As the lead guitarist of Carbon Leaf, Carter Gravatt has successfully toured and recorded since 1992, crossing paths with huge names in the music business (Dave Matthews, Blues Traveler, the Avett Brothers, and many more).  What’s especially fascinating about Carter is that he performs not only on electric and acoustic guitars, but also on an incredible number of other instruments including mandolin, banjo, violin, cello, lap steel, pedal steel, bouzouki, hurdy gurdy, dobro, and probably more! In part 2 of 2 of this interview, Joe McMurray and Aaron Sefchick enjoy talking with Carter about songwriting, and approaches to improvisation.
The guys discuss songwriting and look inside Carbon Leaf’s system of collaboration.  They get Carter’s take on improvising as well as his musical influences which include Eric Johnson, Mike Stern, Danny Gatton, Bela Fleck, Earl Scruggs, Mike Marshall, Sam Bush, John Paul Jones, Peter Buck, and old time Appalachian music.
Fun facts: In 2002 Carbon Leaf won an American Music Award for their song “The Boxer.”  They featured Katy Perry in their 2006 music video, “Learn to Fly.”  They recorded music for the 2009 film Curious George 2. In 2002 their music was featured on national commercials for the Pontiac Vibe.  They have played with/crossed paths with other major acts including Dave Matthews, O.A.R., The Avett Brothers, Sister Hazel, Big Head Todd, Blues Traveler, Jason Mraz, and many others.
Find out more about Carter and Carbon Leaf at: https://www.carbonleaf.com/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/carbonleaf/
Welcome back to another episode of Fret Buzz The Podcast. A weekly podcast
where we pull back the veil on all the intricacies of music. Hi, my name is Aaron
Sefchick. Together with my co-host Joe McMurray, we talk about everything under
this musician’s umbrella. In past episodes of Fret Buzz The Podcast we’ve
hit everything from trademark, mastering, building acoustic guitars and touring,
music scenes, public school music, FM radio, military bands, synths and sampling,
concerts and festivals, modding your guitars and amps, finger style music,
schools, classical guitar, recording and mixing, setup and maintenance…
we’ve hit so many things and we plan to hit so many more. I know we’ve got pedal
makers and some pickup makers for guitars, we’ve got a lot in store. If you
do enjoy any of this material, head on over to any one of the social medias and
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The Podcast head on over to Fret Buzz The Podcast Patreon page and take a
gander. As always, thank you so much for listening. It means the world to us. And
without further ado, let’s jump into part 2 with Carter Gravatt from the band
Carbon Leaf on Fret Buzz The Podcast. I was actually going to ask you about that
in terms of your writing style and how that all goes down.
I know Barry had talked about that in a previous episode that he kind of works
in these batches where he’ll have you guys send in a bunch of stuff and maybe
it may or not get used right away or even at all but yeah play with these I
these ideas that you guys have kind of submitted for sometimes even years but
in terms of going through that process of writing how does that all go down for
you how what is your writing process and how do you come up with ideas and
especially when you have so much material under your belt already with
the previous albums do you try to go in a different direction
or how does that all work for you man that’s a great question um I’ve just
kind of I just kind of do whatever wherever kind of my mind is just like
whatever you know instrument or whatever his kind of got my attention at the
moment mom unfortunately like you know like he
said we got hundreds of unfinished songs that Barry has to choose from I mean a
whole lot of material and so what I guess the only only frustrating thing
was would be to not necessarily be too precious about anything because you
might not ever hear it again right um but I just kind of will just write and
I’ll sit you know and I’ll just play heavy thing you know or whatever the
song needs or in my mind you know I’ll just sit around in and you know you know
put down the drum beat and then typically I’ll have a song structure in
head in my head and then just start layering things around it then sometimes
that’ll come back to bite me because you know like the this what you know maybe
I’ll write something on electric guitar but what Barry will be gravitated
towards is you know this banjo thing that I did that was supposed to be in
the background but that’ll all of a sudden come to the forefront and that’ll
be the thing that the melody that he catches and so a tune cannonball like
that but yeah I just kind of um just kind of just I get I guess I because we
had that backlog I’m trying not to be too forceful about things and because of
since there is so much stuff I try to admit things before I think I think that
there if I have the option and before I think they’re ready because if you leave
if you leave out like if one part of it isn’t really like catchy or like doesn’t
feel you know feels forced in like a pre or something like that if there’s just
that one part that doesn’t quite work the whole tune could get you know kicked
out just because it’s like you know it doesn’t feel like it’s all there yet
so you have to sell it yeah well I try to five wait until at least I feel like
