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Easy Guitar Songs • God Gave Me You, When You Say Nothing At All, I Love You This Big, You're Still The One • Chords

Updated on August 5, 2014

Review by Karen: Starts at the beginning and breaks the blues down in a well articulated way. It exponentially grows from there.

Introduction

New Country has come along way since the first wave of artists. Performers such as Garth Brooks, Dwight Yokam and Travis Tritt have given way to a whole new generation of musicians. The original wave took more influence from old country music (Roy Clark, Hank Williams, Ferlin Husky, etc.). Many of the current artists sound more like pop stars than country. Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, have all had 'crossover' hits (music that encompasses different genres). The songs follow a fairly strict format, with very similar chord progressions and structure. This, however, is nothing new. The music business has always been just that, a business. When someone finds something that works, they stick with it, even if it is an entire style of music. Pretty much an, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' attitude, which is not really the fault of the musicians. Record companies dictate what happens with their roster. And who can blame them? There is no way any business man is going to invest millions of dollars in someone and simply, let them do their own thing.

Blake Shelton

God Gave Me You

This song is in the key of D Major. When the D Major scale is harmonized, the resulting chords are: D Major, E minor, F♯minor, G Major, A Major, B minor, and C♯diminished. All the chords to this song can be found within the key (they are said to be diatonic to the key). This is the way most popular songs are written, in one key. In fact, the opening progression: G Major, D Major, B minor and A Major, is a staple of modern country music. Try playing these chords in any order and see how many songs you can hear. Taylor Swift composes with this progression all the time, in different key signatures and sometimes, changing the order. The rhythm slashes denote the rhythm pattern, which changes throughout the song. Use downstrokes for measures one to eight, twenty one to twenty eight, and forty nine to fifty two. Use a mixture of down and upstrokes for the rest. Treat the number as a downstroke and the 'and' as an upstroke, until the bridge. Here the strum direction should be down, down, down, down, up, because of the mixture of eights and sixteenth slashes. There is quite a bit of syncopation in the rhythm (accenting the weak beats).

Allison Krauss

Alison Krauss & Union Station Live
Alison Krauss & Union Station Live

If you love concert DVDs that offer first-rate music, excellent sound and picture, a beautiful setting, and substantial bonus features, then Alison Krauss and Union Station Live is destined to become your new favorite. It's not just for bluegrass fans either, as proven by Krauss's crossover success on the smash soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou? as well as her pop-oriented hits such as "Now That I've Found You." That song plus "The Lucky One," "When You Say Nothing at All," and others are the perfect showcase for Krauss's meltingly gorgeous voice, and admirers of the concert's two-CD set will also find out how funny she is in her between-songs banter. AKUS has never been all about Krauss, however, so there are also instrumental jams plus featured spots for other members, including Dan Tyminski on O Brother's rousing "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow."

 

When You say Nothing At All

Another song in the key Of D Major. There is only three chords in the entire song: the famous one, four, five progression. The strumming pattern is fairly simple. Once again, treat the numbers as downstrokes and the 'and' as upstrokes. The count for most of the tune is: 1 2 and 3 and 4 and (strum direction is down, down up, down up, down up). There are sustained chords in measures sixty seven to seventy four. Simply strum once and hold for the notated time. If you want a more continuous sound in this section, play the measures with the previous strumming pattern, counting carefully. If you are playing with the recording or want to play in the recorded key, place a capo on the first fret. The same applies to Shania Twain's You're Still The One.

The capo allows you to change the key of the song without having to use barre chords. When it is placed on the first fret, as in this tune, all the chords are moved up in pitch one semitone (this is the distance of one fret on the guitar). D Major becomes D♯Major, G Major becomes G♯Major and A Major is transposed to A♯Major. Transposed means the key has been changed. This is what happens with the capo, you are changing the key of the song. This is the normal role of the capo, to find a better key for the vocalist, since not all singers have the same range to their voice.

I Love You This Big

Scotty McCreery was the big winner on the tenth season of American Idol. A twenty year old with a country voice that totally defies his age. Another song in the key of D Major (in fact, all four of them are, the only difference being the capo, which bumps the key up to E♭Major while still retaining the open chord shapes). The chords are exactly the same as God Gave Me You, only in a different order (the formula I mentioned in the introduction). I have notated the tune with the same strumming pattern as When You Say Nothing At All.

The big difference in this song occurs at measure sixty four when the modulates (changes key) into E Major. The chord progression remains the same, but the chords are a tone (on guitar, this is two frets) higher. Treat the C♯m as a Root 5 barre chord, the same shape as the Bm, but two frets higher. Play the B Major as a Root 5 barre on the second fret. If you have trouble forming the B Major (this seems to be the hardest barre chord to play, especially with the third finger barre), try substituting an open B7 shape. The sound will be a little different, but it will work.

Shania Twain

You're Still The One

The second chord in the main progression is a slash chord. D/F♯, is still just a D Major chord, since the F♯ is normally found in a D Major (it is the third interval of the D Major scale). Normal voicing for the open shape D Major places the F♯ as the highest note of the chord. In this case, it is the lowest note. There are two ways to play this chord. The F♯ can be fretted by bringing the thumb over top of the neck and catching it that way, or the D Major chord can be re-fingered with the second, third and fourth finger, leaving the first finger to fret the low F♯. The thumb method is the easiest, but can be tricky at first. Once again, place a capo on the first fret to play with the recording. In measures fifty and fifty three, I have inserted a couple of runs in standard notation. The half notes at the beginning of measure fifty are simply the open A major chord. The last two beats are a quarter note triplet run down into the D Major. The notes are G, F♯ and E (relative to the capo). This is a very common way to get from the dominant A Major back to the D. In the last measure the overall sound would again be the A major chord. The last three beats (in intervals of a sixth) are also a very common way to climb up to the D Major chord. This song does not resolve to D, but simply leaves the listener hanging on the A Major sound.

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