Blog Archives

Song masterpiece of the day: Murdered in the city, Avett Brothers

This is the song that got me hooked on the Avett Brothers. That opening devastated me.

“If I get murdered in the city / don’t go revenging in my name.”

Who writes lyrics like that, anymore? I guess they do. Just a stunning and touching song, reminding us of the beauty inherent to the family bonds that sometimes disappear for no known reasons – hello, my estranged brother to whom I haven’t spoken in over 20 years…


Song masterpiece of the day: Our town, Iris Dement

Iris Dement is a true treasure. She writes beautiful songs, has a unique and extremely evocative voice and is a great duet partner as exemplified by her work with John Prine, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Emmylou Harris, etc…

This song, Our Town, is plaintive and sad, yet tells a story through the eyes of a person struck wit loss and an overall belief that all good things come to an end.

In this video, we are also treated to the fine dobro playing of Jerry Douglas, maybe the best exponent of that instrument of all times.


Song masterpiece of the day: If I needed you, Townes Van Zandt

This song means a lot to me for many reasons. First, it was written by Townes. In a dream. He dreamt that he was a songwriter/folk singer one night, and that’s the song he wrote in his dream.

Secondly, it’s a song I play live, but only with my good buddy Mark, who sings harmony with me on it. He does it so beautifully, it’s a gift he gives me every time we do it.


And just because I love this version of the song by Emmylou Harris & Steve Earle, here it is:

Song masterpiece of the day: Graceland, Paul Simon

That entire album was a gem, and to this day it remains one of the albums I’ve listened to the most.

This song is a melting pot of sounds, rhythm signatures and riffs, yet it’s unified by gorgeous and evocative lyrics.


Song masterpiece of the day: Goodbye, Steve Earle

Steve Earle belongs in the same conversation as his hero, Townes Van Zant, for the quality and quantity of incredible songs he’s written over the years.

This is the first song written for Steve Earle that really touched me and captivated me, and I play it live regularly.

In this video, he is joined by the ever-wonderful Emmylou Harris.

Song masterpiece of the day: In the arms of a woman, Amos Lee

Some songs are so simple, yet so perfect. And this is one of them. There is such a vulnerability in this song, both in the words and in the vibe created by Amos’ voice and phrasing… enjoy.

Song Masterpiece of the day: Hallelujah, L. Cohen, by k.d. lang

This live version of the Leonard Cohen classic, Hallelujah, is my favorite. There is something in k.d.’s power & phrasing that shakes me to the core.

Song masterpiece of the day: In Color, Jamey Johnson

You know anything about me, you know what a huge Jamey Johnson fan I am. And this particular song has always been one of my favorite. It is so evocative, so descriptive that I can’t help but be touched by it. Enjoy.

Song Masterpiece of the day: Sweet Mental Revenge, Waylon Jennings

The Hoss singing a Mel Tillis song that doesn’t get as much air play as some of his most famous songs, but this is a great song nonetheless. And look at how young Waylon looks in that video!

Songwriting Exercise: DADGAD tuning

If you’re stuck in a rut where the same chords seem to forever pop up under your fingers every time you pick up a guitar, here’s a little curve ball for you: retune your guitar to DADGAD and see what horizons this new tuning opens up for you!

To learn more about DADGAD, see this link