all of the things that I can control in it or you know you know maybe there’s
maybe this you know a little intro thing isn’t quite right yet and I’ll just mess
around with it sometimes for up to what you know like a year I’ll just have this
these things that I’ll just kind of chip away at and they’ll be like oh wait all
right that’s ready no I know I see how long will that do that to be I’m in
other stuff that all just kind of you know just kind of throw it together
because you need to be actively you know sometimes you just need to force it
through you need to force yourself to right mm-hmm
because if you don’t if you don’t just push yourself to to do it then you know
you can you can sit on your butt a little bit too much so you are are you
writing throughout the year Berrien also mentioned that you guys do
get together for like I read like a week retreat and you kind of get together and
do stuff so are you bringing things to the table or are you guys how what does
that process look like that so if we’re all getting together there’ll be things
that Hubble I will hold is a little too precious to me and I’ll bring those in
but I’ll try to have things that I have like a few parts for or kind of the
general idea for and then you kind of put those out and see you know how the
others everybody reacts to it and you know because uh once you put you know a
drumbeat to things everything can change you know or a baseline and you know so
how how kind of separate those two things so I’ll always have you know a
half-dozen things that I have kind of in my back pocket in case we get together
for something that we can you know kind of mess around with and then they’ll
also be the things that I definitely want to pursue on my own
just because you know like I said like I’ve seen you sometimes if you force it
you you’ll compromise light if you have one good idea and you force it into a
song all of a sudden you’re gonna have three or four parts that are probably
not gonna be quite what you want and you’re gonna have that one part in there
that you really liked and now that’s kind of stuck in this you know this
clump of music that it’s kind of feel like alright it’s okay but look it saved
that one thing and kind of flushed it out on my own to see where it would have
gone yeah otherwise and then it’s fun to do both because I activate I wouldn’t
write really it was electric guitar by myself just cuz it’s it’s just never
been it’s never musics never works that way for me hmmm electric guitar by
itself is a little little too strident or something you know like rocking out
of my garage by myself with no drums like every now and then I’ll come up but
like stuff like that would be stuff that I would probably save for the flush
outlet like all the guys and how with the other guys throughout the year how
closely do you work with any of the other guys on ideas it really depends
every year is different like the like landscape of what we have to do um
recording wise touring wise rehearsals for tour so it’s just it’s it’s never
it’s never the same right the little pockets of different things will will
pop up when they do but um like as much as like Terry and I sitting down with
guitars and trying to write something it doesn’t happen nearly as much is it is
it used to because you know I’ve got two kids he’s got three when we’re home it’s
like mayhem you know I know it I know all about that games this afternoon at
2:00 yesterday you know I’ve got your hard work I need to do I’m a tramp in my
backyard you know it’s just and every you know and his kids man they
I swear they’re they’re so awesome and they’re doing like five sports at any
given time when we’re doing white one we’re just like oh my gosh you guys are
crushing yeah we feel you know weak like two soccer games that whole family is
like there they were still going they’d had like probably three soccer games I
think they were at ice rink last night for a skating competition and God but uh
so but we’ll carve out times when we can we can do stuff together but you have to
be a little bit more strategic then when you’re a kid and you can kind of like
hey Madeline Sangha drink beer and write tunes yeah which is which is fun too
yeah yeah so when you’re young you really never know how precious the oh
yeah but yeah so we try to manage by the time we have is as well as we can and
you know we’ll get together you know we’ll try to get together when we can
you know throughout the year as a group to do a little bit of writing but with
Jessie in Boston you know we’ve got to fly him down for that sort of stuff soon
he’s your drummer right yeah and that’s also really fun you know when we get to
get together like that and just kind of you know we did I think man I think we
got it maybe it was last October that we got together for a week and did did some
writing and we might have done it earlier this year I can’t remember but
yeah it’s always fun and some of that stuff if you don’t go in with any any
real tunes or you know how wake up in the morning have a cup of coffee and
come up with a couple of different things before I go in and then we’ll
just kind of see what happens and you can you can end up with some so we
really need stuff like that to you know stuff that you never come up with on
your own and that’s always kind of kind of fun too yeah just kind of let it
happen organically pretty much you know and sometimes it can be an enormous
