The Music: Living in Strange Times

In this post, I do a deep dive into the title track from the new CD “Living in Strange Times”. To hear the song, click the YouTube or Spotify play buttons below, also find me on Spotify, iTunes, and your favorite music streaming services. So, let’s get to the deep dive.

Living in Strange Times, like the rest of the CD was written during the Covid-19 crisis. This song started with a YouTube video. I was surfing the web looking for videos about jazz chords, that are sometimes called dirty chords. Dirty chords are complex 9th, 11th, and other cool sounding complex chords. What I found during my research is, I already use these chords. But I was really hocked on the interaction between two chords I used while playing around. So, I recorded the chord changes I was working on and moved on to another project. I do that from time to time when I am writing.

When I returned to the track, I was on a new journey, working with time signatures. I wanted to explore different time signatures, in this case the 6/8. This time signature is used in a lot of Ballads, Blues, Rock, and Pop music. In fact this CD has a few tracks in 6/8 time signature. So I started playing around with the chords and looking for inspiration and ideas. Once I had a cool 6/8 rhythm track, next came the bass guitar part. What you hear on this track is a little different then what I started with.

In music, there is something called ghost notes. Notes that the writer may hear, but are actually not played. My son Christopher R E Fort was listening to the track with me and suggested that I add that same note I head in my head. He also had a great idea of changing the drums in the transition between two sections, between the chorus and going back to the verse. This change added more movement or suspense in the song. Thank you son.


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This track also uses something I call a “talk back” or “say and repeat” in the melody. This is where I say it on the guitar or piano and the other instruments will repeat it and then sync up. In short, the instruments are talking to each other. When I got around to recording the lead or solo guitar work, I used a little distortion on my Fender Stratocaster guitar. I feel this really moved the track and adds some heat to it. The way I end this track was also a collaboration with my son Christopher. He suggested that I end the song the same way I started the song, in layers. Ending the track with the lead guitar holding a note, while each of the other instruments slowly drops off one at a time. Ending with just the drums and bass guitar.


Living in Strange Times, is in the key of D major. But the melody and chores relies on the relative minor key of B, giving the track that haunted feel. Living in Strange Times is a great tune and one of my very favorite tracks. I’ll do more of these deep dives into my music, how I write music , but for now, enjoy the music and as always remember.


Without Music, Life Has No Soul

I Hope you enjoy

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R E Fort

Guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter. www.refort.co My motto: Without Music Life Has No Soul.

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