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The Transient Sessions

Sep 16, 2021

Against The Grain is a new song and has yet to be “officially” released.  The recorded version for the album is actually a bit different than what I do here.  One evening in NYC, I was waiting to take the stage and had no idea what I should start with.  It needed to be a song I connected with personally but also upbeat enough to properly meet the listeners where they were at.  Typically, an audience is more riled up at the top of a show having just come in from their busy lives.  The lead off songs need to meet them and direct them where to go.  At the time, I wasn't feeling inspired by any of my upbeat tunes and couldn’t get the lyrics of a new song I was working on out of my head.  The problem was that the new song, Against The Grain, had a unique droning tempo that wouldn’t hold up on a solo guitar.  It sounds great with a band but when played solo had a little too much slack in the rope.  So I began playing the song with this tempo to help cut out the musical fat and showcase the lyrics more.  It gave the song a 60s, Dylan-esc protest type vibe.  I actually based the strumming pattern off of Dylan’s version of Love Minus Zero / No Limit from his Rolling Thunder Review tour.  Waiting to take the stage, I gave the song a facelift and found the tempo treatment served the lyrics really well and injected the energy needed to start the night off.  And just like that, an alternative version to a song that had yet to be released and barely played live … was born.  Something about the way the chords roll creates a nice bed for the lyrics to lay upon.  It feels really good to play.  I feel confident and strong in this song.  When I set up to record this batch of video sessions I was really struggling with entering into the music. I felt off and rudderless.  Just at that moment, I remembered this version of the song and gave it a try.  From the very first strum I was recalibrated, comfortable and dialed-in.  Sometimes all you need is the right song.