noodle fest that lasts all day and you’re just like man we did not get but
we did have a good time you know but any time like that when you can play
together as a group it is also good you know because obviously you play jazz and
something that sort of you know improving is something you need to
practice you know especially when you’re trying to improvise as a group you know
a lot of the open solo sections live are pretty much improvised so you know just
practicing listening to everybody and kind of everybody’s reading where things
are going like that well that’s just part of it I think that it’s important
even if you don’t get the chance to play with your fellow band members all that
often I think that even taking a you know an amount of time and just allowing
for that noodle faster and just kind of feel off of each other and kind of get
back into that groove as the that’s the band and how to read each other I think
that’s that’s kind of important it’s incredibly important you know that’s
that’s the the part that makes a lot shows like the most fun is having that
chemistry where you know really cool stuff and really cool subtle stuff is
happening you know whether people notice it or not you know like there’s you know
for the people that are listening for that stuff there’s stuff that you know
there’s stuff to listen to him for people that are you know backed up and
listening to the big picture this you know there’s good stuff to listen to umm
but yeah you’re right it’s really important to keep up that you know the
cohesion and the chemistry from you know playing and listening and knowing you
know whichever way you turn you know everybody’s everybody’s gonna catch you
yeah that’s really important for me just to you know like you like we were
talking about jumping from instrument to instrument and then okay you know banjo
fiddle mandolin you know lack steel blah blah blah blah all right now guitar solo
and you just like you know it’s like oh god alright who
let me take it let me catch my breath and let me be creative here alright you
know so it’s that’s you know that’s where it gets that’s some of the tricky
stuff too you know you all the jumping around and then all of a sudden alright
get serious now do something cool yeah everybody’s looking at you like well
they do seems like a big part of this you know when you’re improvising live a
big part of it is energy flow as a unit as a band and you know most you know if
you think of great guitar solos they start out more melodic which seems like
that benefits you you know switching it ends from you have a little moment to
get comfortable before you have to rip any sort of eric johnson licks that yeah
speedy things you want to start out melodic and build yet but you got a in
order to start off like that well melodic has to be in the pocket and
so you have to be relaxed because you can’t be relaxed and melodic if you’re
feeling frantic and you’re you know you’re just like bad i would fool you
know you got it so it’s almost it’s almost easier just to tear into
something that’s that’s like honestly for me that would be the hardest the
harder thing to do is to take that deep breath kick back and be melodic and
musical as opposed to just continue to feed off of that manic energy and just
rip into something you know it’s easier to play fast than it is to play slow
because man there’s so much space mmm you know if you fill it up you know no
problem it’s it’s full if you have to leave it open you have to be strategic
you have to be have somewhere to go it’s gotta make sense it’s gotta feel good
you know that’s that’s the hardest part is to you know take a deep breath you
know get everything under control now breathe now play something musical
alright okay so I have a question in terms of when you are
in this moment of playing something musical and because of your background
and you are a self-taught player and you’ve kind of come from studying all of
these players by ear and I guess my question is is that when you’re playing
and you’re coming up with ideas are you and I I don’t mean this in any bad way
no I just I’m kind of thinking about for any of our listeners out there because
there are so many instructional videos out there and you can learn from this
guy and you can learn from this guy and take lessons from this guy and I’m
trying to think about because your style is very unique and it’s very it’s very
you I don’t know how to explain it any more than that so when you are up on
stage and you’re playing are you taking to account any of the other things that
people are doing like thinking about any one of the other players or is it just
purely like you the whole way and I end with that I guess Part B of the question
would be are your solos are they pre composed or are most of the stuff that
you do on stage improv it is it is pretty much all improv okay OB cues that
I’ll play and a few solos to say to let everybody know hey you know we’re
transitioning to this part now for instance one of the big open ones would
be lay your troubles roll by and there’s a like a will get to a point where I
will play something that will take us into the bridge section which we all
have to hit together you know but it’s it also sets up like a a ramp for us to
build up into that change but that’s not saying that that would be particularly
the crescendo of the solo it’ll just be how we transition out of
