AMAZING GOSPEL TUNE

By Steve Mann

Steve's explanation of how he put together the Amazing GospelT une guitar instrumental.

Starting out as a simple back-up to the old Appalachian hymn "Amazing Grace," this accompaniment became an instrumental in 3/4 or slow 6/8 time, that began to drift toward a gospel piano sound. Gradually I found myself adding a few diminished chords and more piano-type licks, and realized I was beginning to play something that sounded more like a gospel song.Then I heard Ray Charles sing "Drown in My Own Tears," with his terrific piano arrangement and bingo that sound was IT!

After learning the song "Drown in My Own Tears," and singing it to this accompaniment, I still like to play the guitar part just as a solo, even though it has no actual melody, and no words. It became just a guitar piece with gospel licks and stood by itself.   But I didn't have a name for it.

After I finished playing this at an Ash Grove performance one night, someone from the audience asked, "What's that called?" At that time, I was embarrassed about admitting that I had accidentally put together something that wasn't what it started out to be, and I just didn't know what to call it. It wasn't "Amazing Grace" anymore, and it wasn't "Drown in My Own Tears," because it didn't have the melody or the words to that song, so I just called it "A Gospel Tune" and tried to change the subject. A shining moment captured in living color on tape.

Contrary to what I said at the show, remove space the real title is not "Nude Descending a Spiral Staircase." I happened to be taking a college art course at the time and that title just popped out during an embarrassing moment. I've decided to call this guitar piece "Amazing Gospel Tune," and let it stand on its own, which is the way it is now copyrighted. Nowadays sometimes I play and sing "Drown in My Own tears," and sometimes I play "Amazing Gospel Tune," but usually not in the same set.

I don't actually sing "Amazing Grace" anymore, though.  It's probably better unaccompanied anyway.

                                                                                                                                    --SM