Kayleigh

Readability

Kayleigh

One of those “I need to tell you this story in order to tell you the story I want to tell you” posts, so please bear with.

I don’t write nearly as much as I used to for three main rea­sons. First, writ­ing time seems to be sig­nif­i­cantly scarcer than in days gone by. Sec­ond, this decade has been bru­tal on mul­ti­ple fronts, thus so much as the abil­ity to jot things down, let alone desire to do so, has joined writ­ing time in the scarcity depart­ment. Third, I’ve been focus­ing on my own music the past few years, reclaim­ing my song­writ­ing muse and work­ing on devel­op­ing my gui­tar play­ing chops to where I feel suf­fi­ciently adept at same to per­form the music that burns within. It’s def­i­nitely a work in progress, but I am mak­ing progress.

Which leads to the story of Kayleigh. (Which will lead to the story I’m try­ing to tell.)

Kayleigh is 1) a girl’s name, some­times spelled Kaylee; 2) a 1985 song by the mostly British (the lead singer at the time was Scot­tish) pro­gres­sive rock band Mar­il­lion. Said band was my #1 favorite for many years until the past few years saw them embrac­ing and preach­ing inces­sant left-​wing bile. That, plus the recent dis­cov­ery that since the 1980s they have become slav­ish copy­cats of Talk Talk’s last two albums, have moved them far away from my assorted playlists. But, at the time “Kayleigh” came out, I was enrap­tured by them.

https://​youtu​.be/​O​Q​4​o​a​L​UilBc

Now, while my lis­ten­ing tastes have long leaned toward the pro­gres­sive and harder rock side of things, when it comes to cre­at­ing my own music I’ve found myself best served on the qui­eter side of blues, folk, and what hap­pens when you com­bine the two. Namely, coun­try. Not so much the cur­rent iter­a­tion of coun­try, which is far more pop/​rock ori­ented than any­thing else, but older artists where the fusion of raw blues rhythm and gritty energy with Eng­lish folk music’s melodic sen­si­bil­ity is still read­ily appar­ent. Since its incep­tion as a music genre unique unto itself coun­try has always unashamedly absorbed other musi­cal gen­res, exam­ples from days gone by being the West­ern swing music of Bob Wills or the ‘50s pre-rock’n’roll pop fla­vor­ings of Marty Rob­bins and Patsy Cline. Fig­ure into the mix the sur­pris­ingly country-​rich to those unfa­mil­iar with their body of work Grate­ful Dead, and you’ll pretty much know where I’m at.

Now, when one thinks coun­try and gui­tar in the same span, one nat­u­rally thinks of the Fender Tele­caster. It is pretty much ubiq­ui­tous in coun­try and has been since its intro­duc­tion in the early 1950s. A gui­tar sel­dom used in coun­try, despite its sta­tus in jazz and rock, is the Gib­son Les Paul. Appar­ently it is insuf­fi­ciently twangy for the job.

Nat­u­rally, I use a Les Paul for my more country-​ish moments.

The Les Paul has two great char­ac­ter­is­tics. One, ter­rific sus­tain and tone. Two, a ter­rif­i­cally high price tag. While the bud­get Epi­phone line of Les Pauls is rea­son­ably priced if rather spotty quality-​wise, a gen­uine Gib­son Les Paul is going to set you back four fig­ures, more often than not with a crooked num­ber lead­ing the way. And that is for a new one. The highly prized vin­tage ones that were built from the lat­ter 1950s up to 1960 eas­ily com­mand $100K+. There is part of me that would love to have one, and another part that never wants to so much as hold one for fear I’d drop and break the thing.

The clos­est thing to a bud­get Gib­son Les Paul is the Trib­ute model (like cars, there are usu­ally sev­eral dif­fer­ent mod­els of most major gui­tar types). The Trib­ute uses lower grade wood, albeit the same kinds as its upper ech­e­lon brethren, in its con­struc­tion and eschews most of the usual Les Paul dec­o­ra­tive fin­ish­ing touches in order to keep costs down. It’s still a Les Paul, but not one evok­ing the usual “OOOOH! SHINY!” reac­tion said gui­tar induces in six-​string aficionados.

Almost need­less to say, it’s the only model I can afford these days, hence I have one. It will never sound like a 1960 Stan­dard, but it’s a decent gui­tar. I’ve lav­ished a lit­tle upgrade lovin’ on it: bet­ter tun­ing machines, pick­ups, and con­trols. It still does not and will never sound like a 1960 Stan­dard, but it’s as good as it is going to get. Hope­fully its owner will con­tinue to improve.

Okay, said all that to say this.

Chances are good to excel­lent, if not higher, you will never get exactly and/​or every­thing you want in life. Oft­times you get the short end of the stick. Oft­times it seems like you’re on a los­ing streak so omnipresent and unvary­ing Char­lie Brown’s base­ball team just sent you a note of encour­age­ment. The bills don’t get paid. The breaks don’t come your way. Heart­break, yes. But not the breaks. The days are slogs. You won­der will it ever change. You won­der not if, but when the prover­bial straw will hit the camel’s back. In this case, you’re the camel. You don’t need pious pie in the sky plat­i­tudes. You need some­thing solid to hold on to, and you need it now.

