Duo Arrangements - Beemo and Amanda Lyn
One thing I really like doing is playing duo shows.
My two main gigging projects are Beemo and Amanda Lyn. (Well, Amanda has relocated to Atlanta so probably not too many gigs coming up but we played north of 30 gigs together from 2018 to 2020.) Coming up with duo arrangements for Beemo material is a different challenge than doing so for Amanda's.
For Beemo, I have to take fully arranged 5 piece songs and try to figure out how to distill them down while retaining their character. I get to steal parts from all the different band instruments and weave them together.
With Amanda's stuff I had more of a blank canvas as I was starting from songs that only had acoustic guitar and voice parts. This, then, was more of a writing exercise than an arranging one. (Though, I still got to do some heavy arranging for the covers we played)
Did For You
This arrangement actually is double filtered. Did For You was part of the Beemo catalog in the band's first iteration as electric 4 piece power punk band. aka Beemo 1.0. (This was long before I joined on the mandolin) We re-tooled it for our acoustic instruments and re-recorded it for our full length album "Bustin' Out."
This duo arrangement is actually pretty straight up to the Bustin' Out version. I'm mostly just playing my regular part with the exception of the second verse where I mimic the snare drum with muted strums to provide some drive and variety.
Here's the Bustin' Out version and here is a demo version from Beemo 1.0 days.
This is my favorite Beemo duo song to play. I get to play the distinctive bass line throughout, plus my regular mandolin part, plus take the dobro solo.
I also downshifted the beginning, playing arpeggios rather than the aggressively strummed chords that kicks off the album version. I did this to maintain a sense of escalation So rather than start off with loud strums, then have to lose intensity when switching to the bass line, I get to build throughout.
This arrangement is another Frankenstein's monster of the original song. I start off playing my regular part then hybridize it with Sean's verse part, then add an auxiliary album only guitar part that shows up after the first chorus. The second verse is all of these part mixed together.
This is probably the most difficult Beemo duo arrangement as there is a lot to keep track of and the auxiliary harmony part is actually pretty hard.
This video was the first time I test drove this arrangement and, honestly, it wasn't my best performance. I play it better now, albeit slightly differently in the choruses.
I wrote this part in preparation for Beemo's first show with Amanda where we were going to be her backing band. She sent us voice memos of her playing the songs by herself and I tried to come up with interesting parts that fit the mood of the songs.
She ended up really liking this rather mournful part and I recorded it on her Timeless EP.
This mandolin part is an adaption of the guitar part I wrote for this song for the Timeless EP. I tried to come up with a 50's rockabilly adjacent part with a bouncing bass line a la Elvis's first hit "Mystery Train."
Playing the part on the mandolin is considerably more difficult than on the guitar. This video was actually the only time I played Rockabilly Girl on the mandolin, mainly because I'm lazy. (I leave my mandolin tuned down a half-step because of Beemo, and this song is basically unplayable in that tuning on the mandolin. I could have gotten a capo for my mandolin, but just never did. I'm in standard tuning for this recording.)
If You Were Mine
After Amanda played this for me the first time I decided to use a slide. The intent was to kind of give it an old country high lonesome type sound.
(The slide mandolin was originally a joke between me and Amanda that escalated quickly into a feature on 3 of her songs)
I really like this song and we came very close to recording it for our upcoming "Something Ventured" EP. I do, however, always have a hell of a time keeping this part straight for reasons unclear.
When we first started playing together Amanda sent me a whole bunch of guitar and vocal versions of her original songs.
This song was one of my favorites. I really like the melody. (I think this is about the Red Power Ranger.)
I built the introduction and interlude parts around the chorus melody and tried to keep a sense of escalation throughout.