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MP3 Bart Reardon - Once Upon a Guitar

Jazz guitar in a breezy, easy listening style. World beats, blues, and soft rock for your listening pleasure.

11 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Smooth Jazz, EASY LISTENING: Soft Rock

Guitarist Bart Reardon brings forty years of experience as a concert sideman, studio musician and studio engineer to the making of this original work, Once Upon A Guitar. The album starts out with a light, breezy jazz tune and progresses through a variety of styles including light rock, pop, world beat, frisky acoustic finger style, and electric blues. As the CD winds to a close, two impressionistic and contemplative songs bring the listening to a restful conclusion.
How will you know if it’s good music, or if it’s for you? The sound samples won’t lie. Samples #2, 5, 6 & 7 should give you a good indication of whether you’d be happy with a purchase.
This album has been favored among folks in medical and teaching professions as well as shop workers and even aspiring musicians. Once Upon A Guitar will bring a sense of scenery and mood to your room, car, or headphone system. Check out the sound samples and have a listen. We hope you enjoy it.

Program notes and some background information:

1. October ''97
October 1997 completed the construction phase of my recording studio. The song’s underlying chord progression first came to mind to use for testing and tweaking room acoustics and monitoring. Over several more years, arrangement elements were added until the song developed into what you hear on this CD. The mood is light and happy, as was the time when the studio building had made the transitions from a hundred pages of drawings, then to cinderblock in a mud pit, and finally, to a building with heat, electricity, and carpet. I humorously think of it as a song for background music in the shopping mall ... only on this session, the guitar player got to play whatever he wanted.

2. Ready To Roll
In a bare bones arrangement of just four instruments (drums, bass, rhythm guitar, and melody), Ready To Roll pays a nostalgic visit to the 1970s, a great time to be a guitar player. I would hope here to salute some of the great players of that era. Among this collection of songs, this was the easiest to write and play. But, ain''t that the beauty of rock & roll?

3. Solanja
Solanja might suggest a carpenter working in a hobby wood shop or insects and animals going about their busy lives in the deep forest. Whatever the setting, it''s a work song and the mood is industrious and determined. Scene changes move along quickly as musical themes and guitar textures trade places. Each theme takes a short bow in the ending to review the cast of characters.

4. View from the Southern Sky
The early astronauts described their experience of looking back at the earth from their space capsule as something so profoundly moving as to bring about a kind of spiritual conversion. This song tries to imagine what that experience may have been like.

5. Mood Swing
In the writing phase, this song unintentionally went off on four tangents and came off sounding like a sketch pad of non-related musical ideas. As I critiqued the problem to decide whether to rewrite or exclude it from the album, the writing problem centered around having too many mood swings. In a moment of sheer goofiness, it occurred to me that the rhythm is essentially swing, and the mood changes somewhat unpredictably, so why not title it for what it is, weave in a few short transitions, and let the moods go where they will, just like what might happen on any ordinary day. You can decide if the joke''s on me or not.

6. Dum Bataka
Life isn''t always easy, and unfortunately, some days are a matter of getting up and putting one foot in front of the other to survive another day. Likewise, the Dum Bataka percussion section drones forward under a minor key and the guitar provides a grieving chord melody. The rhythmic vocal background chant was the fundamental element in the writing, and strangely enough, it initially materialized as a means of making a consistent vocal utterance for comparing the sound of vocal microphones. Ya'' never know.

7. Sweet Pea
If this one has a sense of geographical location, it certainly must be the farmlands of rural Virginia. Little in my own life brings a better sense of home and country living than my favorite cat, so the title takes her nickname, Sweet Pea. Of all the incarnations of stringed instruments, I find the acoustic guitar the most confoundedly difficult to play and nearly impossible to master. My hat goes off to those who can do it well. But, for a song that reflects rural life, the slightly loose and ragged execution, hopefully, brings us a little closer to the ground and the acceptance of living life imperfectly.

8. Chicken Chop Charlie
Chicken Chop Charlie isn''t about anything. Forget about decisions, responsibilities, bills, whatever. Just grab a guitar and have some fun.

9. Bobcat Blues
From time to time, we can hear the chilling snarl of bobcats here in Singers Glen, Virginia, which is always a concern regarding the family pets. If that bobcat gets too close, the Bobcat Blues could become more than just a song.

10. River Psalm
Time to think. An odd chord progression and some non-standard guitar applications float through the late night quiet time. A volume control pedal is used to soften the attack and to shape each melody note and thus draw out a more singing sustain in the guitar voice. Night, night.

11. Galileo''s Dream - "bonus" track (perhaps more correctly, "out-of-context" track)
Enough guitar. Let''s close out the album with a substantial change of scenery. This song is inspired by photographic views of the universe sent home by the Hubble Space Telescope. Looking at those photos and trying to imagine the depth and complexity of the universe is spellbinding. In a sense, our minds can visit these places through the photos, but our bodies can never go there. Galileo''s Dream is a synthesizer fantasy based on that notion. Depictions of otherworldly themes are suitable for guitar, but the unlimited tonal palette of the synthesizer makes it a great instrument for moving into unfamiliar places. So, no, it''s not a guitar song, but it worked out nicely in the production, so it’s included here as a kind of “bonus" (i.e. misfit?) track that finishes out the CD.

People who are interested in Carlos Santana Acoustic Alchemy should consider this download.
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