So, I’ve been trying to prepare a few simple songs for open mic night, and got all inspired and distracted from that to try and figure out how to play a long, syncopatedly complicated Tom Waits song.
This song has been on my heavy rotation for a long time and is a story-song with nine verses and the chorus only in there 3 times.
The structure of the song lends itself pretty well for memorization, but I had to really envision a story from the lyrics to try and internalize the unfolding of the story in order to know which verse came next.
I enjoyed the challenge of trying to find a way to play this song for a single acoustic guitar, and recorded this exploration so I could review to see what worked for it and what didn’t so much. Towards the end I play around a little more with ways to adjust the rhythm and talk about the percussive aspect.
As usual, when trying to work out the guitar part, the accuracy and ease of singing the song falls a little bit. It’s like learning anything – if you have part of something worked out really well, and then add in or learn something in addition to what you know, the original bit that had been pretty smooth will become jangled until the new part is well integrated into it.