Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New YOU!

I was contacted to run a contemporary Christian Praise and Worship Band and play keys at a rather large church on the Sunday between Christmas and News Years Day. I was the only professional musician in the group. The band consisted of drums, bass, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, keyboards and nine singers.

I arrived an hour early to meet the very competent sound-engineer. This was a relief as a bad mix can toast a great band.

After introducing myself to the band, I quickly deduced that they were pretty solid musicians. All the songs were traditional Christmas Carols, but the band wanted to perform them as hard rock tunes. They had heard of me and were eager to listen to any suggestions that I was willing to offer.  I can assure you that this doesn't happen every day!

I usually go to a new band experience and lay low until I get a feel of their social dynamics, but felt that this crew was ready for some new  direction. This was such a welcome feeling for me.

I listened to what they had rehearsed. It sounded a lot like Old country and Western swing (bouncing the alternating quarter and eighths as triplets). Not exactly what I felt was hard rock at all.

The drummer could play a rock beat, so I started with him putting down a solid beat in 4/4 using all straight eights on the cymbals.

I then told the bass player to lay down the tonic of the chord using straight eighths just like the drummer.

The rhythm guitar player was shown a blues lick that sounded like the beginning of the old standard, "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown".

Add my directions to the overdriven lead guitar telling him to play whatever he wanted (he was very young and couldn't believe his ears when I told him to ROCK OUT!!!) He said that he never gets to do this.

The singers felt the new groove and started to wail unlike the first run-through.

After adding a catchy hook to each carol, the band was ready for the service.

OK, I know that I usually have a "don't let this happen to you" lesson for each new post. I can honestly say that this one was a breeze. I always kept a watchful vigil just in case something would go wrong so I never let down my musical guard.

I don't know what was more fun, watching the band have a great time playing in a rock style, or seeing my little daughter dancing in the aisles to the band during the service.

this posts lesson....

genuinely enjoy when a gig is going well and....

Happy New YOU!

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