Larry’s Notes


Guitar Inspirations

My guitar heroes tend to be fingerstyle players: Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Maybelle Carter, Pete Seeger, Paco de Lucia, Guy Van Duser, Leo Kottke, Juan Serrano and many others.
Chet has to be regarded as the world’s most versatile guitarist for his brilliance in every genre of music: classical, rock, blues, country et al. So, let’s start with him._MG_3759
Here’s Chet playing “Mr. Sandman”: Very nice.
Lend an ear to his rendition of “Recuerdos de Alhambra”
Dig Chet’s staggering technique on “Blue Angel”:

Americana Inspiration, Americana Music, Larry Wilder’s Latest

“The Sweetheart of San Fernando”

I was thrilled to present this new tune in honor of Western music legend and inspiration Marilyn Tuttle at the Gene Autry National Museum in Los Angeles on March 15, 2015.

By the following night, many were singing along with me on the chorus at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena.

Here are the chords and lyrics:

The Sweetheart of San Fernando     ©2015 Larry Wilder


C                      F              C                   F               Fm          C

She’s the Sweetheart of San Fernando—the dearest in all the West

C        F          C            Am            D7                          Dm-G7

The Lady with a heart of gold—the cowgirl we love  best

C                 F           C          F                 Fm     C

She sang way back in ’46 in “Down Missouri Way”

F                Em                 Dm     Am                  F                     G7      C

Her voice and heart know  all the parts—she’s tailor made  for today



She’s the truest Saddle Pal—that Western music knows

All us boys and cowgirls—know the debt we owe

To make the best darn music West of the Great Divide

And feel her Love and Guiding Hand—right here by our side



She did the ’50s TV shows—with Wes and Les and Merle

She was a friend of old Bob Nolan—this Original Western Girl

With her dazzling Heavenly voice—sent down from God Above

She helped create our Western ways with her talent, faith and love



Now our Sweetheart of San Fernando—is the Lady in the very first row

She keeps the flame and lights our way to make a Western show

When her name is called up Yonder—you’ll hear all Heaven ring

From the very first row of the Heavenly Choir

She’ll show ’em how an Angel sings



Tag: She’s the Queen of the West who’s just the best-the Sweetheart of San Fernando

Notes:  Verses and chorus = same chords.  I use the capo on the 2nd fret—key of D.

Have fun and sing it out for Marilyn!

Larry Wilder

Larry Wilder’s Latest

New song: “Heart of the Child”

Putting the finishing touches on “Heart of the Child,” a new song about abuse of women and children. While I cannot begin to appreciate what victims endure, I attempted to describe the woman’s feeling of confusion and disempowerment. Her ultimate victory of taking herself and her children safely into The Light was only possible because of her faith, gratitude and courage.

The song will be first performed at a benefit for Project T.O.U.C.H. on August 10.

For more information on this wonderful program:

Americana Inspiration

Americana Music Inspiration, Sons of the Pioneers

Formed in 1933, the Sons of the Pioneers trio of Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer and Len Slye soon featured the brilliant instrumental work of the Farr Brothers, Karl (guitar) and Hugh (violin). Karl Farr Jr once told this writer that his dad would listen to Stephane Grappelli, violinist with Django Reinhardt’s Hot Club of France quintet. No American fiddler has ever had a more supple right hand or more innate sense of touch or timing than Hugh Farr.

When Len Slye turned into Roy Rogers four years later, the Pioneers enlisted Pat Brady and Lloyd Perryman. Lloyd’s lustrous tenor voice and brilliant arranging skills enhanced what was already an electrifying bunch. In addition to Lloyd, Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer and the Farr Brothers, Brady’s bass, comedy and singing rounded out this greatest of all western musical groups. Allowing for WW2 interruptions, this classic six played from 1937 until the retirements of Spencer and Nolan in ’49.

Their recordings of Nolan’s “Tumbling Tumbleweed” and “Cool Water” are legendary. Try “The Touch of God’s Hand” some time. Or you might be swept away with “Chant of the Wanderer” or “Song of the Bandit.”

Americana has never been the same since the Sons of the Pioneers conquered the West.


Americana Music

The Rich Influences of Americana Music

AmericasInfluences02Americana music is a varied and rich tapestry with a thousand definitions and a million adventures. To me, Americana means anything folks like to play and sing here in America. We have influences from all over the globe tinting and intensifying our musical artist’s palette.

