There are few genres that gospel music hasn't influenced in very positive ways; soul, rock, jazz, blues and many other forms of contemporary music all have strong roots to gospel music. Gospel's engaging melodies and beautiful harmonies present an ideal landscape for fingerstyle guitar and there's no one better qualified than Richard Kiser to guide you through the handful of gospel favorites presented here in Gospel Fingerstyle Guitar.
"Once in a while a guitar player comes along that will make people sit up and take notice. Richard's playing did that for me. He has a very smooth and creative touch!" - Doyle Dykes
Kiser is an excellent instructor and the arrangements that he prepared for this course are very accessible primarily because he keeps the student's focus squarely on the melody rather than long passages of fancy fingerwork; "keep the melody out front and keep it singing!" For each of the tunes, Richard will first perform the tune in its entirety and then breaks it down, note-by-note demonstrating the various right- and left-hand techniques he employs throughout the intros, verses, choruses and outros.
Richard has won 38 major awards including "Instrumentalist of the Decade" from the International Country Gospel Music Association and three-time "Artist of the year" with the Country Gospel Music Association. Kiser has recorded six CDs and performs at over 125 concerts a year in the States and in Europe. A favorite performer at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society convention held annually in Nashville, Kiser has performed with everyone from Roy Clark, Charlie McCoy and Boots Randolph to Phil Driscoll, The Oak Ridge Boys and Charlton Heston.
Your Fingerstyle Gospel Guitar repertoire and learning adventure explores the following tunes:
No, Not One - "This is an old hymn found in most hymnals. It is a slightly upbeat song to be played at a moderate speed. I chose a "drop D" tuning mainly for the cool drone effect of the drop D and the sustain of the use of a lot of open strings in the melody. Each verse and chorus has a little different phrasing just to keep the song interesting and listenable. The ending has a cool set of runs to conclude the song."
Amazing Grace - "I chose this song for a couple of reasons. First, this song is very recognizable in any music genre. Second, the melody is fairly easy to play. It is also a great song to learn another method of fingerstyle playing. In this one, there is no alternating bass line, no "boom chick" rhythm; it is simply a moving melody where the thumb and fingers share a lot of the movement of the melody."
Higher Ground - "The song "Higher Ground" is an old camp meeting song written in 1898. It was originally played and sung sort of staccato but I chose to adjust the tempo to perform it in a "Chet" style. It lends itself really well to this tempo and makes for a really cool arrangement. I arranged this song to play on a CD which I recorded as a tribute to Chet Atkins titled "With All Due Respect."
I Love to Tell the Story/Tell Me the Old Old Story - "I chose these two old hymns, "I Love to Tell The Story" and "Tell Me The Old Old Story", because of the similar messages of each song, and the fact that they are musically compatible. I often will take two or three songs and make an instrumental medley out of them because it creates a pleasant three to four minutes of listening provided you chose the correct songs. These two work really well together and the key change is very simple."
His Eye is on the Sparrow - "This particular song is an old gospel favorite but it was always sung and performed very slowly. I have heard it played on the piano, organ and sung by soloists and quartets, but I have never heard it arranged as a guitar instrumental piece. That's why I decided to arrange it for the guitar and to make it my own arrangement. I was careful to not rearrange the music but to try to change the tempo and overall attitude of the song. I turned it into a fairly fast and uplifting solo and it is a lot of fun to play."
Wayfaring Stranger - "This song "Wayfaring Stranger" is a tune that I have arranged and rearranged so many times over the years. There are a lot of different tempo and style variations within this song and although it might sound a bit intimidating at first, it's really not that hard to learn. I think you will have a lot of fun learning as well as performing this tune. You will also find that many of the little riffs and runs that you learn here, can be used in a lot of other songs."
Over in the Glory Land/Jesus Hold My Hand - "This medley comes from two old camp meeting tunes; "Just Over in the Glory Land" and "Jesus Hold My Hand." They work really well together as a medley as they are both a bit up-tempo and the arrangement makes for a good Chet Atkins style song. The ending riff is another Chet style signature and consists entirely of pull-offs starting with the 1st string 3rd fret pulling off from the index to the middle finger on 2nd fret and then pulling off the middle finger to open string. It's a good one!"
Whether you play gospel music for its spiritual inspiration, or love to play its soulful, beautiful melodies, or maybe just anxious to develop some solid fingerstyle guitar chops - it's all here in Richard Kiser's Gospel Fingerstyle Guitar!