Monthly Archives: June 2009

sort of Italian Song

This 35-second recording is a simple tune with two chords and one big phrase. I recorded it for a friend to use as a stem, and I’m posting it here because it might be useful to other people, maybe as a ringtone, as a cue in a video, or as a connector in a playlist.

This uses the chords from “Italian Hymn” by Felice de Giardini, so I’m calling it “sort of Italian Song”. I learned it from Mutopia.

sort of Italian Song (MP3)


To the extent possible under law, Lucas Gonze
has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to
sort of Italian Song.
This work is published from
United States.

photos from REDCAT

Dick and Jane playing music at REDCATDick and Jane playing at the lounge at REDCAT. Normally Jane curses like a sailor while she’s singing, but she kept it clean because of the kids there.

mini Sausage Grinder at REDCAT LoungeMini-Sausage Grinder playing jug band songs, early blues, a little bluegrass. These guys are good musicians without being showoffs, and for once I could hear all the fine details in their lines.

Notice these two photos are in totally different places in the bar. That was to enable one band to set up while the other was still playing, so that each band could start their first song right as the last song by the previous band stopped, like in a playlist.

thoughts on REDCAT show

The night of music at the downstairs lounge at Disney last night was an improbable success.

Factors against it — weird architecture; no walk-in traffic; venue that people aren’t used to going to; time slot right after work in a part of the city that few people work in.

So how come it worked ok anyway?

  • The people were a good mix who gelled socially. If it was a party folks would have been gabbing away.
  • The musicians (Dick & Jane, mini-Sausage Grinder, Triple Chicken Foot) were all excellent. As much as it’s a pleasure to be so close to players when they’re good, it’s painful when they’re bad and you can’t escape.
  • The acoustics were round, warm and clear. I could hear every detail of the sound, and the sound was beautiful. It was a great listening experience.
  • I tried to get musicians to start and end sets flush next to each other, with no break in between to fuss with the setup, like songs in a playlist. To do that I had two different playing areas, aka “stages”, so that one band would set up in one while the other was playing. In a couple spots this way of doing things was really magical, for example when Triple Chicken Foot’s first song started and the sound just opened up. (I don’t think this idea specifically made the good vibe, I think it helped establish a feeling of energy).
  • The quality of the artwork for the flier (by Angelina Elise) created a sense that this was a worthy event.

  • Because the space isn’t a bar and because it wasn’t late, there were kids around. They did a lot to make the atmosphere feel open and direct in way that a rock club never is.
  • The main room is on the small side, so it doesn’t take a lot of people to make it feel full.

Thanks to Aaron Drake at REDCAT for making it all happen.

In the future I’m going to try to incorporate kid musicians into the show, doing one song at a time. I think that will create a friendly and homey feeling towards all the musicians and the event as a whole. Not sure how I’ll find em, though. If you’re an LA parent with a kid who plays guitar, give me a ping.

old time night at Redcat Lounge thurs 6/18

Lucas Gonze in Americana night at REDCAT Lounge

Next Thursday 6/18 I’ll play at the downstairs bar at Disney Hall, called REDCAT Lounge. It’s an early bill from 6-9 to accommodate working people, the kind who don’t go out late during the week but would dig having a drink after work.

This is a night that I did the booking for. The other acts are fine local musicians who I play with pretty often —

* The inimitable Dick & Jane.

* The invincible Triple Chicken Foot

* A couple players from Sausage Grinder, which does jug band songs like Mississippi Sheiks in an authentic style with all the details.

Where? 631 West Second St., Los Angeles! But here’s a map:

View Larger Map

Triple Chicken Foot:
Triple Chicken Foot

Rocking Yukon Gold mp3, sheet music, midi, Garageband project

When I was thinking about to do with my “Rocking Yukon Gold” soundtrack, I wanted to do something like a cowboy death song. I didn’t want to do yet another version of “Streets of Lauredo” (aka Saint James Infirmary), so what I used instead is a sad gospel number called “Talk About Sufferin'”.

