Episode 5 - 'River Of Love'
This weeks episode features a superb gospel influenced track entitled 'River Of Love' by U.S. Singer/ Songwriter Dana Glover. The song is taken from her excellent 2003 album, 'Testimony'.
Looking at the songscheme for the first time, it certainly looks like the most complex yet, at least in terms of the number of chords, but that's mostly due to a long(ish) chorus sequence modulating up a tone in the final section and a variation being added there too. Don't be put off, this a great song, full of beautiful harmonic moves and it translates well to the guitar. The song will inform your songwriting craft, particularly in the interaction of bass line and chords.
The most noteable feature of the track in many ways is the pedalled 'E' bass note, which is largely ever-present throughout the verse and chorus. The songs verse, based on I, IV and V, (E, A and B) sounds less predictable than it might as a result and the shift into the pre-chorus to a back-cycle (iiø - V - I, F#ø7 to B7, resolving to tonic E) sounds even more dramatic because the bass does move here. The chorus quickly restates the pedalled E however but the chordal harmony shifts constantly between parallel major and minor chords and the turnaround is a killer. F#/E (V7/V) to Am/E (iv) to E (I). The minor plagal cadence here sounding resonant and fulfilling.
The bridge features another nice shift to a repeating G (bIII), F#m7 (ii) to I (E) figure which is uplifting and resonant too but, via the final pre-chorus that adds another step in the back-cycle technique for good measure placing C#7 (V7/ii) before F#ø7, we are treated to to a direct modulation, up a tone, to F#. The final chorus is a double, but here's the real treat; while the first repeat uses the established pattern, the second version is both extended and the bass follows a seemingly never ending chromatic descent (1 - 7- b7 - 6 - b6 - 5 - b5 - 4 - 3- b3 - 2 - 5 - 1). It is the only time the bass moves in the chorus and it is a wonderful 'goose bump' moment. It is a fitting conclusion but clearly, the song must vamp out on the I - V - v - IV sequence while the tonic pedals away and the choir reach their crescendo. Love is a wonderful thing.
Here is the songscheme, or you if prefer a hi-res PDF download it here.
Here is the accompanying video for the track, featuring all the parts from the song.