Hot Koko is the “band” Jude and I formed when we started to learn playing music a couple of years ago. A band— with two people? Really? Why?
Here is why…
It is fun. Music, for us, is about play, it is about imagination it is about bringing new sounds and feelings and ideas into the world. Plus. Why not?
Part of the fun comes with the way that playing music changes the way we listen to music. We listen much more actively now. We are interested in how the music makes us feel, how it goes together, what it is trying to say. If we like a song, the next question is: “Could we do this song?” Usually, the answer is no.
When we were in the early stages of choosing songs for this CD we fell in love with two songs by the Horseflies. Great band, great sound, check them out. The two songs we liked are off Until the Ocean, the Horseflies’ most recent CD . “Build a House Then Burn is Down” and “Veins of Coal.” We tried to learn these songs but, somehow, couldn’t capture their essence. The Horseflies have a really dense multi-layered sound that two people playing acoustic instruments have a hard time re-creating.
We listened to thousands of songs and settled on twelve that we wanted to learn and record. The name of the CD is “Wayfaring.” Here is the final song list…
1) Stagger Lee– an instrumental version of a 19th Century murder ballad.
2) Catfish John– a 1950’s country and western tune
3) Songbird— a Fleetwood Mac ballad
4) Ten Cent Pistol– hard driving blues about a woman scorned
5) Spike Drivers’ Blues— an instrumental version of the “John Henry” legend
6) Things AIn’t Like They Used to Be— a wistful reflection on life’s changes
7) Shady Grove— old time fiddle tune with a story of love and loss
8) Tobin’s Favourite— a Celtic lullabye
9) Sixteen Tons— Merle Travis’ legendary coal mining song
10) Where Will You Be— a heart-rending ballad written by Sara Watkins
11) Swallowtail Jig— a lively Celtic dance tune
12) Wayfaring Stranger— a 18th century story of hope and yearning
The project is being mixed tomorrow and then, hopefully, I’ll be able to post some tunes on the blog.