When my husband turned 40 I was all set to put up with-the dreaded "mid-life crisis". I thought he might want to buy a car with a souped-up engine, or return to his motorcycle riding early days or worse yet, decide he had more wild oats that needed sowing!
|Lorenzo Pagans and Auguste de Gas,|
the Artist's Father. c.1871-72 by Edgar Degas
But no, at the age of 40 my dear husband decided it was time to learn to play guitar! And he did so, with only the help of a DVD and the occasional lesson with a fellow player. He is now some 10 years later, quite good at it, although still too shy to play in public.
But that's okay because I enjoy his private concerts, especially when we sing together. He even taught himself to sing on key from a video!
The first song I'd like to feature is from the early '70s and has a calm and peaceful vibe. It's by the group Bread headed by lead singer and songwriter David Gates. The lyrics describe very well the attractiveness a guitar player has for me.
Guitar Man / Bread (1972)
I have had a fondness for John Denver ever since I first heard him singing Take Me Home Country Roads. My favourite of his songs was Annie's Song, and it still has the power to make me teary. He wrote this song about his wife, who later left him. I don't think I could ever leave a man who wrote me a song like that!
Here he is singing about his old guitar. In his introduction to the song he tells us the history of it and his song explains why it is so important to him. The guitar was cremated with him after he was killed in a plane crash in 1997. His ashes were spread over the Colorado Rocky mountains.
This Old Guitar / John Denver (1974)
|portrait of John Hiatt by Jim McGuire|
In this next song Perfectly Good Guitar I can't help but agree with him when he sings:
It breaks my heart to see those stars
smashing a perfectly good guitar
I dont know who they think they are
smashing a perfectly good guitar.
I never understood that practise of Rock stars smashing their guitars on stage. What a waste!
Perfectly Good Guitar / John Hiatt (1993)
Neil Young's album Prairie Wind is so special to me. In it, he explores his youth living on the prairies of his Canadian home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He developed the album after a terrible interlude in his life where he almost died from a brain tumour. This caused him to reflect on his past, how he came to be the person he was, and which direction he should take in his future.
UPDATE: 24/09/13 (The original video is no longer available, so I have replaced it with this one from a benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Katrina).
This Old Guitar / Neil Young (2005)
*****UPDATE (Feb. 10, 2012)******
I have realized that I should have included one of my favourite guitarists and singer/songwriters of all. George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps takes his love of his guitar to almost spiritual levels. When I stumbled upon this fanmade video I knew I had to add it to this post. The video shows George Harrison as a young Beatle cavorting with his bandmates, and in his solo career after The Beatles' breakup. Throughout he is shown playing various types of guitars. His sense of humour and his pensive otherworldliness really come through for the camera. It is a wonderful video!
I look at the world and I notice it's turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps.
I thought this might be the best I could do until...
I discovered Heirs of Durin's fabulous post about how various musicians are reproducing the song first heard from the Hobbit trailer. She has found sheet music, a piano version and of course a guitar version! And being the talented graphic artist that she is, here what she came up with when trying to imagine Thorin Oakenshield playing it on guitar.
It certainly works for me!