dinner and before dessert!!
This stuff takes time and your efforts are now rewarded!

It's a great song, but, like you, I never took in the chord changes required while doing the vocals.........brain working over time!!

Thanks for this.......just a great job....the Olson sounds delightful!

Happy December!
Fred
ps. caught this as the first tune on my new headphones which arrived today...nice way to break them in!! LOL!
__________________
1993 Bourgeois JOM
1967 Martin D12-20
2007 Vines Artisan- Cedar/Quilted Sapele
2014 Doerr Legacy- LS Redwood/Cocobolo
2013 Bamburg FSC- Carpathian/Macassar Ebony
2002 Flammang 000 12 fret- Adirondack/Honduran Mahogany


______________________________
www.soundcloud.com/island-guitar
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-03-2019, 07:12 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Coastal Washington State
Posts: 35,076
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by islandguitar View Post
Wonderful, Glenn! I really appreciate your mentioning the work that goes into some of these 3+ minute tunes. We can get lulled into thinking you kinda just sat down and ripped it off, sometime after dinner and before dessert!!
This stuff takes time and your efforts are now rewarded!

It's a great song, but, like you, I never took in the chord changes required while doing the vocals.........brain working over time!!

Thanks for this.......just a great job....the Olson sounds delightful!

Happy December!
Fred
ps. caught this as the first tune on my new headphones which arrived today...nice way to break them in!! LOL!
Hi Fred!

Oh cool! You got to use your new headphones to hear this video! How wonderful! I hope it sounded good.

I'm glad you liked the sound of the Olson, too. It has a nice, warm sound which I thought worked well for this song and its semi-classical character. Also, the Olson, with it's shallow neck, made all those fast chord changes just a little easier. I tried this on a bunch of guitars but I really thought the Olson worked well for my tastes. In the house I practiced this with my '67 Martin D-35 and it sounded good on that guitar, too. But it's quite a bit brighter, and in the end, I liked the slightly darker tone of the Olson.

I did have to work at this one! So I am very glad to have finally gotten a halfway decent take on this piece. I have always loved the way Paul Simon played and sang this.

Thanks very much for your thoughts, comments, and support Fred!

- Glenn
__________________
My You Tube Channel
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 12-03-2019, 08:09 PM
J-Doug J-Doug is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 5,164
Default

Awesome Glenn!
__________________
Doug, guitar player of variable quality for over 35 years.

Martin: 000-18MC, 000-28VS
Gibson: J-45 Standard, L-1 Blues Tribute, L-00 Vintage, J-185 Original
National: Triolian 12 Fret

My recordings
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 12-03-2019, 08:14 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Coastal Washington State
Posts: 35,076
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Doug View Post
Awesome Glenn!
Thank you Doug!

Nice of you to take the time to listen and comment! Thanks for the support!

- Glenn
__________________
My You Tube Channel
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 12-03-2019, 08:35 PM
Lkristians's Avatar
Lkristians Lkristians is online now
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mostly Palm Beach, FL; sometimes CT, USA
Posts: 2,581
Default

Glenn, can't wait to listen to this. I'm sitting here on the forum watching the nature channel with my wife and mother in law.( Pause here for laughter.) We've had a couple of margaritas. As soon as they go to bed, I'll be in head phone heaven and will give this a listen!
Can't wait!
LarryK
__________________
LarryK.
AGF Moderator
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 12-03-2019, 09:41 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Coastal Washington State
Posts: 35,076
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lkristians View Post
Glenn, can't wait to listen to this. I'm sitting here on the forum watching the nature channel with my wife and mother in law.( Pause here for laughter.) We've had a couple of margaritas. As soon as they go to bed, I'll be in head phone heaven and will give this a listen!
Can't wait!
LarryK
Thank you Larry!

I hope you like it! Thanks for your enthusiasm even before you listen!

Best Regards,
Glenn
__________________
My You Tube Channel
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 12-03-2019, 10:25 PM
TomB'sox's Avatar
TomB'sox TomB'sox is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Upstate Ny via Minnesota, soon heading to Texas
Posts: 8,859
Default

Well to further date myself, check out the a capella version of this song by The Starland Vocal Band (one hit wonders with Afternoon Delight). I saw them do it at a John Denver concert and it was fantastic.

Thanks Glenn for another great video

Here is a link if anyone is interested. https://video.search.yahoo.com/searc...7a&action=view
__________________
PS. I love guitars!
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Show and Tell

Thread Tools





All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:43 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=