The following videos are not an attempt to capture the songs in their most perfect form. They are merely a vehicle to let people hear some of my work that has never been in the public eye. They are shot using the video setting on my little Canon Powershot and a little Joby tripod. The guitars are either a Martin 000 series or a pretty beat up Johnson JD27. My old Kay banjo may make an appearance or two as well, for better or worse.

That's it. I welcome comments and encourage you to share the music if it strikes you.

All music and lyrics written by Richard Popovic, unless otherwise noted.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Song #5: Carrickfergus



This is not an original song, technically speaking. It is an old Irish ballad, one of my absolute favorites and one of the first ones I ever learned to play. It is on Shilelagh Law's first album in a traditional ballad form, and I love it that way because it is straightforward and simple enough that the lyrics and melody take center stage. The great songs do not need much help.

This reworked version came about in a random way. I had written the music on its own, just messing around one day, and I needed some words to try and work out a melody. Whenever I find myself in this situation I usually turn to Irish songs, since I know a lot of them backwards and forwards and their song structures are usually easy to work with. So as I was picking that first intro chord over and over, the first line of Carrickfergus came into my head. And I laughed, because it was a weird pairing. Carrickfergus is a sad song, a lament for times long gone. My music was a noodling free-flowing thing capoed way up the neck. Nothing heavy about it. But for kicks, I forged ahead.

And it grew on me. I am still not sure it works. And there are certainly a few notes and melody lines in this performance I would take back if I could. But I have to be honest, it has been stuck in my head for weeks now, and I find myself playing it over and over.

I am not sure anything will ever come of it, but it has already given me more than I ever expected.

And if anyone thinks they are hearing some weird digital feedback chirping, do not adjust your speakers. It is a persistent and somewhat obnoxious chipmunk, who was a couple of hundred  feet away but still managed to sound like he was perched on my shoulder. Everyone's a critic.

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