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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Keen

Amorous proposals

Musicians: Nat Keen (guitar) Graham Hughes (bass)

In recent visits to Bridgeside Lodge I've been encouraging residents to collaborate with me in creating songs, melodies and everything in between. JC is a master of this and we've been writing lots of new material each week. I was with Graham [Hughes, double bassist] on this visit and we started up a New Orleans inspired riff and then asked JC to set the scene....after some hard thought he piped up in a thick deep south accent and sang about a tearaway girl from Memphis who wanted to leave her parents....I took on the role of her mom, pleading with her to stay and wailing…..'don't go baby x4 ….if you ever leave, you will need your mumma'.....It was a hit record for sure.

We then visited L and replayed our new hit from JC, he seemed curious about the style and we chatted about the Blues and all of the many musical tributaries that lead into American Folk music. Then the three of us cobbled together some folk from the British Isles, using our phones for lyrics and tapping into some distant memories of chord sequences.

After this we met a resident new to the both of us called W who was being cared for by a lovely and energetic carer called Delia. Delia was very keen to get involved with the singing and so we settled on 'Here Comes The Sun'....after the song had concluded Delia asked W if she'd enjoyed it, she gave us an affirmative reply and we promised to visit again soon.

In the kitchen area of the floor below we found M and felt an urge to play the Bridgeside Lodge classic to the tune of 'Jolene'....she was quickly surrounded by carers all joining in with the chorus.

In the first floor kitchen we played for DJ and in all the commotion we attracted S. As we began to play some 1930's jazz songs the mood turned decidedly amorous with certain listeners becoming fairly tactile towards the end of the song. As the song concluded we had marriage proposals and proposals of a slightly more forward nature.

To finish the day we saw EJ. I reminded her of our last session and how we'd all enjoyed playing some swooning jazz ballads (that Graham sings so well), so we played some more of the same and EJ listened intensely, gazing at Graham as he sang. We finished with her singing a favourite of hers, 'A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square' which is also a special one for me as it was the first Jazz tune I learnt on the guitar.

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