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Why just guitar and voice?

From time to time I receive advice or comments from other musicians that this or that song of mine would suit an ensemble arrangement of some kind; a bass here, some percussion there, perhaps a fiddle or a wind instrument”¦

I’ve no doubt that much may be done to provide some ear candy over some of my songs; solo guitar and voice is hardly mainstream mass consumption and the buying public continues to expect a pretty full arrangement and production. A full CD of acoustic guitar and vocal might make them feel short-changed or unsatisfied, somehow – or they might find it just plain boring.

Well, I have considered it and have even played around with recording a bass guitar and hand percussion on some of my songs a few years ago. And in the dark days of the early ’80s two of the songs on I Can See Dover were actually given the full band treatment – raunchy electric guitars, and all. These two were actually recorded as demos and only ended up on Dover when they failed to attract any interest from record companies. I have done another couple of demos with backing singers, a fiddle, and a bass guitar (Red John, The Spaniard and Pandora) but they exist now only on my hard drive as curiosities and will not be published.

But that’s the extent of it. And I do have a reason for keeping it all solo these days despite the commercial disadvantages, namely, my playing style is fairly full insofar as there are many notes per bar! This is particularly true in my up-tempo songs and I have even coined the term “gatling-gun” to describe it for promotional purposes. I think I may have developed this style to compensate for perceived gaps that otherwise would be filled out by playing in an ensemble. Other instruments now would just make it all sound congested and messy in these cases.

Also, it’s also a lot less work being solo. Heh!