Categories
Audio Music

Song of the Day: The Western Isles by Josh Rouse

 

Update 05/22/13 : I just heard Josh do a live interview/ 3 song session on a Radio station in London. He did play this song, so I listened closely to the lyrics during the refrain/bridge part. Sounds like I got the “Black Greece Tea” part right. I guess there is such a thing as Black Greece tea. The second part I didn’t have right, but I could hear him clearly and it’s “Maybe we’ve been daydreaming.” 

I should warn you. Probably about 90% of these songs are going to be Josh Rouse. He’s been my favorite singer/songwriter for the last going on 7 years now. So I’ve spent a lot of time trying to pick out his chords and enjoying singing his songs. I really should try to broaden out my repertoire though. REM, Smiths, Replacements, Police, really just anytime I hear a song I like, I should at least take a crack at it. Can’t hurt.

Anyway today’s song: “The Western Isles” by Josh Rouse. It’s the 9th track off his most recent album “The Happiness Waltz.”

What made me pick it, was not only did I love the song, but something reminded me that it was a Google Play Music pick of the day a few weeks ago. That’s all I need. Plus I couldn’t get it out of my head.

First off what’s interesting about this song is that it is in the Key of A, but there’s never an A chord in the song. It starts out on a Dmaj7 then to an Emaj. The main riff kind of swings back in forth between those two chords, as well as the verse, with an F#m thrown in for an accent. Another interesting thing about this song: It has a bass driven riff. So, that’s one reason I sort of steered clear of it. I thought that within the context of me just playing with an acoustic, and maybe a harmonica, that I really couldn’t present that main riff motif. But I found that with an A harmonica, I can sort of imitate that bass riff, which itself is echoed, during the songs’ interludes, by a lovely sounding organ in the original recording.

Also, it’s one of those Josh songs where he sings something, I just can’t decipher, and apparently no one else can either, because when I did a lyric search, all the sites that have the lyrics for this song have a “?” by this same passage. The best I can decipher it, and you’ll know the part I’m talking about if you listen to the song, is “Cigarettes and black Greece tea.” Oh, speaking musically, this is on the refrain part of the song, which begins on an F#m, and then kind of stays on that chord with a half step down bass line F#-F-E-Eb- at which point when it arrives at the D it just goes into the D chord itself for the “Could we…” and the “feel at” is on top of the E chord, back to the D chord for “home”

On the second time that it does that refrain it repeats the passage with words I totally can’t understand. I mean the “Cigarettes and black Greece tea” sound like they almost could be right, or have a chance of being right, but this second passage, I just have make something up, which I know is wrong, but still work to get me through the song: “Maybe we’ve been patron leave.”

This leads me to a rant: Why is it so damn hard to get the lyrics and or liner notes to these albums nowadays?! It makes me crazy. Why doesn’t Josh and all the other acts publish these things on their websites or whatever? Damn, it’s frustrating.

Anyway, I’ll publishing the words as I’m doing them at this moment. Maybe these artists think that’s part of the fun of it, part of the “mystery” of being a Shamanesque type of figure. Maybe. Whatever.

 

The Western Isles by Josh Rouse from The Happiness Waltz

Verse 1:

All day, I can see the life from the western isles

Faded in white like a western smile

We could live here, you know.

Nobody’s saved, caught up in a life that is based on lies

Struggle and strife from the nights of fire

Just getting by, you know.

Refrain:

Cigarettes and black greece  tea…

could we feel at home?

Verse 2:

Far, far away,

I can hear the birds on western isles

Singing in the night like an ancient choir

‘Oh how I love you so’

Don’t worry baby,

You’ll be alright with the western smile

Maybe there’s a life on the western isles

In a few years or so.

Refrain #2:

Cigarettes and black green tea

maybe we’ve been daydreaming.

And we’re almost home (This is sort of a “Middle Eight” part where, instead of going back into that D chord, he uses the F#m with the walk down bass riff)

Almost home…

(And then back in into the Dmaj7-E back and forth for the ending lines to fade out and echo on.)

