ONE QUIET NIGHT
On November 24, 2001, I went to my home studio, turned on the recorder, and spent the evening playing. I had rediscovered a special low Nashville tuning that I had worked with some years ago (on the tune “The Search”) and applied it to a recently acquired baritone guitar. The combination of this wonderful new instrument (made by Canadian luthier Linda Manzer) and this unusual tuning not only made some different things possible harmonically, but challenged me to think about ways of playing that I wouldn’t have normally thought to go. I found and settled into a very specific mood of simple, mostly quiet playing, really just for myself. Listening back to that recording over the next year of touring, I realized that I had inadvertently started on the road to doing something that had been lingering in the back of my mind for some time – to one day about making a whole record with one single guitar, no overdubs or extra parts; to do a totally solo acoustic guitar record – in this case, on the baritone guitar.
In late 2002, after the tour was over, I chose a couple of my all-time favorite songs (“My Song” and “Ferry Cross The Mersey,” and a more recent one, “Don’t Know Why”), plus a piece that I had performed solo each night of the tour on the baritone (“Last Train Home”) and recorded them the same way – at home – to go along with those initial improvised pieces. Finally, with the addition of two new compositions (“Song For The Boys” and “Over On 4th Street”), this collection seemed compete.
Unlike most of our recordings that have involved lots of planning and sophisticated recording studios, this one started and ended with just a single guitar and a mic. This record is about essentially one sound, basically one mood, and taking the time to go deep inside that single world. I also feel obliged to add that the results here are also technically somewhat homemade – there are occasional flaws in the tuning and the recording itself – it was intended for nothing more than my own research and the pleasure of playing at home one night.
But at the same time, these recordings have offered a window into a way of thinking about music that I honest found myself drawn to on that evening, a way that continues to fascinate me in the subsequent time I have spent with this guitar and tuning. Also, I have broached a subject that I had only occasionally addressed and hope to continue to pursue on occasion, possibly with different guitars – the unique and challenging world of solo guitar playing. I hope this documentation of those moments will offer some peace and enjoyment.
1. One Quiet Night (Metheny) 5:01
2. Song For The Boys (Metheny) 4:29
3. Don’t Know Why (Harris) 3:07
4. Another Chance (Metheny) 6:47
5. Time Goes On (Metheny) 3:18
6. My Song (Jarret) 4:20
7. Peace Memory (Metheny) 6:10
8. Ferry Cross The Mersey (Marsden) 3:57
9. Over On 4th Street (Metheny)
10. I Will Find The Way (Metheny) 7:48
11. North To South, East To West (Metheny) 12:00
12. Last Train Home (Metheny) 4:35
Pat Metheny, solo baritone guitar
Produced by Pat Metheny
Recorded at home Nov. 24, 2001 in New York City
Additional recording January 2003
Mixed at Right Track Studios February 2003
The tuning throughout this recording is A D G C E A. The relative intervallic relationship of the strings is the same as a conventional guitar tuned down a fifth. However, as in a “Nashville” tuning, the 3rd and 4th strings are restrung and tuned an octave higher than usual. In the case of this tuning, the 5th and 6th strings are quite low in pitch. The longer scale of the baritone guitar accommodates this, but heavy bass guitar strings are still required. I first learned about this tuning many years ago from Dr. Ray Harris, a great guitarist and inventor from my town of Lee’s Summit, Missouri.