Song of the Day: A Lot Like Magic – Josh Rouse

Well, I was cleaning off one of my counters this morning, all the paper and junk mail had piled up. And as I was sorting what I needed to keep from the rubbage, there it was: the hand written lyric sheet for “A Lot Like Magic” that Josh had mailed me last fall. Now, to be fair, I don’t know Josh, but he had been doing these “StageIt” shows on the internet in which audience members could participate as well as donate to the artist. And the highest bidder won a hand written signed lyric sheet. So there it is.

I’d been meaning to get this song down. The first time I heard it, it blew me away. I was like “Damn, that chorus is as good as Van Morrison!” The music, the words, the theme of the song, everything attracted me. But I couldn’t pick out the chords by ear. Then by chance, in March, when Josh was at SxSW, Rhapsody filmed him singing this very tune. I love the production and the sound quality of the video, and what’s even better, most of the video shows his chord frettings, enough that I could pick out the entire arrangement with each chord.

If you’re wanting to learn to play this, then this Rhapsody Video should be all you need:

As you can see from the video, he puts a capo on the fifth fret. The song starts out with a Bm shape. The opening riff, which is the same as most of the verse is: Bm – F#m – G – A – D (That’s not transposed up 5 half steps like it should be. I’m just thinking of the open names for these shapes.) There is one little twist in the verse: On the third line the progression switches to: G – A – G – A – Bm. The Chorus progression is: Em – A – Dmaj7 – Gmaj7 – Em – A – Bm – A. On the solo part it’s almost exactly the chords of the chorus, except it begins on the Gmaj7. So it’s like Gmaj7 – A – Dmaj7 – Gmaj7 – A – Bm – A. You can pick it up pretty fast from that video.

Since I took the time to type out the lyrics (Josh’s handwriting isn’t very legible) I’ll go ahead and publish them:

Lyrics for “A Lot Like Magic” by Josh Rouse from The Happiness Waltz album.

Well I met a man and he gave me advice
I didn’t want it at first then I said alright.
He said you live each day like a very last one
So I took that line and I wrote this song
And he said:

Chorus:

It’s all in the air it’s a lot like magic
We make do with the best that we have
You sit still or you roam something’s bound to happen
So I just shook his hand, forgot about my plans…

So I rode my bike up to Sycamore Hill
I thought long I thought hard on the right way to live
I had a lot of fun with a long legged girl
And we threw our arms ‘round this humdrum world

Chorus:

Forget about those plans, the future’s here a last…

Solo Bars (Over Chorus Chords)

Yeah, the days turn to months and the months into years
My children have grown and I’m still standing here
I still live each day like a very last one
I rise with the birds and I set with the Sun

Chorus

Forget about those plans, forget about those plans…

A few bars of Chorus progression end it out, and finally it end on a slow melody line over the G and A chord.

 

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