Past

Useful

Well, gosh it was interesting to see those pictures, friend.  Thanks for that.  The experience wasn’t without mixed feelings of course, several very significant fashion errors.  Ouch.  And I will admit it was a little jarring to see me playing a guitar in standard tuning.  If we’re right about the date then it would be around the time I changed to DADGAD tuning pretty much full time.  So now when people ask me how long I’ve been playing guitar like that, I actually have a reasonably accurate answer.  It’s been a little less than thirty years full time, first got serious with it a little before that.  Not that the counting is important.  But I do forget sometimes how long I’ve been playing that way.

I did find one thing caught my attention.  In those pictures I’m accompanying someone.  And it looks to me like I’m doing then something that I still do now.  Yes, I’m listening closely to what they’re playing, no question, but I’m also watching them intently for any kind of clue about how they actually want to play this thing.  I guess that’s where I began to learn that focus it takes, that to be able to have a fighting chance to hit that downbeat in that same quirky way as them I was going to have to take in how they moved.  Figuring out a singer’s phrasing was pretty easy after that.  Funny what you learn.  I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I guess I’ve been trying to supply useful groove to other people’s playing, often people who had a very personal relationship with time and phrasing, for a little over thirty years.  Okay how did that happen?

I certainly don’t do a lot of accompanying any more, so I’m fairly certain I’m not as good at it as I was.  All good.  Although I guess that’s a bit of what I’m doing at the Tuesday night sessions.  Only now I’m doing it on the bass instead of the guitar.  Same verb, different noun.  Folks are nice to let me play when it makes sense, so I figure if in return it helps them enjoy their night it’s the least I can do.  Just another application of supplying groove, I guess.

Supplying useful groove for thirty years.  No way I’d ever say that in real life, but yeah, that’s funny in all kinds of ways.