"Boys, Let's Put A Supergroup Together!"

Feb 06, 2020
It's February Album Writing Month again, one of my favorite times of the year. If you're one of those people – Ms. Fretboard comes to mind – who can't wait to be rid of January and all the post-holiday letdown it stands for, let me respectively submit that writing fourteen songs in twenty-eight days is a definite pick-me-up. I'm two songs and five days in, and already scheming how to peel off an hour here and an hour there to somehow stay on schedule during this short and busy month.

One of things making February busy is my effort to keep the Youtube lessons coming on a weekly basis. I've been working since the fall to streamline the process of shooting and editing, so I can go from having a (hopefully) cool idea to posting that idea in the channel in a week or two, rather than months later. At the same time, the ongoing process of creating and releasing the weekly lessons for my paid membership, The Fingerstyle Five, has been helping me dial in just what I think matters about playing fingerstyle guitar and what I have to say about it that might actually be worth articulating. That in turn has led to some of the recent shorter, more specific Youtube lessons on particular grooves and voicings.

I've come to realize, over the past few years, that the way one teaches music is ideally just as individual and deliberate as how one makes it. And in both cases – teaching and making music – once you allow yourself the conscious decision to do something the way you think it's done best, it frees you to do so better than you have before. That decision allows you to distinguish between what you can do and what you should do, and so dedicate the majority (or the entirety) of your energy towards the latter, without wasting any more time on the former. Which is not only more fun and more satisfying, but also, hopefully, more focused, deliberate and effective.

Here's what Michael Bloomfield had to say about creative awareness in his 1979 Guitar Player interview with Tom Wheeler:
Bloomfield: I realized that everything was coming together for me in an artistic sense. I was developing a set of Bloomfield criteria. I realized that I have a way of seeing the world, and everything is filtered through this certain aesthetic mechanism. It was a pure visceral thing. Well, right when I was going through all of this incredibly important self-realization, Barry Goldberg took me to see this manager friend of his, and the guy looked across the table and said, "Boys, let's put a supergroup together!"
Wheeler: What was your response?
Bloomfield: I told him he was crazy...I said to this manager, can you understand me, can you grok it, does it go through your brain what I'm saying to you, what I'm going through, what I'm going to do in terms of art and music?
Wheeler: What did he say?
Bloomfield: He said, "Let's put a supergroup together!"

One of the things that comes up over and over in the membership is the idea of getting out of open position. This week's Youtube lesson is about how to find C blues voicings – and therefore new C licks – up the neck, which is an update of a Travis picking lesson I made a couple of years back. You can find the new lesson here:

C Licks Up The Neck

And you can download the tab here (no need to re-enter your email address):

Get The Tab

Can you grok it?

More soon,