Church Street Blues guitar book from Chris Brennan

British guitarist Chris Brennan set a lofty goal for himself when he set out to transcribe the entire Church Street Blues album by Tony Rice. And when he said complete, he meant everything – solos, accompaniment and all.

So he dedicated the better part of two months to writing it all out, and says that it will take him far longer still to be able to play it! Once he was finished, he decided to go all out, typesetting the transcriptions, laying it all out in book form, and designing a cover. But he only did it for himself, so there’s only the one copy which Chris made for himself.

When he had completed this project, he created a video about the process when generated a good bit of attention online.

Coming late to the music of Tony Rice, which he only discovered about two years ago, Brennan says that he hopes that the online visibility leads to a publisher picking it up.

“I started out on that project just as a personal goal (transcribe the Church Street album note perfect), then it escalated into a complete product, down to designing the cover, etc. Technically its a home project, but after the response on YouTube, I’d like to see it go to print sometime through the right channels.

Its the deepest look into Tony’s style to date, especially the rhythm side that he never seemed to want to go into on his DVDs. it also shows through the 5/4 (or 2/3 in cut time) time signatures, how he liked adding an extra beat as he called it, into a bar. Its a common theme throughout the album, as are those C shape blues runs.”

There are a couple of other Rice-style videos available at Chris’ YouTube page.

He has now moved on to transcribing pieces from Rice’s Native American record, another worthy endeavor to be sure.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.