Performed by Brandon Rosage · Written by Lee Emerson, Tillman Franks, Johnny Horton
Listen on your preferred digital music service:
Have I mentioned that I love Johnny Horton? I had a good time today piecing together all the parts to his 1957 tune “Goodbye Lonesome (Hello, Baby Doll).”
Much of the joy I get out of listening to and playing Horton’s songs comes from Grady Martin’s guitar work. It always sounds like he’s having stupid amounts of fun with his instrument, whipping the open strings, long-bending the low ones, and picking as close to the bridge as humanly possible.
It’s the reason I enjoy tossing as many of Horton’s late ‘50s tunes into my set as possible: I can sing care-free, like Johnny, and then pick recklessly, like Grady.
The first Horton tune I attempted to record was also my first pass at recording on my own. I took a shot at “She Knows Why,” which has all the Horton-Martin hallmarks. But the guitar parts I used were all first takes. They sounded fine, and I was still spell-bound by the fidelity of recording with decent studio gear.
So for today’s exercise, I took a little more time dialing my guitar sounds into The Grady Zone. After some experimentation with Telecasters plugged into my trusty clean amps, I was surprised to discover some magic by plugging my capricious Hallmark Deke Dickerson Model Two into a tweed Fender Deluxe. By declining to crank the amp too much (which requires self-restraint), I kept things reasonably clean. With a little bridge-picking and tic-tacking, the whole process got really fun, really fast — just how I imagine Grady felt in the studio with Johnny.
There’s also tracks with an egg shaker and string-muted rhythm guitar — so you know it’s a Johnny Horton cover.
I hope you enjoy listening ❤️