Thursday, September 5, 2013

Stories woven into the songs on Greenwood, From Stevie Tombstone

Stevie Tombstone has started to deliver many of his road weary tales from his new tumblr page More Tombstone Tales. We will be re-posting them on this end as well so keep up with ol' Stevie and have a read on what has made him into the well regarded old soul that he is.

Legendary blues man Johnny Shine
"There are often little things that get overlooked or left out of the behind the music type postings and interviews. Trivial to some or too technical for those who are outside the craft. Often the inside jokes and surprises are the best because they are real.

Heres an example you may find interesting, shortly after the eventful trip to Greenwood Mississippi with Rick Richards and Johnny Shines  Before his death I had the pleasure of becoming friends with Johnny and his family to some degree. I played several other shows with him and Jeff Johnson  around Tennessee and Alabama. Johnny enthralled audiences with tales of his younger days traveling with Robert Johnson and claim to the last undocumented Johnson tune.I remember him bursting into my hotel room at 6 am one morning in brand new pinstripe suit guitar in hand exclaiming ” get up white boys and break out those fancy new guitars”. Hungover and bewildered we broke into Sweet Home Chicago out of a dead sleep! You can make up stuff like that and they don’t make characters of his caliber anymore .

Being young and outgoing I was often guilty of stepping on the songs with occasional overplaying and or “rushin” it as he would say. Johnny would send us off with is guitar two sheets in the wind out side to to the dressing room with instructions to tune it to various keys, mostly hard to decipher and usually we just scratched our heads. The key most requested was open A flat. This was not a common tuning and the answer was simple but too simple to see the woods for the trees. His goal was accomplished however by keeping us off the stage for a few songs.

Years later while working on the song Greenwood  realized the answer was very simple and only required a new point of view A flat = G sharp in music terms. He had had the last laugh long after his passing. All we needed was a capo and some humility. The characters in this tale are woven into the last verse of the song Greenwood and Its been recorded and arranged in Johnny’s favorite key of G sharp."

‘“Me and Richards we dont talk about it, Johnnys in the mansion in the sky”

Stevie Tombstone