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Thread: Brakemans' Blues (Punch Brothers cover)

  1. #1
    Registered User Ark Isle's Avatar
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    Default Brakemans' Blues (Punch Brothers cover)

    I'm interested in learning the Punch Bros cover of Brakeman's Blues, but I have no idea where to begin. I found an earlier post on these forums about it, but I don't even know what to make of it.

    The chords are fairly easy, depending upon what key you want to sing it in.
    Chris Thile uses B on his album with the band, but seems to be using G when he performs those rare solo appearences.
    So if in G, it is simply G, G7, C, G, G, D (D7), G.
    However, if anyone can figure out the little intro he does, that would be appreciated.
    Based on what I've seen on YouTube, these are all four-fingered chords, but I'm not sure how the timing works out. If anyone could offer any pointers I'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Kyle

  2. #2
    Registered User Gerry Hastie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brakemans' Blues (Punch Brothers cover)

    The recording is in B as you've found out already. Standard bluegrass chop chords and variations at times with two finger chords using ring finger/pinkie as 'mutes' to get chop/percussive effect.

    Intro solo use the B major scale in first position as opposed to the B chop chord position and has some tricky little runs in it.

    Just jam along, have fun and repeated listens and jamming will begin to produce something. B is not an easy key to play in but a very useful skill for playing in closed positions. Good luck.
    GerryHastie

    "There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
    - Albert Schweitzer

  3. #3
    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brakemans' Blues (Punch Brothers cover)

    Hey Kyle,

    I'd say, start by listening to Jimmie Rodgers' and Bill Monroe's versions. That's how those P-bros started.

    Next, you've got to find out what key you can handle the yodel in. Most of us can only manage that in the 'right' key.

    Now you're ready to roll. In any key, the chords are I, IV and V. So in the key of B that's B, E and F#. In G, it's G, C and D.

    As far as timing, you'll notice that that song (and most of Jimmie Rodgers' songs) is a little crooked. JR changed chords when JR felt like changing chords. In a band or a jam, you have to come to an understanding.

    Hope that helps.
    BradKlein
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    Senior Producer, Twangbox
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  4. #4
    Registered User Ark Isle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brakemans' Blues (Punch Brothers cover)

    Thanks, guys. I'm having a lot of fun goofing around in B!

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