Outro in A No.2

Fingerpickin’ house-of-horror style! Contains a piece of juvenilia from 1969/70. The rest started off as a piece of fingerstyle faux funk-jazz…

Outro in A No.22014OpenPlayDownload

… see what I mean?

(Note: the mp3  is a virtual instrument rendered from music notation software and is NOT a recording of a live performance!)

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Fantastic eclipse of the sun this morning around Edinburgh and the clouds provided a great filter to allow me to very, very carefully take some photos:



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Authenticity in the Folk Music Tradition

What is this? Do we recognise it? I’ve heard rumours of musicians having been thrown out of sessions in Irish pubs because what they played wasn’t Irish enough. And that the display of a characteristic singing accent when rendering some northern English 19th century mining song is a badge of honour and evidence of authenticity of performance. Everything old-timey in the US is treated with nostalgic awe and reverence and with the utter conviction that the way things were played in the old days was the proper way – or, in any event, better. In all of this I smell a conservative tribalism and other instincts that make me queasy. It’s not a big step from sentimentalising the folk culture of a nation – or part of – and imagining a superiority in its “authentic” expression, to comparing others unfavourably to it.

But it might be that it is the taking a folk culture and corrupting it and making it “impure” by creating further Art from it that bestows upon it a lasting value.

When I’m too long in the company of “authentic” folk musicians I feel badly in need of fresh air!

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New Song: “Afraid”

Play the song:

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OM-18VI made this tune up in 2005 in Naples, Florida on my my newly purchased Martin OM-18V (see right). It was when I was noodling on some simple chords back in the hotel room, while getting used to my new guitar, that during much investigative prodding and poking, picking and strumming that I alighted on it. Why that should be when I was only interested in exploring the sonority of my new instrument, I don’t know. The lyrics came much later when I was back in the UK and when I had become aware that a song was lurking in these simple fingerpicked chords. And in the process I show my unerring ability to make the normally bright and breezy key of C Major something quite a bit darker. Ho-hum.


Be afraid
That’s OK
Your pulse can race but you can’t
Run away

They’ll try to blow you around
Well you can bend with the breeze
But you must
Stand your ground

Pride and grace

You can be statuesque
Or you can just feign death
Or you can just stand still and take a
Big deep breath

So staunch those tears
I’ve been that way for years
And no-one’s
Noticed yet

Pride and grace

© 2015 Dave Keir

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Outro in D No.1

This tune is very old (circa. 1979) and was made up when me and my partner were living with friends in Brackwede, Germany. I’m not sure what it is: a bit ragtime, perhaps? A bit of a swing-jazz tinge? It was originally intended to be developed into a song but it just doesn’t feel songlike (mind you, that hasn’t stopped me before!).

Outro in D No.12015OpenPlayDownload


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New Song: “After Dinner Drinks”

Play the song:

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This song is a ski-slope of calamity.

An innocent matrimonial candle-lit dinner with the bonhomie lubricated with some fine wine and later (and disastrously) by other more prosaic and economical beverages.

At first, warm-hearted smiles and faux-erotic kisses and hand-strokes accompany the shared reminiscences until. Until some almost forgotten and ancient slight is innocently recalled by one and met with a piece of jocular whataboutery of equal vintage and irrelevance by the other. Playful hair-tussling and smoochy ear-pecking is put to one side to allow space for lip-tightened smirks to replace teeth-gleaming peals of laughter. A slow-motion descent into competitive point-scoring-ping-pong ensues to the accompaniment of alcohol fuelled darkening of both mood and vocabulary. Goodwill evaporates as bloods begin to boil. Voices are raised as inhibitions are lowered. The encircling apocalypse is not even noticed until its finality and permanence is assured. Things have been said that can never be unsaid. At some point exhaustion caused sleep.

At the last there is the weary quiet of a bleak morning-after. A bag is packed and a taxi called. How did this happen?

The first lesson of skiing is to learn how to stop.

The song is written in the form of a reminiscing. But sentiment in numbed. All feeling – and it’s remembrance – is avoided. Shame teaches forgetfulness. Forgetfulness destroys no information.

After Dinner Drinks

After Dinner Drinks

I’m staying tonight
I’ve got every right
But I’ll be gone
Before it gets light

We got high as a kite
We got into a fight
Some things raised their heads should’ve stayed
Well out of sight

I can’t remember how it feels

We let it all out
We started to scream and shout
Just in case there was any
Reasonable doubt

It was like a roll-call
They were all up against the wall
All the hurts and the insults, all the
Negligence and all

I need to rest for a while
Close my eyes for a while
But I’ll get my shoes and coat
In a little while

© 2015 Dave Keir


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The Years of the Sheep

2015 is the Chinese Year of the Sheep. Of course, we all remember the Year of the Sheep in Scotland in 1792. And I even had one of my own in 2008.


a sheep



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Outro in A minor No.3

It could be whistled this whimsical fragment. There’s something about the fresh-air in it. A bit of a breeze through the hair…

The score, mp3 and MIDI files for this Outro can be downloaded / played via the links below:

Outro in A minor No.32015OpenPlayDownload


Outro in A minor No.3

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On Songwriting: What’s the Purpose of Writing Songs?

For a long time I never considered this question since making up tunes and singing along to them – relying totally on serendipity – was a childish habit I developed as soon as I was big enough to hold a guitar. This was long before I asked why anyone did anything. Only later in my early teens did I slowly become aware that writing songs could be a medium for something called “self-expression” – but I think I saw it as equivalent to others who might choose sport or some other recreation or hobby. Only much later, when writing and playing became my sole source of income, did I concern myself with the purpose of the songs – the “why?” of the songs. I no longer wrote songs for their own sake – songwriting became a means to an end. Then later again, when I quit touring and playing for a living, I wondered what purpose there would be in continuing to write songs since the means no longer had an end.  Habit? That wasn’t enough. So I decided to stop.

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Outro in A No.4

As promised, here is the first of my “Outros”. You can open and / or download the .pdf file of the guitar score and a simple .mp3 rendered from my scoring software (Finale) belo.

This Outro is a bit jazzy in a bluesy sort of way. And a bit sleazy, if I may suggest. A stripper could use this; in fact it can be hired for that purpose for a fee. Else, a songwriter with determination might have sung something nice with this. But not me.

Outro in A No.42014OpenPlayDownload

Should you be interested in having the native Finale file or .xml music exchange file for your own non-commercial use or just experimentation, please put in a request below in the comment box and register with this site and I will mail to you at your registered email address.

All other comments or questions are welcome below.

Have fun – I hope you enjoy it!

The Fannichs

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