Fight.

Find some­thing, even if it’s from the bar­gain bas­ket, that is of value to you regard­less of price tag and make it your own. Play a musi­cal instru­ment. Sing. Dance. Paint. Sculpt. Write. Bake. Scrap­book. Fix stuff. Find some­thing and hang on to it. Work at it. Find that sweet spot where you are at peace with what you’re doing. It’s out there. Find it.

And give it a name.

Like how my Les Paul is named Kayleigh.

One of those “I need to tell you this story in order to tell you the story I want to tell you” posts, so please bear with.

I don’t write nearly as much as I used to for three main reasons. First, writing time seems to be significantly scarcer than in days gone by. Second, this decade has been brutal on multiple fronts, thus so much as the ability to jot things down, let alone desire to do so, has joined writing time in the scarcity department. Third, I’ve been focusing on my own music the past few years, reclaiming my songwriting muse and working on developing my guitar playing chops to where I feel sufficiently adept at same to perform the music that burns within. It’s definitely a work in progress, but I am making progress.

Which leads to the story of Kayleigh. (Which will lead to the story I’m trying to tell.)

Kayleigh is 1) a girl’s name, sometimes spelled Kaylee; 2) a 1985 song by the mostly British (the lead singer at the time was Scottish) progressive rock band Marillion. Said band was my #1 favorite for many years until the past few years saw them embracing and preaching incessant left-wing bile. That, plus the recent discovery that since the 1980s they have become slavish copycats of Talk Talk’s last two albums, have moved them far away from my assorted playlists. But, at the time “Kayleigh” came out, I was enraptured by them.

Now, while my listening tastes have long leaned toward the progressive and harder rock side of things, when it comes to creating my own music I’ve found myself best served on the quieter side of blues, folk, and what happens when you combine the two. Namely, country. Not so much the current iteration of country, which is far more pop/rock oriented than anything else, but older artists where the fusion of raw blues rhythm and gritty energy with English folk music’s melodic sensibility is still readily apparent. Since its inception as a music genre unique unto itself country has always unashamedly absorbed other musical genres, examples from days gone by being the Western swing music of Bob Wills or the ‘50s pre-rock’n’roll pop flavorings of Marty Robbins and Patsy Cline. Figure into the mix the surprisingly country-rich to those unfamiliar with their body of work Grateful Dead, and you’ll pretty much know where I’m at.

Now, when one thinks country and guitar in the same span, one naturally thinks of the Fender Telecaster. It is pretty much ubiquitous in country and has been since its introduction in the early 1950s. A guitar seldom used in country, despite its status in jazz and rock, is the Gibson Les Paul. Apparently it is insufficiently twangy for the job.

Naturally, I use a Les Paul for my more country-ish moments.

The Les Paul has two great characteristics. One, terrific sustain and tone. Two, a terrifically high price tag. While the budget Epiphone line of Les Pauls is reasonably priced if rather spotty quality-wise, a genuine Gibson Les Paul is going to set you back four figures, more often than not with a crooked number leading the way. And that is for a new one. The highly prized vintage ones that were built from the latter 1950s up to 1960 easily command $100K+. There is part of me that would love to have one, and another part that never wants to so much as hold one for fear I’d drop and break the thing.

The closest thing to a budget Gibson Les Paul is the Tribute model (like cars, there are usually several different models of most major guitar types). The Tribute uses lower grade wood, albeit the same kinds as its upper echelon brethren, in its construction and eschews most of the usual Les Paul decorative finishing touches in order to keep costs down. It’s still a Les Paul, but not one evoking the usual “OOOOH! SHINY!” reaction said guitar induces in six-string aficionados.

Almost needless to say, it’s the only model I can afford these days, hence I have one. It will never sound like a 1960 Standard, but it’s a decent guitar. I’ve lavished a little upgrade lovin’ on it: better tuning machines, pickups, and controls. It still does not and will never sound like a 1960 Standard, but it’s as good as it is going to get. Hopefully its owner will continue to improve.

Okay, said all that to say this.

Chances are good to excellent, if not higher, you will never get exactly and/or everything you want in life. Ofttimes you get the short end of the stick. Ofttimes it seems like you’re on a losing streak so omnipresent and unvarying Charlie Brown’s baseball team just sent you a note of encouragement. The bills don’t get paid. The breaks don’t come your way. Heartbreak, yes. But not the breaks. The days are slogs. You wonder will it ever change. You wonder not if, but when the proverbial straw will hit the camel’s back. In this case, you’re the camel. You don’t need pious pie in the sky platitudes. You need something solid to hold on to, and you need it now.

Fight.

Find something, even if it’s from the bargain basket, that is of value to you regardless of price tag and make it your own. Play a musical instrument. Sing. Dance. Paint. Sculpt. Write. Bake. Scrapbook. Fix stuff. Find something and hang on to it. Work at it. Find that sweet spot where you are at peace with what you’re doing. It’s out there. Find it.

And give it a name.

Like how my Les Paul is named Kayleigh.