Ryan Welton

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Category Archives: music lesson

How to play Post Malone’s “Circles” on the piano + chord progressions

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This is my piano cover of “Circles” by Post Malone. I posted it to YouTube a couple weeks ago after becoming obsessed with the song. It’s such a change-of-pace for Post Malone — and I dig it!

More covers and piano tutorials on my YouTube channel at youtube.com/ryanweltonmusic

The song starts in CMaj7 and goes to Em/B. It then goes to an FMaj9 and an Fmin9. From there, it’s mostly all variations of melody.

Post Malone “Circles” lyrics:

Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh
We couldn’t turn around
‘Til we were upside down
I’ll be the bad guy now
But no, I ain’t too proud
I couldn’t be there
Even when I try
You don’t believe it
We do this every time
Seasons change and our love went cold
Feed the flame ’cause we can’t let go
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away
I dare you to do something
I’m waiting on you again
So I don’t take the blame
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away, run away
Let go
I got a feeling that it’s time to let go
I say so
I knew that this was doomed from the get-go
You thought that it was special, special
But it was just the sex though, the sex though
And I still hear the echoes (the echoes)
I got a feeling that it’s time to let it go
Let it go
Seasons change and our love went cold
Feed the flame ’cause we can’t let go
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away
I dare you to do something
I’m waiting on you again
So I don’t take the blame
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away, run away
Maybe you don’t understand what I’m going through
It’s only me, what you got to lose?
Make up your mind, tell me, what are you gonna do?
It’s only me, let it go
Seasons change and our love went cold
Feed the flame ’cause we can’t let go
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away
I dare you to do something
I’m waiting on you again
So I don’t take the blame
Run away, but we’re running in circles
Run away, run away, run away

How to Play Kenny Rogers’ classic hit, “Lady”

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Kenny Rogers has had many hits, but this is arguably his most beautiful song. It was written by the great Lionel Richie, and it’s super easy to play. It starts with Dm.

That’s D minor. The chord progression is Dm, Gm9/D, C/D — so you’re basically going from D minor to G minor to C with the D in the right hand. Mind you, watch my right hand as I’m playing the intro. You’re not playing a straight Gm triad in the right hand. You’re playing a Bb, D and an A in the right hand — a Gm9 (G, Bb, D, F, A) You’ll just leave out the G and F.

The first chorus is a pretty straight ahead Gm7, Am7, BbM7, Am7, Dsus

After two verses and choruses, you glissando up and down the piano and hit the BIG BIG chorus where Kenny sings, “LADYYYYYYY” — and that’s BbM7, C/Bb, F, C/E, Dm7, F/C and repeat until you get to the end.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard from Kenny Rogers came on an episode of ‘American Idol’ a whole bunch of years ago: Play the notes and sing the lyrics, but emote the words. Pay attention to the story as you’re singing / playing.

SING ALONG! Here are the lyrics to “Lady” by Kenny Rogers

Lady, I’m your knight in shining armor and I love you
You have made me what I am and I am yours
My love, there’s so many ways I want to say “I love you”
Let me hold you in my arms forever more
You have gone and made me such a fool
I’m so lost in your love
And oh, we belong together
Won’t you believe in my song?
Lady, for so many years I thought I’d never find you
You have come into my life and made me whole
Forever, let me wake to see you each and every morning
Let me hear you whisper softly in my ear
In my eyes, I see no one else but you
There’s no other love like our love
And yes, oh yes, I’ll always want you near me
I’ve waited for you for so long
Lady, your love’s the only love I need
And beside me is where I want you to be
‘Cause, my love, there’s somethin’ I want you to know
You’re the love of my life, you’re my lady

Easy, easy, easy: How to play “Rosanna” by Toto

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One of my first memories of pop music growing up was being at Camp Egan in Tahlequah, in the pool, and hearing Toto’s “Rosanna.” Sure, I was at “church camp,” but let me assure you that it was closer to something out of “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” more than it was anything our parents hoped it would be.

And “Rosanna” was the jam of the summer.

I didn’t know who this woman was or why she’d leave that poor man, causing him to “hurt so bad.” Then 30 years after thinking the song was about Rosanna Arquette, I learn she was coincidental to the masterpiece. Sure, Steve Porcaro was dating her, but David Paich wrote it about a long lost love and imprinted her name upon it because Steve wanted to divulge his love to her in song.

And then they broke up, and it became all too real.

This song was pretty much the moment I decided that music was awesome. I literally remember being in the pool, thinking two things: I can’t swim, and how awesome was church camp if Toto was its soundtrack!? I wish I was a better player in terms of technique. I’ll never be Toto-level good. I started playing the piano when I was three or four, whenever my dad started showing me flash cards with notes and chords. My dad was a professional musician, straight out of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, and I’ve been fakin’ it for four decades.

But what I’ve lacked in technical skill I’ve more than made up for in passion.