it yeah but ever up until I hit that would be improved
and that could be um you ask where is like the way that our bass player John
and and Jesse our drummer the way that they started that could trigger
something different yeah or I could take it in a different direction you know it
always kind of starts with where they said it rhythmically and you know
sometimes it’ll just it’s in the past it’s just drop down and it’s just been
me so you’re purely thinking within the
moment and you’re not necessarily thinking about anybody else in terms of
influences or anything like you’re just in the moment and taking inspiration
from the players within the band and what’s going on within the moment and
you’re just it’s it’s in the moment your your fingers are doing all the talking
it’s gosh that’s such a great question and it’s so hard to say because I need
to be in there with the little gnomes and stuff that are running around oh
yeah yeah yeah but I would say that anything that comes up that coming from
an influence would be somehow derivative of how the guys had started the you know
my hands are super clunky right now but like you know every now and then they’ll
drop it into like this a little bit more of a funk thing I would like super Lila
no it’s okay but you know they could drop it into something that sounds super
funky and it might make me want to do like you know just something kind of you
know funky that would make people nod their head you know that about something
that would totally spontaneously happen because and I have no idea wouldn’t what
I was just I mean I haven’t had enough coffee and I haven’t played yet today um
but you know it might inspire something like that or it could end up being like
a really you know start off a little more gentle with like a
beautiful lot of like you’re sliding around a lot of like double stop thirds
and stuff it sounds really nice that’s what I’m talking about you’re not
thinking about any of that you’re just you’re just playing no I’m just I’m
making the sounds that I want to hear in my head like I know what those things
sound like and I couldn’t tell you what they were but I know that I think
there’s a monk yeah yeah this is your chromatic thirds that you’re sliding
down
hey I’m doing an interview but I like to kind of say hi yeah she should come yeah
um this is my daughter Sophie Sophie but Sophie – Sophie play anything oh very
good
oh yeah I see your shirt that’s awesome well good luck today
yeah um but uh yeah it’s just if so that would be like the best way that I could
you know it’s just how it starts and sometimes how it starts if it does if it
starts a new trip that’s the worst it’s like recovering from like Oh a bad
start for me sometimes can be the roughest thing I just have to stop for a
second and then you know back in but um yeah you know just any of those
different and that’s just the one the one that one tuned but you know just
however it starts will kind of dictate how I might it might unfold but that’s
all kind of improvised that’s what you’re thinking like the other day it’s
it seemed like you you knew that you were playing like mixolydian or you do I
mean you understand all that yeah
because I don’t quite you know I’ve never really really gotten a hold of it
I’ve played a little jazz but it’s like you know you know I got no business
doing it but it’s still kind of fun but it’s one of those things we were talking
about it so if you don’t use it you lose it like and playing over like complex
chords and over changes is you know and having something interesting to say as
opposed to like holding on like the cat you know going down the side of building
agree you know that you know that’s that’s a
whole nother a whole other thing yeah there’s a point I’ve got a
something of a handle on on some of that stuff but I couldn’t tell you exactly
what like definitely a when you’re playing over jazz changes I find like
for a long period at least for me I was having to play it is like you you can
visualize the block a few measures that’s you know two five one or uh you
know you’re in one key for a little period of time and you can kind of play
a lick in that key and then you kind of like you start over on the next when you
change keys if you like play a new lick over that yeah what gets really fun is
when you start to be able to play a lick that crosses through that key change
yeah that’s the and that’s that’s when you start playing music as opposed to
plain shapes yeah yeah you can definitely when people have come out of
jazz school and they’re you know you’ve got that library of two five one lakes
that you’re kind of straining straining together three Tunes but know what notes
changing in the next chord and you can play continue playing the lick you were
playing the interesting notes better in that chord and you know hearing somebody
like you know Stern play and you can hear him heading for chord that’s like
nine bars away yeah but you you know where it’s going oh you know he does
that over vamps he’ll like you’ll hear him infer the chords and the cadences
even if it’s just like a two five you know an a minor seven to d7 over and
over he’ll he’ll play like and like in a liquid has that harmine harmonic minor
minor cadence to get you to the a minor he does things it’s just like amazing
over a to five yeah and I love Wolfman I can’t I mean they’re not practicing that
guy has done over the years would I kill most people um but uh I love his writing
