Not the marrying kind

Here’s a track by Navigation Without Numbers, a sadly short-lived music project with my friend Jamie Jean Maertens. Jamie is a songwriter of marvelous clarity and directness. The chorus is simply, “I guess your mama was right about me all along”, repeated twice… a really profound statement of hindsight and regret.

I played the steel guitar part on a $50 Artisan lap steel, just weeks after getting the instrument and starting to learn it.  The engineers did a marvelous job capturing the sound.  In hindsight, I could now play something technically more complex, but I don’t know if I could play anything more musical or appropriate for the song.

Likewise, Jamie’s acoustic guitar part is a lovely example of unintentional simplicity.  She’s a very functional guitarist – she plays because she needs to play in order to write and play songs, not for the sake of the guitar itself.  Technically, I’m a “better” guitarist, but I can’t play this song the way she does to save my life.  The whole guitar part is the result of her limitations as a player, from the simple fingerpicking to the “cowboy F chord”. But as a whole, it doesn’t sound unskilled – just clean and simple. 


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