I decided to do a multrack recording instead of the acapella feel I usually do, and to get all the parts to line up I wrote down melody. So, for the benefit of people who want to play the song for themself, here’s that.

Talk About Suffering (Sibelius file for anybody who wants to modify it)

Talk About SufferingClick for full-size

I set the tempo of the song so that the overall length would be about the same as the video clip, then exported a MIDI file to send to Garageband. For people who might want to use the song in an electronic context like a remix, here’s that:

Talk About Suffering (MIDI)

That MIDI has the exact arrangement I used here, including a two-bar count-off, so you’ll probably want to clip parts out. You could also use it to make your own music to fit the clip.

Over in Garageband I put the MIDI file in its own track, then created some real instrument tracks for recording.

I did the recording with an SM 81 mic through a TubeMP preamp via USB into a Macbook. I made the recordings by playing along with the MIDI file, using it to keep everything in sync. The guitar was a National Estralita.

I did three tracks in this order, rhythm guitar, whistling, bottleneck guitar. In the mix I panned rhythm center, whistling and bottleneck on either side. I’m happy to release stems for parts, just ask.

Even though the source song is called “Talk About Suffering”, my version here is called “Rocking Yukon Gold.”

Here’s the mix as an audio file:

Rocking Yukon Gold (MP3)

Rocking Yukon Gold (AIFF)

No Flac or Ogg version today. If any person out there can show me a single additional listen that I’ll get as a result of making them, I’ll make them. I dare you. I want to do it, but I don’t want to be fooling myself.

To make it easy for people who have Garageband to get in there and do whatever they want, I have created a zip file of the multitrack Garageband project. This has the MIDI and all three tracks:

Talk About Suffering (Zip of Garageband project)

My own copyright in this is hereby waived courtesy of the Creative Commons 0:

The person who associated a work with this document has dedicated this work to the Commons by waiving all of his or her rights to the work under copyright law and all related or neighboring legal rights he or she had in the work, to the extent allowable by law.

The CC 0 deal comes out this whole blog conversation about CC 0 that Victor Stone started.

Here’s the foobar for the copyright stuff:


To the extent possible under law, Lucas Gonze
has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to
Rocking Yukon Gold.
This work is published from
United States.

Rocking Yukon Gold

The varmint Soapy Smith lived and died in the hellishly cold northland up by the Russian border and the Soapy blog blogs about a part of the Library of Congress subsite on the joint history of Alaska and Russia which contains a goldmine of information, artifacts, documents and photographs on the Klondike gold rush era history.

I went prospecting in there and stumbled across a a dusty reading room with cowboy-era footage from Alaska. I especially liked an Edison clip from 1901 entitled Rocking Gold in the Klondike.


Thomas A. Edison, Inc., 1901


From a single-camera position, the film shows sluice boxes as they are operated by gold miners in the Klondike gold fields.

Cameraman: Robert K. Bonine; Location: Yukon Terr., Canada

Copyright H4088, May 6, 1901; 31 ft., FLA3065 (print) FRA0408 (neg.)

I though about posting the clip on, and then I thought of Marco Raaphorst’s Klankbeelds, where he does a soundtrack for a photograph, and I decided to do a little soundtrack.

quills => black winds

Instruments that originated among the black population had to be cheap. They used the body: patting juba, whistling, singing. Or they could be made out of materials in the woods, like making banjos from gourds and pipes out of split bark; both of these instruments came from Africa.

This kind of pipe was called “quills.”

I was thinking about black American wind playing influenced by quills, so I made a playlist:

Otha Turner’s fife and drum style is mid- 19th century.
Henry Thomas’ blues quills are early 20th century.
Yusef Lateef’s jazz flute is late 20th century.

Otha Turner -> Everybody Hollerin’ Goat -> Shimmy She Wobble

Henry Thomas -> Texas Worried Blues -> Charmin’ Betsy

Yusef Lateef -> Eastern Sounds -> The Plum Blossom