Headin’ for the western isles

We heading for the western isles

We heading for the western isles

We heading for the western isles

Oh where do we wanna go?

Oh where do we wanna go?

 

Categories
Audio Music

Chords and Lyrics for Julie (Come Out of the Rain) by Josh Rouse

JulieChordsYou capo the 4th fret to play these chords. Here’s a diagram of the chord voicings in this photo to the right. I included, at the bottom of the page, a video of him playing it live where I was able to catch the chords. For whatever reason, I couldn’t get them right by ear, and you’d almost think the video below wouldn’t help you because 90% of the time either it’s just a shot of Josh’s head or some audience dude’s head’s in the way! And really, now that I watch it again, it’s only towards the end, at about the 2:00 minute mark, after the solo, that you can get a decent look at his left hand, and that’s where I picked it up. Here’s a link to a PDF you can download:

JulieComeOutoftheRain (1)

Ebm
It’s cold in San Francisco
Ab       Abm
It’s California gray.
Ebm
One night on Telegraph Hill,
Ab              Abm
we kept the wolves at bay.
F#
I wrote you a long letter
Abm
Some things you can’t explain
B                            Ebm
Julie, come out of the rain
Abm
It’s cold and I can’t wait forever
B                               Ebm
Julie, if you want me to stay
Abm
Why don’t you show it?
Ebm
I called a taxi for ya’.
Ab                Abm
Your raincoat it was blue.
Ebm
Outside the wind was talkin’
Ab         Abm
of how I fell for you.
F#
You left your cigarettes and
Abm
a dozen other things
B                            Ebm
Julie, come out of the rain
Abm
It’s cold and I can’t wait forever
B                               Ebm
Julie, if you want me to stay
Abm
Why don’t you show it?
F#                       Abm
Gimme a smile and say,
A#m            B
Everything’s ok.
                 Ebm       Abm
Oh, oh, it’s California gray
Ebm         B
Oh, oh, it’s California gray..
(Musical interlude over the chords
of the previous Chorus)
Ebm
It’s cold in San Francisco.
Ab       Abm
It’s California gray.
Ebm
One night on Telegraph Hill,
Ab              Abm
we kept the wolves at bay.
B                             Ebm
Julie, come out of the rain
Abm
It’s cold and I can’t wait forever.
B                                Ebm
Julie, if you want me to stay
Abm
Why don’t you show it?
F#                       Abm
Gimme a smile and say,
A#m            B
Everything’s ok.
F#                         Abm
Look in my eyes and say
A#m            B
Everything’s ok…
Ebm       Abm
Oh, oh, it’s California gray
Ebm          B
Oh, oh, it’s California gray..

 

Here’s a cover version I did a couple weeks ago. Maybe I should have just aimed the camera at the fretboard, but I think you can probably see the chords pretty well as it is:

Categories
Audio Garageband Logic Music

Michigan

I recently made two different covers of the Josh Rouse song, “Michigan.” The first I made on the iPad with Garageband. I played the Spanish guitar and sang into the the little pinhole microphone. Then I added some “smart” instruments, bass, drums. So this one is done basically in “click” time, but I still think it came out sounding pretty good, considering the circumstances.

The second was done with more Professional mics and into Logic Pro on an iMac. I basically just played a steel acoustic and sang at the same time, no overdubs or click track. So it’s live and more natural.

So, two different sounds with the same song, but I kind of like them both for different reasons.

Now, if I could only do some of my own songs!

Categories
Audio Economics Investments Mobile Music Tech

Considering an Investment in Pandora ($P) in Light of Spotify, Rdio, and Songza

I really fell in love with Pandora a year or two ago. I think the market cap was treading around 2 billion. I told myself that if the Market Cap hit 1.5 billion, I’d make an investment. Well, I haven’t logged it, but it seems like it must have bounced off 1.5 billion about 7 or 8 times in the last year and a half. Seems like it’s bounced between about $9.50-and $11.50 about the same many or more times during this period. From that perspective it seems it would make a great “Channeling” stock, as the traders call them.