The late Alan Lomax (1915-2002) collected songs all around America, as had his father John. In his classic volume The Folksongs of North America, Lomax says that “Our best songs and dances are hybrids of hybrids, mixtures of mixtures, and this may be their great appeal to a cosmopolitan age . . . folk music, like other arts and sciences, blooms hard by the crossroads.”

What is a folk song? Whatever you think.

What popular song today will be a folk song in thirty years? You guessed it.

Americana Music

Pete Seeger Was a Rebel

Back in the 1940s, Pete Seeger and his wonderful group the Weavers brought many tunes from our wonderful heritage and from Europe and around the world. Pete was castigated by the “pure folk” musicians and critics for rearranging old songs for modern ears and just for fun. Today, few would question the impact, authenticity or motives of Pete and bandmates Ronnie Gilbert, Fred Hellerman or Lee Hays. Time has passed; they are Americana monuments.


I’ve Been Everywhere

Americana Music has Rich Influences

AmericasInfluencesThat great Geoff Mack song from 1962 has been mighty good to me onstage. While I’ve been in 49 of the 50 states [Florida still to be sampled], criss-crossed Europe and performed in Japan, it might be appropriate in this first installment of the “I’ve Been Everywhere Series” to start with my birthplace of Pasadena, California.

Originally populated by Native Americans of the Hahamonga Tribe, it was settled by Spanish landowners near the San Gabriel Mission. And the large holdings were divided time and again as more people came to settle east of the Arroyo Seco, or dry canyon. If you ever hike in the wilder areas of the Arroyo, be careful not to disturb our rattling friends as you traipse the rocky terrain.

In the 1920s and 1930s, many African-Americans came to Los Angeles County. While some towns forbade their buying or renting domiciles, Pasadena allowed this influx. Some of this was due to the need of servants for many of Southern California’s wealthiest families. So, in its own way, Pasadena became integrated.

My Uncle Bill Macy had a playmate c. 1930 by the name of Jackie Robinson. This was the childhood days of 42 that featured bikes, rock throwing—all the boy stuff.

You’ve seen the Rose Parade and Bowl game in Pasadena, with the San Gabriel Mountains framing the day’s festivities. Those mountains are now more vividly observed than any time since pre-WW2 Los Angeles. The Second World War brought tremendous energy, industry, airplane factories and a massive influx of population to the Basin. And smog.

But today, we enjoy the SoCal that resulted after the catalytic converter. Pasadena, along with her sister city Altadena, traditionally Fahrenheit hot, has become a hot destination for travelers who enjoy taking in the museums, stages, mansions, history and shops.

They can also take in the air these days.

Larry Wilder’s Latest

Larry Wilder on a Different Stage

Had a great time as musical director/performer in Molière’s “Tartuffe.” This timeless play, first staged 350 years ago, is set in present day Texas. The hilarious play’s title character is a religious charlatan who sets off a chain of funny fireworks.

Our director and veteran of LA stage, screen and TV Tobias Andersen, had a vision of traditional music interwoven with the scenes. The brilliant acting of my cohorts sets the stage for me to just have a blast singing, yodeling and playing.

Here is one review:

I experienced new dimensions of thankfulness for this marvelous experience.


Voodoo Doughnut Time!

VoodooDoughnutHere I am with Cat Daddy and Tres, the creative and business chiefs of perhaps Portlandia’s most flamboyantly famous enterprise—Voodoo Doughnuts.

My recent composition “Voodoo Doll Yodel” will be released by Voodoo Recordings in July. It tells the saga of boy-meets-vamp at Voodoo Doughnuts, where they eventually get married ‘neath the smiling Kenny Rogers, as many couples have actually done. My outré “Voodoo Style Yodels” vary on every chorus.

This epic opus was waxed, I should say computerized, at another Portlandia fixture for over 30 years–Fresh Tracks Studio, home of Grammy Award winning songs engineered by Jon Lindahl. Jon enhanced “Voodoo Doll Yodel” with his bass, drums and masterful use of funny sounds and effects.

We do our best to Keep Portland Weird.

Americana Inspiration

Inspiration from Lily Tomlin

LilyTomlinSharing the stage with Lily Tomlin was a signal event. Her radiance, goodness and fierce lion mother care for the audience leave indelible marks on us all. When we sit at the feet of great entertainers as she, we are inspired and filled with an essence we cannot quite describe. Exactly what is it—greatness? Love? Brilliance?

America’s entertainers have always drawn from each other; Lily invites us down subtle avenues, sets us up and then knocks us over with tickling feathers.

We can’t get enough. And we rejoice in touching her heart as we laugh and send our love to her.

This entertainer owes Lily, for sure.