Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Song for Liam

Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Song for Liam

Article excerpt

Many guitarists write music with their instruments in hand, letting their fingers suggest new melodies and figures. But for Buck Curran, an American fingerstylist and composer based in Italy, the compositional process usually begins abstractly. "Everything seems to come visually as musical threads or complete melodies in my mind," Curran says. "I hear the music in my head first-usually on walks around town or in nature, or while driving-and then I'm quite anxious to grab my guitar and find out where to best play the notes on the fretboard."

That's how Curran arrived at "Song for Liam," the lead track from his latest album, Morning Haikus, Afternoon Ragas (ESP-Disk'/ Obsolete Recordings), a meditation on fatherhood and the passage of time. Curran says that "Song for Liam" emerged from memories of his firstborn son, who is now 20. "Liam used to run around the back yard of our house in Maine like a wild young colt. For me, those memories are still so vivid that they often feel like something I'm presently experiencing. So, as I heard the music that became 'Song for Liam,' I imagined the melodies in lilting, galloping rhythms. The bittersweet feeling of remembering those moments is what is most important for setting the mood of the composition."

To transfer "Song for Liam" from his mind to the guitar-namely, a Yamaha F310, a modest instrument whose heavy overtone content appeals to him-Curran chose DADGAD tuning, with a capo at the third fret, exploiting the open strings for both melodic and textural effect. …

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