An old teacher of mine used to say: “Once you learn three chords on guitar, you can play a lot of music.” He was right. Many brilliant songs stick to three chords, and just switch up the feel, the order, and the rhythms of those common chords to tell a story.
This new episode shows how those three chords work, and how they get used in blues, folk, pop, and more. Pandora analyst Russell Johnson plays fingerstyle guitar on a blues song by Blind Blake and an old Spanish folk song, and we go over how both songs rely on the I-IV-V to build up tension and then release that tension.
We have clips from great I-IV-V songs on the page for the Episode 17. To scan all of the different free shows available, hop on over to the main podcast page.
Back to the tonic,


  1. Byron
    July 27, 2007 at 1:37pm
    I guess nobody remembers Bob Dylan on the Bringin' All Back Home album, which came out in 1964. "Fistfights in the kitchen They're enough to make me cry; The mailman comes, Even he's got to take a side. Even the butler, he's got something to prove. You ask why I don't live here, Honey how come you don't move!" I can't remember the name of the tune, but that's the last verse in one of the songs. Three Chords got nothin' on him!
  2. Kevin Seal
    July 27, 2007 at 2:42pm
    Right! That one is called "On the Road Again." "Well I wake up in the morning there's frogs inside my socks You're momma, she's hiding inside the ice box Your daddy walks in wearing a Napoleon Bonaparte mask And you ask why I don't live here, Honey do you have to ask?"
  3. Byron
    July 27, 2007 at 3:50pm
    Sounds like Johnny Winter to me... right down to the wail at the end of a line. The guitar work is almost imitative, but I suppose if you're that good and that fast, some things start to come out sounding alike. Ya can't knock a real performer...and that's what we're hearing.
  4. Kevin Seal
    August 01, 2007 at 11:15am
    Indeed, indeed, a real performer for sure.

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