EASY 2-CHORD SONGS FOR GUITAR

EASY 2-CHORD SONGS FOR GUITAR
BY WAYNE ERBSON
Native Ground Books & Music 978-188-320-6772. CD included, 96 pp. (Native Ground Books, 109 Bell Rd., Asheville, NC 28805, www.nativeground.com.)

Wayne Erbson, author and compiler of this collection of 33 two-chord American folk songs, has a knack for remembering what it’s like to start out trying to play guitar and sing. He puts that knack to good use here in what is a valuable book for anyone with an inclination to put a toe in those waters.

The songs are time-tested, public domain fare such as “Red Rocking Chair,” “Rye Whiskey,” and “Tom Dooley.” Each song comes with tab, chord chart, historical context, lyrics, and a recording (on CD or downloadable mp3s). I would have loved to have had this book when I first started playing bluegrass. In fact, I learned a few things from the background paragraphs.

My favorite thing, though, is the little icon of a tapping foot so you can learn where the downbeat lands. Nicely organized and presented, this would make an excellent purchase for anyone just starting out. Erbson might oversell the “easy” and “simple” aspects of these songs, but it’s a great place to start for anyone who suspects there are hidden depths in those old two-chord songs.CVS

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