So, I put together this tutorial to help other passionate musicians fake their way through “Rosanna” to impress somebody at work, the bar or maybe a girl named Rosanna.

The song starts in G, and you can chord between G and C in that opening shuffle.

First verse is G-F-Em, and then go to a C. I play it in here as a Bb/C, but really it should just be a C. That takes you to an F-Eb-Dm before a bridge of Gm-F/A-Bb.

The verse ends with a bang: Eb-Bb-F. You’ll have to watch the video to see how I do that little riff to get in the chorus.

I also address the almighty Toto “Rosanna” solo, which is way beyond my technical ability. However, I’ve got the framework down and describe it in my video. If you like piano tutorials, I hope you’ll come find me on YouTube at youtube.com/ryanweltonmusic because for every cover I do from here on out, I’ll also do a tutorial describing the EASIEST way to learn it. I might not give you the technically perfect way to play it, but you’ll be able to impress folks after five minutes with me — if you can play piano at all.

Cover + Chords: Learn how to play Gino Vannelli’s “I Just Wanna Stop”

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Listening to my favorite Yacht Rock radio station yesterday, SiriusXM’s 311, on the SiriusXM app, I heard Gino Vannelli’s “I Just Wanna Stop,” a No. 4 hit here in the United States back in 1978.

His other big hit here, “Living Inside Myself,” peaked at No. 6 in 1981. Great song.

However, as I keep thinking about how to develop content around my music, I find it wise to listen to people who visit my site and my channels and my Instagram and Facebook, all of it. I’ve had several other musicians ask for chord structures on these songs — a little somethin’ to provide them with value beyond a listen.

So, here goes. Hoping that if you like it, you’ll “like” it and come find me on YouTube. Let’s grow the community together!

Basically, the song starts with an Emaj9 and a Dmaj7 / E back and forth, or as I call it “a B chord on top of an E and then a D chord on top of an E.”

The verse is Emaj9 to C#m9 to Amaj9 (or 11th or 13th, depending on how fancy you wanna get), and then than Amaj9-11-13, A/B (which is an A chord on top of a B in the bass line) and Emaj9 with the turnaround being a sweet Cmaj9, B11.

Repeat the verse and then the bridge is Amaj7, G#m7, F#m7, Amaj7 with the money chord being the Bbm7-5 before the start of the chorus. That chord is basically a Bb-Db-E in the right hand on top of a Bb in the bass line.

The chorus is easy. It’s Amaj7, G#m7, Dmaj7/E and then repeat before closing out the chorus with Amaj7, G#m7 and F#m7 and that Cmaj9,B11 turnaround.

Does that help at all? Hope you enjoy. Here’s the finished product:

http://www.youtube.com/soonerryan2000

 

Cover & Lyrics: The secret to playing Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne”

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Last week, I got to see the legendary Steely Dan although I certainly, remorsefully didn’t ever get to see Walter Becker. I wrote about the gig at the River Spirit Casino in Tulsa, too. If you haven’t been to River Spirit for a show, I highly, highly recommend it.

Easy find. Easy parking. Awesome staff. Coffee shop open after the show.

If you read that post, you know that Donald Fagen and company did “Kid Charlemagne” as their encore. “Kid” is my favorite ‘Dan’ song of all time. It mixes rock with jazz and his wonderful on guitar as it is on keys, kind of a perfect blend of Becker and Fagen.

So, this weekend I decided to cover it. Show me a little grace on this one; I worked it up in 30 minutes and memorized most of the words. The secret to playing this tune is the beginning. You can’t just hammer a C7 and call it good. In the right hand, it needs to be an Eb, E and Bb — three notes with a C bass.

See also: Ryan Welton’s YouTube channel filled with original songs, comedy tunes, smooth jazz and video randomness

Here are the lyrics for you to follow along:

While the music played, you worked by candlelight
Those San Francisco nights
You were the best in town
Just by chance you crossed the diamond with the pearl

You turned it on the world
That’s when you turned the world around
(Did you feel like Jesus?)
Did you realize
That you were a champion in their eyes?

On the hill the stuff was laced with kerosene
But yours was kitchen-clean
Everyone stopped to stare at your technicolor motor home

Every A-Frame had your number on the wall
You must have had it all
You’d go to L.A. on a dare and you’d go it alone
(Could you live forever?)
Could you see the day?
Could you feel your whole world fall apart and fade away?

Now your patrons have all left you in the red
Your low-rent friends are dead
This life can be very strange
All those day-glo freaks who used to paint the face

They’ve joined the human race
Some things will never change
(Son, you were mistaken)
You are obsolete
Look at all the white men on the street

Clean this mess up else we’ll all end up in jail
Those test-tubes and the scale
Just get it all out of here

Is there gas in the car?
Yes, there’s gas in the car
I think the people down the hall know who you are

‘Cause the man is wise
You are still an outlaw in their eyes

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