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Just a Lazy River played on a Vega E30D

Mississippi flooding the Quad Cities

February found me finally finishing another river song. This one is a dreamy, jazzy, bluesy piece that I have been working on for a few years. Part of what helped me finish the song is the new Bigsby vibrato I had installed on my Vega E30D, which inspired me to want to play this for you, which meant I needed to finish the lyrics…

About the song

I started messing around with this chord progression at least three years ago, and I thought from the beginning that it sounded like a river. In typical fashion, the line “I’m just a lazy river” spilled out of my mouth pretty early on, but was followed by very little else, other than the usual cave man stuff. There is a version of this song from three years ago, when I was up at the studio recording songs for the very first Engle-Pratt Holiday slide show, that includes some alcohol fueled Tom Waits'ish mumblings, but mostly just inchoate repetition of the line “I’m just a lazy river”. And when I wrote in my very first blog post that I had plans for an entire series of river songs, well, this is one of the songs I had in mind. So it is with some relief that I managed to finish it…sort of. That face you see me make in the middle (you did notice that, didn’t you?) is me forgetting a lyric, which honestly I wasn’t completely satisfied with anyway, and mugging about the silly line that I improvised after holding the note as long as I dared before saying something. I drew a complete blank, even though I have worked out three different and perfectly acceptable lines to sing at that particular spot. Oh well. Subject wise, part of the problem for me is that this song is a seduction song, and I’m just not that seductive of a guy. Don’t get me wrong, I have a rich fantasy life and a rich imagination. It’s not that I can’t imagine myself as a gifted lover who’s charisma could seduce a woman with his song, but it is not really my nature, and I don’t usually put it out there. But it was fun to try, and I flirted with making this a little bawdy, in the tradition of lots of blues songs. Anyway, the line I botched is about the river growing deep and slow before its’ final thrust into the sea. You get the idea…

About the guitar

I was in Minneapolis back in July for a conference and to watch my lovely wife play violin with Francois Rabbath. As I often do when I travel, I took time out from my conference to find a guitar shop within walking distance of the conference venue. It seems like there always is, and in this instance I was not disappointed. There were not any guitars at this shop that I was rabidly interested in, but I did develop a little crush on a really fun copy of an old Mosrite guitar, like the Ventures used. It was a brand new Eastwood Sidejack, and I was playing it through an old Fender Twin Reverb, and my jazzy songs sounded really cool using the whammy bar. In fact, a woman in the shop thanked me for playing such beautiful music, which went straight to my head, and I must of course mention here because, it went straight to my head. Anyway, I really thought about buying the guitar, because they aren’t that expensive compared to my usual vintage gear, but then I had the brilliant idea “Hey, why don’t I put a Bigsby on one of my Vegas?” And the logical choice was my Vega E30D because it is essentially a Guild X-175, and those are often paired with Bigsby vibratos, so I had a hunch it would work. And it did!! Don’t you love the way it sounds? I sure do, and it really gave me the push I needed to finish this song so that I could share it with you.

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