"South Branch" is another tune that appeared on my Coming Home CD. This is a rare instrumental guitar piece for me. The whole thing comes from noodling in an open tuning that I learned from Chris Smither's version of "Statesboro Blues" — though I'm not even sure anymore that Chris used this tuning. I've been playing this at gigs lately after years of letting it sit.
People often comment that they are impressed with the playing on this piece. It's nice to hear that, and I wouldn't put it out there if I didn't think it was a good piece of music. However, the tune definitely takes advantage of some possibilities offered by the open tuning. I don't think this is as hard to play as it might seem. I've included a pdf. file of a transcription. The intro is missing, and the last chord is also missing, but the rest of it ought to be reasonably accurate. If you want to learn it, I suggest making it your own by playing your own variations. Use my piece as a jumping off point, and then let me hear what you do with it. That would be a thrill for me!
Finally, the guitar I used for this recording is my Bourgeois Vintage OM Adirondack. I bought this used at McKenzie River Music last summer after selling off a whole bunch of other gear and instruments. It's louder than any other guitar I've owned! A lot of folks would probably like this as a flatpicking guitar since this kind of spruce top is associated with the old Martin guitars used on classic bluegrass records. However, I keep medium gauge strings on it and use it for fingerstyle playing in open tunings. It's a special guitar.
"South Branch" written & performed by Chuck Cheesman, copyright Chuck Cheesman/Punkins Papa Music (ASCAP)