But then, a couple months ago, I subscribed to Spotify, and from a consumer point of view I haven’t looked back. I love it so much. I thought I might still use Pandora occasionally for “discovery” but since then Spotify has launched their own “Radio” feature. So, for myself, I literally can find no reason to use Pandora anymore.

Still, I have Pandora (P) on my “Stock Watch” list. I still believe it’s part of the bigger paradigm of all media moving to the digital. So I still think it would probably be a good investment, just on the general paradigm itself. It’s hard for me to make an investment in a product that I don’t use, though. If, however that changes, and they launch some new features that make me want to use it again, I’m sure I’ll even be more excited.

Being in this state of wondering whether to invest or not, I was happy to come across this GigaOm article today: Despite New Competition Pandora Grows It’s Users

The take away is that Pandora is still growing fast in registered users and total minutes per month of listening, but the number of minutes per registered user is actually decreasing, which is weird, until I think about it: I’m a registered user, and my usage has dropped to Zero because Spotify finally picked me off. Back when I was in love with Pandora, I thought, I’d never pay a subscription, but I think seeing Spotify constantly in my Facebook Newsfeed finally wore me down. Like Ogilvy said about advertising: The first time you see an ad, you curse it. The tenth time you see it, you’re writing a check out for the product. Anyway, the GigaOm post inspired me to comment on his site, which I copy and paste here:

“I was a big Pandora fan last year, and I told myself I’d make an investment at a 1.5 billion market cap, which it’s close to now, and has bounced off of several times, but since I’ve become a Spotify Subscriber, or actually since Spotify launched their “Radio” feature, I don’t see any need to go back to Pandora. That’s what keeps me from making an investment, myself. I don’t use it. But I do believe it will grow with the whole digital revolution, as you mention. It definitely had a head start on mobile and has brand recognition.
Once crucial feature of Spotify and Rdio, which seems so vane and egotistical, yet very potent, is the sharing what you listen to to Facebook. I mean even if I own an album, I usually will prefer to listen to it on Spotify, to show everyone what I’m listening to, especially if the record or artist is considered “hip.” I guess Pandora has this feature, but I never see it in my feed. I constantly see Rdio and Spotify in my feed though, which obviously is also free and invaluable advertising for them too. I don’t know why Pandora doesn’t copy all of Spotify’s features (assuming they can) just as Spotify has copied one of the crucial features of Pandora: Discovery.”

Categories
Audio Music

Suburban Sweetheart

Cover of the Josh Rouse tune “Suburban Sweetheart” I did on logic.

 

“Suburban Sweeheart” Lyrics by Josh Rouse

Got a gift, hesitate
Never make the same mistakes
If you could only see the person
If you could only reach the man yeah

We could move back to the suburbs
Rent a house, change our name
If you could only find a purpose
If you could only stay the same yeah

Sweetheart
Sweetheart
Sweetheart
I could help you open and unfurl

Shut up and listen
Shut up, you talk too much
You’re my source for inspiration
You’re my hopes for retire

I plan a trip, get away
Never make the same mistakes
If you could only be a person
If I could only be a man

Sweetheart
Sweetheart
Sweetheart
I could help you open and unfurl
And unfurl
And unfurl

Categories
Audio Garageband Music

Song Produced Entirely on iPad: “Kuzbass”

Hey, I really love working with Garageband on the iPad. I think it’s a revolution. It’s so intuitive, unintimidating, and most importantly fun! Of course, it still has a way to go to be a “professional” production device, but I feel that is coming in years to come, and as you can hear this production sounds pretty good! And this was done on an iPad1 along with merely singing into that little pinhole mic. Other than that all the instruments were just “smart” instruments played entirely on the iPad. Hope you enjoy. This song is called “Kuzbass” by Josh Rouse that I covered.