Hank Williams recorded this classic song in 1949. Elvis Presley thought that it was probably the saddest song he’d ever heard. Bob Dylan wrote: “I didn't have to experience anything that Hank did to know what he was singing about. I'd never heard a robin weep, but could imagine it and it made me sad." Songwriter Harlan Howard coined the phrase “Three chords and the truth” to describe the necessary ingredients for country and western music, alluding to the familiar simplicity of country music and the paramount importance of the truth of the story. Hank Williams wrote this song with only three chords (I-IV-V) but my arrangement was inspired by Leon Russell’s recording which subtlely reharmonizes the song with some extra chords. Because of the importance of the lyrics, I’ve decided to sing this one - a rarity because I do not consider myself much of a vocalist. And be sure to listen for the lonely whippoorwill chirping at the end! I’d like to dedicate this performance to Michael and Fred, my friends in Nashville. Thanks again to Michael for taking me to the church of country music, the Ryman Auditorium for the first time. Thanks to Fred for requesting [...]
"Across the Universe" is a Beatles song written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. I’ve always liked this song and playing it feels like meditating to me. In February 1968, (52 years ago!) the Beatles convened at Abbey Road studios to record a single for release during their absence on their forthcoming trip to India. Paul McCartney had written "Lady Madonna", and Lennon had "Across the Universe". Lennon referred to the song as perhaps the best, most poetic lyric he ever wrote: "It's one of the best lyrics I've written. In fact, it could be the best. It's good poetry, or whatever you call it, without chewin' it. See, the ones I like are the ones that stand as words, without melody. They don't have to have any melody, like a poem, you can read them." A truly cosmic song! On 4 February 2008, at 00:00 UTC, NASA transmitted the Interstellar Message "Across the Universe" in the direction of the star Polaris, 431 light years from Earth.This was done to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the song's recording, the 45th anniversary of the Deep Space Network (DSN), and the 50th anniversary of NASA. The idea was hatched by Beatles [...]
"Fields of Gold" is a song written and recorded by Sting. It first appeared on his 1993 album Ten Summoner's Tales. This is such a beautiful poem that I’ll just show it to you right here. Notice that it works perfectly as a poem. You can get a sense of the rhythm of the lyrics just by saying them to yourself. You can even see the rhythm of the words - you don’t even need to read the words themselves to imagine waving fields of golden grain by seeing the shape of the lines on the page. You'll remember me when the west wind moves upon the fields of barley You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky as we walk in fields of gold So she took her love for to gaze awhile upon the fields of barley In his arms she fell as her hair came down among the fields of gold Will you stay with me, will you be my love among the fields of barley? We'll forget the sun in his jealous sky as we lie in fields of gold See the west wind move like a lover so upon the fields of barley. Feel her [...]
"Hold On" is a song from the album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band by John Lennon released in 1970 (my first year in college.) I’ve always liked this song but I don’t know how it came into my head just now, except that I find it very reassuring and especially comforting for these troubling times. The music alone is soothing, but then Lennon adds words like these: Hold on It’s gonna be alright You’re gonna win the fight You’re gonna see the light So hold on Lennon has explained the song as follows: “Hold on now, we might have a cup of tea, we might get a moment's happiness any minute now. So that's what it's about, just moment by moment. That's how we're living now, but really living like that and cherishing each day, and dreading it too. It might be your last.”  I’m not even going to try to add any more comments to his. This performance is dedicated to Yoko in memory of John. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Related posts: Imagine, We Can Work it Out 1. Rogan, J. (1997). The Complete Guide to the Music of John Lennon. Omnibus Press. pp. 38–39. ISBN 0711955999. Bosendorfer piano sound [...]
Today's very brief piece of upbeat music brings together melodies from two classic American songs, almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face: 1- The 1922 blues classic 'Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do', written by Grainger and Robbins and popularized by Alberta Hunter, Bessie Smith, Jimmy Witherspoon. Other notable versions: Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, Willie Nelson, and Hank Williams, Jr. 2- 'This Land Is Your Land', written by the great Woody Guthrie in 1940, is one of the United States' most famous folk songs. I don't know how I got the idea to put them together, but here they are! Dedicated to Bob S and Wendy Lee. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than any piano I've ever owned!!
