I'll Fly Away
The song of the week is 'I'll Fly Away' in the key of G.
Del McCoury Band - key of Bb
Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch - key of D
Bill Evans, Jason Homey, Janet Beasley, & Gary Eller - key of A (starts at 0:51)
Jason Homey & The Snake River Boys - key of G (starts at 12:37)
Jason Homey and the Snake River Boys, IBA Open Mic, 4/23/19 - YouTube
The first, third, and fourth recordings come closer than what the second does to how I'll Fly Away has usually been played and sung at the jam, both in terms of where the breaks occur in the song, and the vocal harmony arrangement.
Here are three youtube jam videos I have made for I'll Fly Away. I recommend starting with the one listed first. In that one, I am on guitar.
Jason’s YouTube Links – Alphabetical Listing – Parisology (cyberplasm.com)
The chord progression for I'll Fly Away is:
This is Progression V3 on the 'Basic Chord Progressions' handout, and is the same progression that is used for 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken', 'Mountain Dew', 'Cryin' Holy' 'When My Time Comes To Go', the chorus of 'It's Mighty Dark To Travel', some versions of 'Sitting On Top Of The World', and many other songs.
Since 13 out of the 16 measures of this progression consist of 1s, memorizing the progression need not involve anything more than just remembering the location of the 4s and the location of the 5 within the progression.
In the key of G: 1 = G, 4 = C, 5 = D. For the 1, 4, and 5 chords for each of the other 7 keys that the song may be played in at the jam, refer to the beginner jam Nashville Number Charts handout included in the files. (Scroll down to the very bottom of this email message for the files.)
While the chord progression is the same for both the verse and the chorus of I'll Fly Away, the melody of the chorus differs from the melody of the verse. The spots that differ are the whole first line, and on the Del McCoury Band recording, and in the way that I have sung the chorus at the jams (and on the Snake River Boys recording and on the jam videos), also in the first two measures of the 3rd line. ('When I die': the ascending sequence of D, E, and G notes when in the key of G, instead of the descending sequence of B, G, and D notes that the 3rd line of the verse melody begins with.)
In ascending order of pitch, when played and sung in G, the notes that make up the melody for the verses are: D, E, G, A, B, C, and the notes that make up the melody for the chorus are: D, E, G, A, B, C, D, with the high D note being the note that the chorus starts on. To see what these notes would be for the 7 other keys that I'll Fly Away may be played in at the jam, refer to the Nashville Number System Charts handout in the files at the bottom of this email, notes 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 4 on the larger of the two charts.
In the files at the bottom of this write-up, I have provided the verse melody as a guide for creating melody-based breaks for each of the instruments; but since the progression is the same for both the verse and the chorus, if you know the chorus melody and would like to play a break that is based upon the chorus melody instead of the verse melody, feel free to do so, just not at the beginning of the song for the intro break. This can make the song a bit more interesting, especially when two breaks are played back to back, or after several breaks have been already been played in the song that have been based upon the verse melody, and it will work in the context of the collective breaks that we play at the beginner jam, since the chorus melody is for the most part harmonious with the verse melody.
An example of a chorus melody-based banjo break sandwiched between two verse melody-based occurs on the Snake River Boys recording. The chorus melody-based banjo break happens right after the guitar break.
Here is an instrumental recording of I'll Fly Away that contains both verse and chorus breaks on each instrument: banjo (key of G), guitar (key of C), fiddle (key of F), mandolin (key of Bb), dobro (key of Eb), banjo (key of G):
Bluegrass '96 - Scott Vestal, Aubrey Haynie, Wayne Benson, Jeff Autry, Rob Ickes, & Mark Schatz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5joNSHVKzg
I welcome harmony singers to sing not only on the choruses, but also on the second and fourth lines of the verses (the 'I'll Fly Aways'), like on the first and third recordings given here. Please remember though that when singing harmony, it is important to be focused on the lead singer as much as possible for the sake of timing, tuning, and phrasing.
In the files (see the bottom of this email), I have included a simple three part harmony arrangement for the choruses (the notes for the 'I'll Fly Aways' in the verses are identical with the notes for the 'I'll Fly Aways' in the choruses, so I have not included a harmony arrangement for those parts of the verses in the attachments.) There are more interesting note choices that one could use for the harmony parts than what I have written here, but for the sake of those who are just beginning to learn to sing harmony, I have tried to keep the parts as simple and straightforward as possible.
On the harmony sheet, the notes for the tenor harmony are the highest of the groups of three notes on the staff, the notes for the baritone harmony are the lowest, and the melody is the middle set of notes. If it suits your vocal range better, you may drop the tenor harmony part an octave to create the harmony part that is known in bluegrass as the 'low tenor', or you may raise the baritone harmony an octave higher to create the harmony part that is known in bluegrass as the 'high baritone'.
On the third recording provided here, Bill, Janet, Gary, and I took turns singing the lead on the solo parts (the first and third lines) of the verses, but we each stuck to a given part when singing together on the chorus and on the second and fourth lines of the verses: Bill sang the melody, Janet sang the tenor harmony, I sang the baritone harmony, and Gary sang bass.
For songs like I'll Fly Away that use a progression that ends with two measures of the 1 chord, and in which the last syllable is sung at the beginning of the first of these two measures (which includes the overwhelming majority of the non-instrumental songs on the current main list and additional songs list), it is common for a two-measure ending lick to be played on the instruments during the last two measures of the progression when the song is going to end. In most cases, this means the last two measures of the final chorus (or, for songs that don't have a chorus, the final verse) of the song.
In the files, I have included a chart of simple two-measure endings in the key of G for fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, and bass that will work for all of the songs that fit into this category, except for the ones played in 3/4 time.
Notice that the last note played in each of the endings coincides with the beginning of the second half of the last measure. (For 3/4 time songs, appropriate ending licks would have their last note coincide with the beginning of the last measure.)
19 songs were played at last night's jam: 13 from the main list, and 6 from the additional songs list:
Blue Ridge Cabin Home - A
Buffalo Gals - A
Bury Me Beneath The Willow - G
Cripple Creek - A
Foggy Mountain Top - G
I'll Fly Away - G
Little Birdie - Bb
Mama Don't Allow - A
A Memory Of You - Bb
My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains - G
Shortnin' Bread - G
Soldier's Joy - D
Will The Circle Be Unbroken - G
Down The Road - E
Hand Me Down My Walking Cane - G
Little Cabin Home On The Hill - Bb
Lonesome Road Blues - G
Mountain Dew - G
Wreck Of The Old '97 - D
I'll Fly Away - melody in G
I'll Fly Away - banjo tab
I'll Fly Away - guitar tab
I'll Fly Away - mandolin tab
I'll Fly Away - harmony in G
Endings for most songs in G
Nashville Number System Charts
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