The Washburn
Songwriter's Recording Sessions

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The Single
Click here to start the MP3 single, Can't Stop Thinking Of You
Click here the MP3 flip side, a cover version of Free's All Right Now

George Washburn 12-string Acoustic Songwriter's Session

This is a story about a handcrafted guitar and some handcrafted music. Though I'm not much of a musician, I do enjoy writing songs. And, I really enjoy experimenting with sound. So, when the opportunity to… but… wait. I'm getting ahead of myself.

My brother tends to find himself in strange positions of opportunity. So, I've given him standing instructions that he should acquire any musical instrument that he comes upon. As it happened, he came upon a Washburn in need of an owner. The previous owner had run into dire financial straits and had arranged a loan using the Washburn as collateral. What is a Washburn?

George Washburn makes guitars. Our guitar is a 12-string acoustic/electric guitar. On the inside, there is a label that says, "Dedicated to hand-crafted excellence in acoustic guitars."

I thought, "what better to record some handcrafted music with?" I had never played a twelve-string guitar.

Fool With The Sound

The experimentation in sound that I planned to start would lay the ground work for studying the effects of chaos theory in music. Not only would I be playing an unfamiliar instrument, but I would also write and record on-the-fly -- an impromptu jam session performed in real time.

At the same time, I hoped to study the extreme ends of the frequency range. This area of study interests me for the following reason: most music you hear has been processed. The sound has been compressed. The ends of the frequency range have been lost. However, I am of the belief that the outer edges of the spectrum may help our brains. The harmonics of the Washburn would present a perfect opportunity to play with the sound.

A One-man Band

The morning that I acquired the guitar I started a trilogy of recording sessions that lasted 2 days. The location was the upper corner of haunted 18th century farmhouse. The Washburn, a microphone and two keyboards were plugged into a mixboard. The mixboard was plugged into a mini-disc digital recorder. I sat on a stool with the Washburn on my knee. There has been no further engineering, overdubs, compression or manipulation of the sound. You will hear one man playing, writing and recording exactly as it happened. There is only one track. There was only one take. There was no re"hear"sal.

The song title is listed with the theme of the musical investigation listed in Parenthesis with any additional notes listed beneath.

Part 1
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  1. Take This (exploration)
    With one foot one the sustain pedal of the keyboard and the Washburn on my knee, we're off and running.
  2. Could Come Back Ta-bite Ya Inda Arse (frequency range & tonal qualities)
  3. In Synch (polarity)
  4. Trying To Overshadow Me (metaphysical)
  5. Straining The Edges (chaotic flow)
  6. Slide (a functional challenge)
  7. Forever After (astral travel)
  8. The All Natural Synthetic (paradox)
    Up to this point, I had forgotten my limitations as a one-man-band. But, by the end of this song, the rhythm starts to fall apart... as I try to figure a way to play the sounds I hear in my head. The trouble comes when I can't stop playing the rhythm guitar to play the keyboards. So, I figured, "what did I have to loose by trying to play with my nose?" And, that is what I did.

Part 2
Click here to start streaming part 2 of the original MP3 songwriter's concert.

  1. Variations Of The Labyrinth (harmonics)
  2. Reaction Time (timing/chaotic systems)
  3. The Slightest Little Thing (harmonics)
  4. Outside My Window (earth)
    The next morning Mother Nature was giving a concert outside of my window. I usually play all the keyboards live. But, while I was listening to the birds, I decided to get warmed-up by sequencing Free's All Right Now. I hung the microphone out the window and recorded the wildlife.
  5. All Right Now (energy)
    I play along to the keyboards with the Washburn. I'm having so much fun that I do it twice. The first time through was used as "the single." The second time through continues in real time to the next song.
  6. The Smell Of Spring Comes Wafting In (spiritual sojourn)
  7. Investigations (chaotic flow)
    This inquiry into the unknown brought some of my favorite harmonics to light. As the guitar starts to get into the groove, an eerie noise starts to accompany me. Remarkably, it sounds like a juice harp. I attempt to follow her lead (whomever she may be) to see where she may take me. And, take me she does from the swamps of Louisiana to the dark side of the moon.
  8. A Fleeting Glimpse Of Sense #6 (metaphysical)
  9. Subconsciously Thinking Of You (harmonics & rhythm)
    A strange and mystic rhythm quickly overtook my soul. Then words came… but, dag-nab-it… the microphone volume was turned the whole way down. So, I sing into the guitar's hole. If you listen very close, you can hear the resulting harmonics.
  10. Can't Stop Thinking Of You (dream actualization)
    A few seconds later, I regain my engineering composure. With the volume on the microphone turned up, I re-start the rhythm. Now that you can hear the words, it should be obvious why I could not keep my concentration -- I can't stop thinking of you. Showing once again that a man's body rules over his mind? [On the other hand, it's a songwriter's dream -- a groove with a hook.]
  11. Does The Id Bring Evil? (metaphysical)
  12. Leave Things Where They Lay (metaphysical)
  13. Variation On Mama's Little Baby (time travel)
  14. To The Point (rhythm)
  15. Wish I Coulda Faded To Finality (chaotic systems & rhythm)

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© 1999 The Philadelphia Spirit Experiment Publishing Company
These graphics, images, text copy, sights or sounds may not be used without our expressed written consent. All songs written by The Philadelphia Spirit Experiment except Free's All Right Now