I present you a guitar version of a standard of the bluegrass repertoire composed in the 70’s by Bill Monroe and maybe also by Kenny Baker : Jerusalem Ridge.
I discovered this song thanks to Tony Rice’s album, Church Street Blues.
Why this song.
I play this piece mainly to improve my guitar technique. It is part of my yearly routine to play regularly pieces that require a certain dexterity, especially in velocity. I have always felt that what my playing lacks most is speed. I particularly like bluegrass music for that and I am in complete awe of guitarists Billy Strings, Doc Watson or Tony Rice for that aspect of their playing.
Of course, I also enjoy listening to Jerusalem Ridge when played by Tony Rice, hence my choice of that track here.
The piece is in A minor, with a very static harmony in the manner of a folk piece. No chord is out of key here. We find the tonic A minor, the fifth degree E major, the fourth degree D minor and the third degree or relative major C.
The interest of this piece clearly lies in its melody. It is a typical example of the bluegrass style, with little downtime and something a little alienating.
As mentioned earlier, my biggest challenge is to achieve a certain speed while remaining clear in my game. The speed with which Tony Rice plays this title seems impossible for me to achieve at the moment. Maybe with more practice I’ll get there? In any case, my goal is already to gradually increase the tempo each week. Right now, I’m at 108 bpm. If I could play this same piece at 112 bpm, I would be thrilled! I think Tony Rice must be around 120 bpm.
Score and tablature.
If you wish, the score and tablature are available in PDF format below. This is a non-commercial sharing.