I Don't Know - Paul McCartney

from the album Egypt Station (2018)

Once upon a time, in my ancestral hometown, there was a small music shop on Main Street called Jamm Music.  In the summer between ninth and tenth grades, I began taking lessons there from a bearded hippie-looking man named John.

John was a most accomplished bass payer, whose main gig was as a session man in NYC.  He worked on cartoons, movies, television, and with some of the finest singers of that time.

The lessons he taught me still resonate.  I was very fortunate to have him as a teacher.

After a year, or so, of lessons, he told me that I was ready to join a band and hooked me up with a guitarist and a singer.  The focus of his lessons then changed from how to play the bass to how to play in a band.

One day, he asked me what bass player I imagined myself as?

"John Entwistle," I replied.

He frowned.  "Everybody wants to be a flashy bassist, like Entwistle.  You don't want to be that.  You want to be like Paul McCartney.  You like The Beatles, right?  Listen to their records.  McCartney never plays a single note more that what is absolutely necessary.  His style creates space in the music.  His playing makes his band more cohesive.  Remember, as a bass player, your two jobs are to establish the groove and to maintain the groove.  Nothing else matters.  Paul McCartney is the master of it."

That proved to be the most important music lesson I ever learned.

Fast forward to today.  Of the songs on Paul McCartney's new album, I Don't Know is the one that stands out for me.  It is for its care and craftsmanship.  Take a listen to the care that is given to every element.  Nothing is overdone.  Nothing is overplayed.

It is a lesson I proudly pass down.

Click Here to listen to I Don't Know by Paul McCartney.

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