to he consistently writes I think some of the best heads like every everything
he puts out will have like at least – I love that I love the head – that one
there’s that big neighborhood record he did that tune he did was modeski Martin
would I think it’s called check one that’s just such a great that’s a great
head give and take had some had some great ones on it one-liners and gosh
that’s like the second track I think was really great but anyway the first stern
record somebody gave me with bandits now it’s just oh dear Lord
great a sir is just like Mach five just say okay Danny Gavin’s got a great
version well you needn’t on a record with a a III player that’s just
murderously quick that’s a monk teen right yep have to listen to that one
yeah it’s so good well I got I got to see uh Mike Stern in New York City over
Christmas it was a V iridium oh really at a Midtown area and he’s just like it
was wonderful and then I got to talk to him afterwards it was just like I was so
happy he’s like the sweetest dude he is incredibly nice just so monstrous do you
know Adam Rogers no oh you gotta check him out he is spectacular
he’s uh I think placed a Chris Potter a lot okay he’s got some his own solo
stuff and he put out a thing that’s got uh uh Nate playing drums um I think it’s
called dice or something like that but he’s a he’s a great he’s a great guitar
player and he’s one of the guys duh I don’t I feel like sometimes he can like
jazz guys playing anything else you it’s a jazz guy playing something else and
like with him oh no it is a fork the first fourth record fo RQ uh it’s a tune
called rap that starts it off and he’s on that record but he’s a he’s a great
guitar player yeah check that Adam Rogers Adam Rogers this it’s always
such a wonderful thing when you like find out about a new guitarist or
musician in general the year you never heard of and you listen you’re like like
how did I make it the last 31 years or whatever like and just doing this it’s
so it’s I feel like it’s so much better easier now than one when I was coming up
and count being in this little you know I’ve been in this band since I was 18 so
ah I mean and I was coming from you know a little teeny little town like an hour
and a half from Richmond so finding all this stuff was pretty
hard like burying Terry hit me two ton of stuff I’d never heard like ah the
first Sun Bowl record the Uncle Tupelo stuff the Pogues which got me you know
from there I went to like the bossy band and planks tea and all sorts of cool
stuff but yeah it’s all men it’s all who you know people hipping you to stuff
that’s how you find like the coolest stuff like that accident with Barry and
in the bailiff leg record you know that was life changing and you know I was the
record is the right time but yeah uh finding those those those people you
know when you find somebody like that that you’re just like oh my you know
that’s creatively like the best ever when you just can dive in and you’ve got
like this wealth of stuff that they put out that you didn’t even know was there
and all of a sudden you have like ten records to listen to and you’re just
completely overwhelmed with you know ideas and questions you know that stuff
is yeah that’s so great that was a big when I first got into Erik Johnson that
was how I felt I just liked it my entire style of playing changed and I like was
working on it so much that now my natural tendencies are Eric Johnson II
oh really it used to be more like this kind of
Stevie Ray Vaughn thing which shifted to this kind of I was studying Paul Gilbert
a lot and like it keeps changing based on who I get obsessed with but
right now like when I do things I just like spit out kind of topic fives and
like but I mix them with Jack I try to mix them with jazzy things and that’s
the funny thing so many people have dissected that now and I never I never
did but you’ve got a sound which is kind of why I like bringing him up I’ve never
thought about the five thing until somebody told me to check out this guy
Troy Grady yeah yeah oh if I got it yes die he is gone so far down the rabbit
hole man I think he’s probably coming out the other side I’ve never had the
patience for like to dissect things like that but it’s it was certainly like the
little stuff that I want she was just fascinating and you know he’s so
enthusiastic about a whole thing and its really kind of infectious she Wow no but
I had never thought of that sort of thing and seen how he had he divided
things up and I still don’t particularly pay attention but I can hear it now
in people’s playing when people are like dropping in like a run like that I’m
like oh they’re running that five thing because now that I heard him play now I
hear it in a different way than then I heard it more as a cohesive like
passages previously as opposed to like breaking down into into chunks and I
don’t I don’t alternate pick I mean I don’t economy do economy picking which
is I think what a lot of that stuff you have to do that dad and sweeping I don’t
know either unless it’s an accident um so the way
that I incorporate that stuff is still I would guess if it’s sounding that way
I’m still playing straight alternate picking or I have somehow subconsciously
thrown in a pull off or I’m doing something different with my left hand as
opposed to changing our hand because I’m probably too old to learn too
