Tuesday, May 12, 2015

13: Come To Jesus - Mindy Smith

Mindy Smith again? But you'd never heard of her when we did number (One Moment More).

As I mentioned with Shakatak's jazz funk music (up at number 34), some genres of music are sufficiently removed from my area of experience (I wouldn't say expertise) that I can't figure out what's going on musically and as a result I can enjoy the tune in a different way. This one isn't quite like that. In fact it's right at one edge of what I can and do like to play, and that edge is known as bluegrass.

I don't have the knowledge or experience to really describe bluegrass fully - and it's not really what the Top Forty At Forty is about - just listen to some Allison Krauss or the soundtrack to 'O Brother Where Art Thou' and you'll see what I'm on about. But here Mindy Smith puts together, particularly in acoustic versions of the song, that 'high lonesome sound' of wolves in the Appalachians. Playing it in the key of D, it begins with a couple of visits to A (which I still don't think really fit with the rest of the song) and then we're off - D down to C, to a B-bass chord (probably G) then back to D. The D can be opened to a D2 and you can even do a little arpeggio thing with the G-string, flicking between G and A, before dropping the bass down to C and keeping many of the strings open as the progression continue. Just playing that kind of sequence in itself sounds bluegrass, and then you add Smith's yearning vocals, and we're off on a journey through the mountains. Oh, and just like with Sarah McLachlan's 'Angel', I hear harmonies in this song that flat-out aren't on the recording.

KFOG (San Francisco "world-class rock" station on which I first heard this song) had Mindy Smith come in and do a set for them once, and the version of 'Come To Jesus' from that set made it on to their compilation "Live from the Archives volume 11" (which also featured acoustic live versions of 'Romeo and Juliet' by Mark Knopfler and 'Angel' by Sarah McLachlan - can you tell I liked that album?). On that it's Smith's vocals, acoustic guitar and also a mandolin which adds a wonderful counterpoint. I haven't been able to find a version of that online, but the video above is the closest I could find from what youTube has on offer today.

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