Robert Schumann was a German composer and pianist. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Kinderszenen, or “Scenes from Childhood", Op. 15, is a set of thirteen pieces of music for piano written in 1838. Movement No. 7 of the work, Träumerei or “Dreaming”, is one of Schumann's best known pieces. This short piece is a little tricky to play, because if you follow closely you’ll notice that there are sections where the melody alternates between the right and the left hand. Anyway, it all comes out sounding pretty dreamy, and I suppose it sounds pretty romantic also! This performance is dedicated to Tom S, Takuya N, David P, and Stevie W Enjoy, Dr. Weiss PS Another 2 minute tune! Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than any piano I've ever owned!!
The Circle Game was written by the incomparable Joni Mitchell and was released on her 1970 album Ladies of the Canyon. This is what we were listening to when I was a freshman in college at NYU. I can see why it was so popular because of her lyrics, melodies, arrangements, guitar playing and most of all, her pure, clear, almost crystalline voice. Looking back now, I’m amazed at how someone so young came up with such a mature theme and sophisticated lyrics. Lyrics such as: “we're captive on the carousel of time, we can't return we can only look behind”, “words like, when you're older, must appease him”, “dreams have lost some grandeur coming true”, and especially the poignant phrase “it won't be long now till you drag your feet to slow the circles down” - how did she so convincingly have that perspective at her young age? Anyway, here’s my version playing the ‘Dynamic Nylon’ acoustic guitar sample from the Yamaha Clavinova. I enjoy listening to it, but not as much as listening to Joni’s voice singing it. Dedicated to my friend W Beaubeaux. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Dynamic Nylon acoustic guitar sound - For this recording I’m playing [...]
“Basin Street Blues" is a song often performed by Dixieland jazz bands, written by Spencer Williams (words and music) in 1928 and first recorded that year by Louis Armstrong. (Williams also wrote the music for “I Ain’t Got Nobody”, popularized by Louis Prima.) It’s one of the greatest of all blues songs. Named after the main street of the famous Storyville district, the red-light district of early 20th-century New Orleans, north of the French Quarter. It became a red light district in 1897. Notable recordings: Lous Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Bing Crosby, and Fats Waller. Sam Cooke, Dr. John, Willie Nelson, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis. This performance is dedicated to my friend Todd B, with whom I’ve shared many good times in the Crescent City. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Related post: Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans P.S. For anyone wanting to read more about this quintessential jazz song: Pianist and composer Spencer Williams titled this number after the street where he lived as a youngster with his aunt. But the house he lived in was Mahogany Hall, probably the most famous brothel of Storyville. Williams composed the tune in 1928, eleven years after Storyville [...]
“All That Heaven Will Allow” was written by Bruce Springsteen for his 1987 album Tunnel Of Love. Once again, it has those same familiar changes but Bruce adds in words that fit just right to describe the joy and enthusiasm of young love. He makes the changes his own by adding the second and the forth tone at certain places to add a sophisticated unique sound. Bruce took tight control of his artistic vision on this recording. He does vocals, guitar, mandolin, bass, keyboards, harmonica, and percussion, with Max Weinberg on drums. Dedicated to Alan L. and Bob S. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Related posts: Thunder Road Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (based on Bruce's arrangement) Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than any piano I've ever owned!!
"As Long as He Needs Me" is a torch song sung by the character of Nancy in the 1960 musical Oliver! and written by Lionel Bart. It is a love ballad expressing Nancy's love for her criminal boyfriend Bill Sikes despite his mistreatment of her. Best known for creating the book, music and lyrics for Oliver!, Bart was described by Andrew Lloyd Webber as "the father of the modern British musical". In 1963 he won the Tony Award for Best Original Score for Oliver!, and the 1968 film version of the musical won a total of 6 Academy Awards including the Academy Award for Best Picture. Some of his other compositions include the theme song to the James Bond film From Russia with Love. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than any piano I've ever owned!!