In a switch to our bi-weekly video series, in which we premiere a clip from God Street Wine’s 2010 reunion shows at the Gramercy Theatre accompanied by an essay penned by GSW guitarist Lo Faber, we’ve brought in the band’s other guitarist, Aaron Maxwell, to provide this week’s essay on Call It Love. Thanks, as always, to Mike Wren for putting these sensational videos together.
Call It Love
Back in the late 1980’s I met [future GSW guitarist and bassist] Lo Faber and Dan Pifer while we were attending Manhattan School of Music. We were all Jazz Performance majors, which basically meant that we took theory classes, learned jazz standards, played in ensembles with other students who were also interested in learning about Jazz music and took private lessons. Lo and I were both guitar majors and we studied with the same teacher, Jack Wilkins. Jack lived in the Village, which was where you went to have your lesson each week.
[Photo by Adam Kaufman]
I remember always looking forward to trekking down from the Upper West Side to Jack’s place, guitar in hand. Jack had an encyclopedic knowledge of the jazz guitar and had an extensive vinyl record collection. Each week he would turn me on to a new recording or artist that I had not known before. Artists such as Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Tal Farlow, Pat Metheny and Grant Green, to name a few. Lo and I shared in this experience and we often spent a lot of time talking about some of our favorite players.
Around this time, Pat Metheny released the album, Still Life Talking, which had some interesting songwriting and impressive guitar playing. Pat and his band’s ability to construct melodies and create specific moods spoke to me and is something that I think influenced a handful of God Street Wine songs over the years, like 6:15 and Other Shore.
However, the best example of this influence is seen in the song Call It Love. CIL opens with a sprawling, moody keyboard solo reminiscent of something off of Metheny’s Travels album and then, after a short guitar intro, settles into the vocal, which uses bluesy vocal phrasing over jazz chords. This kind of thing is found often in GSW songs.
I enjoy singing this particular song, for different reasons, but one in particular is that it is kind of a departure from some of the other songs I sing. This song requires finesse and the more I lay back, the better it comes off. I sometimes think, “how would Sade sing this song?” Belting songs out is more in my comfort zone, but this song is much more powerful when I remember to relax, which is not always easy.
Upcoming God Street Wine Shows:
August 9 – TRI Studios (Free Webcast)
August 10 & 11 – Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley CA
August 16, 17 & 18 – Gramercy Theatre, NYC NY
Thanks to Aaron for sharing the story behind the tune and Mike for his work on the video.