learn economy picking I did a master class at Jimmy Bruno once that was the
thing it was like well you know that’s all fair and good but you know you need
to you know yeah that’s all yeah did you have so that’s so interesting so a Barry
was Barry came out to me he was like when did you when did you when were you
influenced by Eric Johnson and you know you knew Barry now you would know that I
would go come again not a normal question he’d ask I don’t know but I
guess you had asked him there mentioned that to him and so yeah do you have any
questions about that stuff er yeah well I’m a little fuzzy on how I would have
done that but yeah well you got to clear up the backstory there when I saw you
guys for our listeners when I saw you guys it in Virginia Beach
you were playing a guitar solo and I was like I heard Eric Johnson in your
playing I think it was you know it was the spread that route 5th and then the
high third up an octave so it’s a tenth I heard those things I heard maybe that
yeah I heard that stuff and even in your some of your lead lines I really you’re
doing like I mean it’s it’s what you hear Eric Johnson doing that sound and
so I was I was really excited because I love that sound doesn’t matter who’s
doing it it’s just beautiful and I asked Barry about it and he he must have
reached out to you but yes so those spread thirds you were showing me the
other day do you want to show people that yeah we were talking about that and
it was a great way if Terry was playing you know just strumming a chord and you
don’t want to strum you’re developing yes all right well what do I do if he’s
doing there’s a song called Texas stars that’s
on love lost hope repeat and when we were in the studio it was this really
happy spirit tune when I wrote the demo when we got in the studio the producer
who produced like Rush and saw like that I was like I’d like it you know I wanted
it to rock a little more believe it or not and so I came up I had to come up
with something on the spot to play alright so I came up with kind of this I
was using something like that which is probably pretty Harry Johnson mm-hmm
but I was trying to take a melody that was you know super SuperDuper mellows
like
so I took that and then converted that into tho but yeah those kind of just
kind of if Terry strumming a C chord you know you’re creating so much texture
underneath a simple C chord a little bit and it kind of creates a neater of what
neater more neatest kind of kind of platform and especially without you know
keys or anything else kind of harmonically going on behind it it’s
kind of you know trying to find it a different a different way to kind of
fill the space and have it be pretty and musical and you were just jumping around
from different inversions of a C chord there right that’s all that is all just
C chord just a regular
but um you know and that was partially me just kind of figuring out the
fingerboard on my own as well just moving things around and figuring out
where everything would stack up and kind of work out yeah yeah love it
what’d you say did that make any sense yeah yeah I mean it just shows the power
of learning your inversions
that was it’s beautiful playing but yeah I don’t I don’t know I don’t do a lot of
pentatonic stuff we were talking about that and I think and some of that might
be reactionary because when I was just learning everybody was listening to
Stevie Ray Vaughan and kind of doing that thing and you know doing it better
than I you know like gived role was coming out of Virginia Beach or had been
got ACC him when I was in high school years before I had a guitar just oh um
but you know everybody’s doing that now it’s kind of like well what’s up here
and I was also a big Peter Buck fan so for me like as far as I knew like lead
guitar hinted with like the intro to driver eight or you know something like
that you know you know Peter Buck was like
the big guy for me so it took me a while to get from you know thinking that
that’s you know that’s like the pinnacle of lead guitar playing to going huh
actually this quiet quite a bit out here huh you know how you do doors blown off
when you see what else is out there but but yeah so not not a ton of pentatonic
stuff probably a lot of mixolydian stuff I would imagine because when it works
I’ll use that fly seven
but I guess a little bit a little bit of everything almost literally because of
like I like we were talking about you know so with the chromatic stuff mm-hmm
again not being warmed up I’ll just make a fool of myself
but you know just kind whatever is kind of the kitchen sink simple I guess but
no not a ton of like straight straight pentatonic stuff yeah you can see the
mixolydian like you’ve got that pennant major pentatonic box with the flat seven
but you’re also doing this you’re walking those thirds down chromatically
yeah got a great sound too you’d probably have a better idea
it sounds good another cup of coffee like I said the other day I you’ve got a
flow to your playing that I I like but I said this the other day too but I like I
when I’m playing I I know I can I can pull off some like fast licks to get me
from one place to another and then I tend to like try to milk a spot and like
be melodic in a kind of an area wherever I happen to land a lot of times yeah but
you tend to like you can play out a lot like you can stay busy and kind of keep
going like it flows well
yeah sounds great yeah yeah I think all your fans would agree like as he sat
