“Solitary Man” was written by Neil Diamond. The reason I know this is because my mom listened to Neil Diamond growing up. In fact, there may, or may not, be a picture that exist that features a very young NickelNDime in his pajamas, serenading his stuffed animal to, “You Don't Bring me Flowers.”
Yes, it happened.
Having this much exposure to Neil Diamond's catalog, I was well aware of, “Solitary Man” but never thought or cared that much of it. That was until I heard Johnny Cash's version. Around the late 90's early 2000's, Cash released a series of albums known as the American recordings. These albums featured Cash covering well known songs and that's where I heard the version that I fell in love with. Recently, I was listening to Cash's version and the intro lick on guitar caught my attention.
I wanted to figure it out and play it but I ran into a little problem. Every video or guitar website I looked at had the intro lick inaccurate or just completely wrong. So, I had to go through the task of figuring it out note for note. Expect a guitar lesson on the intro and chords very shortly after this blog.
Once I figured it out, I would play along with the Johnny Cash version. As I played along with it, I thought to myself, Man, this would be fun to record and make my own version of it. My only reservation to this is when I would try to sing low like Johnny Cash, I would sound like a prepubescent boy trying to sound like his nugs had dropped.
*Actual picture of me trying to sing like Johnny Cash.
As I came to the conclusion that maybe I wouldn't be able to sing it the way I wanted it to sound, I began looking for other solutions. It was around this time that I discovered Tom's Cinnamon channel, particularly this video. Eureka! I thought to myself, I'm sure Tom will want to sing on this cover even though I've never talked to him before. Nick- you, my friend, are a genius!
That night, as I lay in bed in my jammies, self doubt started to creep in...
Inner Voice: Psst...
NickelNdime: Who's that?
IV: It's your inner voice here to bring you some self doubt. Nice to see you again.
NickelNDime: Oh raspberries, not you again!
IV: So, I understand you want to ask a complete stranger to sing on your rhythm track. Have you considered that he might laugh at you, because well... come on.
NickelDime: SHUT UP, INNER VOICE!!! I HATE YOU!!!
*Grace rolled over*
Grace: Nick, it is three in the morning, who the heck are you talking to?
NickelNDime: Never mind babe, go back to sleep. Stupid inner voice, getting me in dutch with the Mrs.
The next day I contacted Tom on social media and he expressed interest in working with me on this project. After a couple days he laid down the vocals to my rhythm track using the Choirless application, designed by this guy. It was sounding good but it was still missing something...
I've known James for over twenty years. We both taught guitar out of a small music shop a long time ago. Correction, I taught guitar, and James taught: guitar, bass, mandolin, beginner piano, etc... James is one of those musicians that is just a gifted player, and to top it off, he's a humble person. That goes a long way in my book. We actually played a couple gigs back in the day. One that comes to mind, is when we played with a retired boxer. (Story coming soon!) I also hired him to play at my wedding reception:
If you didn't have bluegrass musicians at your wedding, then I'm not surprised if your marriage ended in divorce.
If you're asking yourself, “Wait Nick, you didn't play at your own wedding?” Here you go...
One of the few pictures of me without my hat. I have to wear it at all times or ladies cannot control themselves when they are around me. Blast these rugged good looks!
One of the reasons I also liked working on this project was because it was the first project that I used people that I've met in person, and people that I've met over the internet or in the Cinnamon and Coil community. Although I was hesitant when I threw it together, I was extremely happy with the results. Take a listen!
Seeing as this went better than I expected, my plan is to get more musicians that I know, and more people in the Cinnamon and Coil community, together and see what I can throw together! I already have some ideas.
Thanks again to Tom and James for lending their talents to this project. Oh, and Matt for writing software to make this all possible.
Take it easy, but take it!
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