Song of the Month
The song of the month for the upcoming intermediate jam at the Powderhaus on Wednesday, Jan. 12th, is the John Reischman tune 'Salt Spring' in the key of A.
(Other songs that I'll end up calling at the jam in January will most likely be very straightforward ones that have been played many times in the past at the jams: e.g., I Saw The Light, I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand, Long Journey Home, but which ones of these types of songs I call will depend on who else shows up for the jam, and what songs have already been called by others before my turns at the jam.)
John Reischman and the Jaybirds - Saltspring - YouTube
John Reischman and Eli West play Salt Spring for Get Up in the Cool - YouTube
Form & Progression
Before the final break, the form for Salt Spring is AABB, with the A-Part being twice as long as the B- Part. The form for the final break is AABBBB.
The chord progression for Salt Spring is:
1 1 1 1
2m 2m 2m 6m
2m 2m 2m 4
4 4 1 1
(In the key of A: 2m = Bm; 6m = F#m. In the key of G: 2m = Am; 6m = Em.)
Melody & Breaks
In the attachments, I have included melody sheets for Salt Spring that consist of what my ear hears, after listening closely to several different John Reischman performances of the tune, as being the basic melodic content of Reischman's opening break(s) for Salt Spring. On the recordings, Reischman hammers into many of these melody notes, usually from whatever note happens to be the next lowest note in the Major Scale relative to his target note. E.g., hammering from a B note to a C# melody note, or from an A note to a B melody note, or from an E note to an F# melody note. (In adapting this to the banjo and the guitar, I find myself replacing some of these hammers with slides, when it involves going from one fretted note to another fret note.)
Beginning & Ending
Notice how the tune begins and ends on the recordings. There is no pickup phrase leading into the opening break. So, unless one chooses to add one in when kicking off the song at the jam, it is best to count into the opening break. An effective way to do this is to count 1, 2, 3, 4, with each number of the count having the duration of a half note.
Notice that the B-Part is unresolved: it ends with the 5 chord rather than with the 1 chord, and the last melody note of the B-Part is a note that is part of the 5 chord, and therefore is not the root note of the key that the song is played in.
In order to make the tune sound finished, so as to not leave the listener 'left hanging', Reischman plays (in tremelo) a double stop that uses notes of the A chord (the 1 chord), after the last measure of the final B-Part. To lead into this smoothly, he modifies the last measure of the final B-Part, playing a phrase consisting of E, A, B, and C# notes in place of what he usually plays for the last measure of the B-Part.
On the recordings, the last two, or last two-and-a-half, measures of the final B-Part are played slower than the rest of the tune, but I don't recommend trying this at a jam, unless everyone at the jam is thoroughly familiar with the tune, and a reminder is given about this before the tune is kicked off.
Have a happy New Year!
Jason's Intermediate Jam Blog