around learning by yourself for so long that around watching like old horror
movies and just new yeah yeah but yeah I was telling you the guy that introduced
me to Callahan he we were playing in Nashville one time and he did this one
chromatic thing that just kind of linked to different spots where he was on the
fingerboard and that was kind of thing for me and it opened up that that
probably a combination of that and this guitar player named David career who is
an acoustic player who I just man he’s just fantastic he’s like a more dresser
he is gotta listen to him play because all the stuff that he gets going on it’s
like like joke pass or something I mean you just like there’s so much coming at
you it’s just just kind of mind-blowing if he can take the simplest melody and
turn it into the most incredibly complex and cool thing it’s just remarkable but
learning I think I’m pretty sure it was from him but linking different parts of
the fingerboard with open strings
I say it you are you playing the melody on the lower strings and hybrid picking
the open B and E strings fingers but I’m also using a lot of open strings so that
creates so you go so that adds like some some real space between the intervals
that you’re using and it it’s just kind of thrown in
I don’t know it’s hard I don’t really have like a specific example I’m trying
to figure out what I would be doing that I would use it I usually the tongue
acoustic guitar but I also started using it on electric for some of those and it
kind of works kind of kind of move yourself around you can do that but yeah
just you know find it find it different ways to get kind of move yourself maybe
yourself around a little bit and thrown in those open strings it kind of changes
things I’m too lazy to go over and turn off the game that’s on there it sounds
it makes a lot more sense if the guitars a little bit cleaner
um but yeah that and you know the chromatic stuff animal stuff like
that’s cool for anybody is listening it’s it’s worth checking out the YouTube
video to see what his hands are doing
well yeah little things that you’ll pick up that you can kind of find ways to
incorporate to make things like would just work a little bit better and that’s
I guess some of that stuff helped to kind of argue if I’m if I’m here
what uh what kind of you know say you’re you’re in Jane then you’re you know
playing it almost like soloing kind of that deep position if you I guess what
if they call it the cage system mm-hmm did that but I can I see it
now when people are asking me how are you how are you what are you thinking
there I guess I was like well I guess you could look at it kind of like a D
chord but yeah wants you that and if you’re
yeah a lot of stuff in there you know that you can use but it certainly got
its harmonically really compact in a very very small area so you need to get
out of there and spread something out right after or before it just cuz
otherwise you know it’s like the Tasmanian Devil running my circle yeah
man yeah can we I there was a question I wanted to ask you earlier that I never
got to but going back to this songwriting idea or the songwriting it’s
a big big topic but I’ve in my period as a full-time musician at there’s songs
that I wrote early on that were like my most they were kind of like what I
wanted to naturally play and I got those songs out and now when I’m writing I try
not to it’s like I don’t want to do that again even though I know I could write
another song that’s similar that would probably be better than their the first
one I wrote like that but I just feel like it’s too too much of the same idea
so I always whenever I sit down to write something I’m trying to write something
different which makes it extremely difficult because I’m always trying to
look for some you know I want to put out something that sounds new with you guys
writing so many songs over so many years I mean are you trying to create
something new are you trying to just create the best melody even if it’s got
kind of a similar vibe to something absolutely things absolutely that like
if you I mean if you do a better version of something that you party on then you
have a better version of something you’ve already done so you can kind of
disregard the original I mean if you if you start doing that you box yourself in
so quickly with a lack of options that it’s just I would think it would be
creatively stifling you know I’ve plagiarized myself more than you know
anyone but you know I I think that would be detrimental to the creative process
just it’s like starting to have an idea and like whacking it down
you know before you’ve seen it through and you don’t know how it’s gonna turn
out in the end and maybe it’s you know you end up with a song structure and you
know lyrics or anything that are very divergent and all you have to do is go
back and change the guitar part or maybe you can change one chord or whatever but
no you should I would never never recommend self editing in that kind of
way it’s always good to be like I’m hyper critical of myself and I’m my own
worst critic but at the same time you gotta balance that with creativity and
what you might find pursuing you know never never sidelines an idea because
you’ve you’ve used these changes before I mean good lord how many saw is there
only 12 notes I mean and how many songs have been written with a 1.5 quart you
