Sunrays and Saturdays

This week, it’s a cover of Vertical Horizon’s “Sunrays and Saturdays” from their mid-1990s album Running on Ice. Keith Kane and Matt Scannell played together for a number of years through the mid- and late-1990s into the early 2000s and had something of a following on the college circuit. They wrote some great songs and recorded several solid albums. Unfortunately their transition to a major label didn’t go smoothly and after fifteen minutes of radio fame, they more or less disappeared from the airwaves. As far as I know they aren’t still playing together, though I believe Matt Scannell still tours some. I dredged this album back up a few months ago and realized it’s still got some pretty good songs on it. Here’s one of them–It’s a nice, mellow, sad-but-not-too-sad breakup song. There’s also a recent-ish version of Matt playing it live available on YouTube (https://youtu.be/AiNdAgCAae0) — once you’ve listened to mine you should go hear what it sounds like when played by someone who can actually sing and play guitar. (more…)

On Susan’s Floor

It’s been far too long since I posted one of these. This is a cover of “On Susan’s Floor” from Gordon Lightfoot’s 1972 album Don Quixote. It’s one of only a handful of songs on Lightfoot’s albums not written by Gord himself. This is actually the work of the American poet Shell Silverstein, best known for his book Where the Sidewalk Ends. Silverstein seems to have dabbled in songwriting during the late ’60s. I’ve heard a handful of his tunes and they’re all good, but this one is a personal favorite. I’ve been playing it for more than fifteen years, going back to my days playing open mic nights in Oklahoma City, but I feel like I’ve only started to get the feel of the song down just right in the last couple of years. (more…)

The Last Thing on My Mind

This is a cover of an old Tom Paxton tune.  Paxton was one of the great songwriters of the 1960s folk revival, but continues to tour and play music to this day.  He is a wonderfully gifted lyricist and a great performer.  His songs have an elegant simplicity to them that makes them fun to play. I have a double album of a live concert he did in the early 1970s that remains one of my all-time favorites.  Unfortunately, this particular album (“The Compleat Tom Paxton” if you’re interested) never made the transition to CD, let alone MP3, so I’m stuck playing the grooves off of the vinyl.  There are plenty of great songs on it, but Last Thing on My Mind never gets old, and it’s always a fun song.

As always, enjoy, share, comment!

Mariano

I posted this on YouTube a few months ago, but I’m adding onto this site as well.  If you’ve seen it, you can keep scrolling.  If not, stop and listen.

This is a cover of a song by the great Texas songwriter Robert Earl Keen, Jr.  Keen is an underrated songwriter who has a marvelous ability to describe small towns, rural life, and ordinary people.  At his best, he is capable of writing deeply poetic lyrics that gave a real insight into the human condition.  This song is my favorite of his.  His portrayal of Mariano reminds me of countless guys I’ve known over the years:  hardworking men trying to make a better life for themselves and their families despite their circumstances.

Fifteen years ago, I was playing open mic nights in Oklahoma City a couple of times a week.  This song was a pretty regular feature in my set.

The Wayfaring Stranger

I’ve been playing this song on guitar for a long time. The Wayfaring Stranger is a traditional southern gospel tune that’s been covered by gospel, folk, blues, and bluegrass artists.  My version has been through plenty of changes, and if you hear me play the song ten years form now, it will probably sound different than it does here.  There are about a dozen different variations on the lyrics floating around and mine is probably an average of several different versions that I heard growing up.  Enjoy!

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