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Singled Out: Karen Lawrence's It's Been So Long


10-24-2018
Karen Lawrence

Acclaimed blues rocker Karen Lawrence recently released her "Best Of Live" album and to celebrate we asked her to tell us about the song "It's Been So Long". "Here is the story:

It was difficult for me to chose one song from the Best of Live collection. It was between two of my favorites: Fun and Games and It's Been So Long. On one hand I'd love to elaborate on the torchy, flower-petal-pickin'-he loves me, he loves me not Fun and Games but I chose It's Been So Long. An element these two share in common is the way I presented both songs to the band.

In the early days when we were starting out we had only about 20 minutes worth of material. We were not doing covers either. If I'm singing, I like singing "truth" and that comes from me. They'd play them as fast as I could write them.

Often, for fun, I'd surprise them with a new song on stage. I'd set the groove with the drummer, let the guys know the key and use hand signals for the chord changes (1-4-5-bridge, etc.). It was thrilling and inspiring. However, the first time we played It's Been So Long it was an absolute train wreck; so embarrassing, everybody watching, we couldn't wait for it to be over but the jam was definitely hot. What began as a 3 verse, 1 bridge groove became, over time, an 11 minute rollercoaster ride we loved to perform.

On The Best of Live CD it's been edited to a radio friendly 4:52 minute song and it's great but I encourage you to dial into Rick Dufay and the entire band on the Live at the Lake 11:09 version. Listen to how Rick plays and embellishes the melodic theme I forced upon him. He makes it hip and beautiful. Throughout the song he flies by the seat of his pants and the band is right on his heels. That was Blue By Nature's M.O.. We'd start out with a relatively simply structured song and then everybody fanned out but grooved together-each member listening, feeling, using their musical talent to make it flow. When we played it was an improvisational hot mess! I'm pretty sure that's what our audiences saw and enjoyed. I know I did! I'm not sure I'll ever have the luxury of that kind of wild freedom on stage again; spontaneous, inspired, indulgent, a unique feeling I remember very well. There were performances after which I had to stop and catch my breath! Imagine, I had to lean against a wall and catch my breath! Just incredible! I'm thankful as a musician to have had such an experience and I'm glad a taste of it was captured on this CD.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!


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