know millions it’s you know it’s all probably gonna sound like something at
this point but man always always see it through and you know follow up follow
every little every little chunk that you get it you know it’s gonna lead you
somewhere cool and if it doesn’t you can bookmark it for later and come back to
it but yeah I don’t think that’s that’s terribly healthy it’s good to be aware
of and always you know be aware of what you’ve done and you know ok well that’s
kind of like this so that’s kind of like this but don’t think I’ll never I would
I would say it will be a good idea to just Stonewall yourself cuz you’re gonna
build yourself a really small box Rison oh that’s the way that’s the way it
would seem to me I’m sorry I took a I but do you ever when yours
sitting down to write a song do you ever decide like you want to get away from
mixolydian kind of sounds or whatever like do you ever try to use something
that sounds spant you know like you use Phrygian and you
get that Spanish sound or like try to get like that Egyptian sound or I don’t
know just different you know you listen to guys like Joe Satriani he’s like
creating melodies with that sharp for to get that Lydian sound in it it’s a lot
of times I have’t eight towards that because I feel like there’s something I
can find a melody there I’ve yet to create some purely instrumental music or
music that’s going into a more of a singer-songwriter kind of thing can be
both but I have this dream of writing like a really good vocal melody and
Lydian and I just haven’t haven’t found it yet but I’m working on it yeah I
don’t you know I don’t I don’t think I’ve probably gone out to far on the
sour notes um I I think the things that I do that are probably a little quirk
here is I tend to write melodies across the bar which is a bit frustrating for
the guys in the band sometimes but that would be I think probably the more like
eclectic way that I would take things as far as instead of using like a you know
really tense notes I’ll tend to write a melody that will like run across like if
you’re listening to the melody it’s in time but if you try to play drums with
it or you start to try to play the song you’re like wait a minute what’s what’s
going on but yeah I don’t I don’t think so and it might only be because I don’t
tend to write with overly heavy chord voicings because I think that directs
Barry a little too hard melodically so I try
not to do too much leading like that and he’s gotten to the point
now that I think a lot of times he prefers having like no melodic guitar
stopper you know depending you know if like an old-time fiddle tune obviously
there’s gonna be fiddle and stuff like that like the gathering stuff but likes
to have like a lot more of a clean palette to work from as opposed to
having like like a lot of creative guitar stuff going on behind it which
very much influences which way his more he thinks the his melody kick out yeah
then you can go in and put it in yeah use written the melody I’ll put in stuff
after that’s dude that’s a lot trickier than uh like writing stuff where I can
just kind of you know put in all the cool little ideas in there or just more
just writing for fun for me but uh I don’t think so I’m trying to think if
I’d even ever really put much of like a flat seven or anything I think I think
most things that I would do melodically are pretty pretty simple like even with
like a tune then we had a song called Alcatraz the intro is like still within
the you know the basic harmonic structure of all the chords that it
would be sitting over but you know really jumping like that octave yeah
that’s a adds such a cool even though you use what do you guys call the second
night hazel Evans so doing the country beds it’s a little tricky
so so that’s nice like a thousand times in the song it sounds like three beers
you know please please please find it sounds better when you really sting it
too so yeah you go you go one two firing line do you guys drink much while you
play not really we’re pretty lame well let’s see I mean
there’s the you know sometimes it helps you gel with the crowd at least me but
then it quickly turns into sloppiness well yeah and you know I might have a
couple of like light beers before the show but you know enough to give me
enough you know courage to get on stage and go okay dude I can play all these
things and get it done but yeah not not you know every now and then things will
get a little carried away Terry Terry prefers it when I when I drink heavily
because that’s like Timmy the restrictor plate off the red dragon yeah twice
twice the notes in half the time and stuff can get a little bit more there
you go for things that your left may be going for oh yeah well you know they
have a few drinks in you kind of stop you know judging and everything that you
do while you’re doing you know that’s a lot to do is come up with stuff to play
it and judge it all the time and kick yourself you know it’s a mighty job but
yeah so not not accessible I you know I wish I had a story it’s
okay this is this has been wonderful I’ve had a blast I think you’ve been
incredibly yeah good to have on the show you’ve got a great sense of humor yeah
yeah well thank you sir it’s been yeah it’s been fun
yeah thank you so much for your time yeah well you guys have a great day and
I’ll be okay oh thanks Carter hey guys yeah thank you

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