Christopher J Music

Bassist, Guitarist & Composer

Christopher J Music

Bassist, Guitarist & Composer

Christopher J Music

Bassist, Guitarist & Composer

Christopher J Music

Bassist, Guitarist & Composer

Christopher J Music

Bassist, Guitarist & Composer

Christopher J Music

Bassist, Guitarist & Composer

Christopher J Music

Bassist, Guitarist & Composer

Christopher J Music

Bassist, Guitarist & Composer

Christopher J Music

Bassist, Guitarist & Composer

Christopher J Music

Bassist, Guitarist & Composer

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New Music – Key to the Highway

Podcast audio

My cover of Key to the Highway is released and should now be available on many digital platforms including Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify and other places. And of course you can find all the information you need about it right on my website on the Music Store page which includes links to those major distributors.

I spent much of my COVID house arrest, and even before that, getting into the blues and especially Freddie King’s music including learning about the origins of the song Key to the Highway.

The history of the song’s origins are little bit murky. It is generally credited to Charles Segar and sometimes to Big Bill Broonzy or to both. From what I can tell, the song started out as standard 12 bar blues form with the Segar version, but when Broonzy recorded it along with Jazz Gillum it was reworked into the 8 bar form which I have used. The Segar recording is a piano driven tune at a medium tempo.

Like I said, the Charles Segar version was 12 bar form and featured the piano as the primary instrument. Then along came Jazz Gillum and Big Bill Broonzy who recorded their version featuring harmonica and acoustic guitar in 1940 in an 8 bar blues format.

The chord progression for the 8 bar format is as follows:
I V7 IV IV I V7 I–IV I–V7

Broonzy followed that with his own solo version a year later on the Okey label in 1941.

After Broonzy passed away in 1958, Little Walter recorded his own cover of “Key to the Highway”. Little Walter’s version changed it to more of a Chicago blues feel with backing by a full band of course with a full compliment of blues harmonica.

But then along came the King…….Freddie King that is. And he reworked Key again to a harder driving more intense sound with his guitar as lead instrument along with his powerful vocals. Freddie’s cover of Key to the Highway appeared on his “Getting Ready” album released in 1971 by Shelter Records. There is also a video of Freddie playing Key to the Highway live at the 1972 Sugar Bowl half time show.

My version of Key to the Highway took Freddie King as inspiration along with a dose of Magic Sam thrown in there for good measure. My recording is in the key of B flat. And for the guitar work I chose an Ibanez Artcore semihollowbody with Super58 pickups playing with a “Carol Kaye” bass pick (plectrum for you Brits). Vocals were recorded through a simple Shure SM-58 mic.

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Some Coronavirus Incongruities

I think I have been stuck at home too long and am getting cynical, and feel a need to vent, or at least ask some questions about a few things I call Coronavirus Incongruities.

First, this virus is definitely a real and nasty bug and has caused a huge amount of suffering.  Hardest hit in particular have been the very old, those in nursing homes and those with serious preexisting health conditions. 

But……..When the COVID outbreak began to get serious in March the forecasts at that time predicted over 2 million deaths in the US alone and the hyperventilating of the news media frightened many people into thinking that we would be experiencing a modern day version of the Bubonic Plague with people literally dropping dead in the streets.  It is now obvious that these models  from the Imperial College in the UK were wildly inaccurate.  Neil Ferguson, the British academic that created this model, also recently resigned his position in disgrace per the National Review for violating his own rules:

With all of his influence, it’s not surprising British media are making a great deal about Ferguson being forced to resign from the government’s virus advisory board yesterday after revelations he had violated lockdown rules he had championed in order to conduct an affair with a married woman.

Because of these inaccurate models government public health authorities recommended draconian measures to combat the virus.  But, as a lay observer watching these events unfold, I have seen a lot of things that seem incongruous, which is a fancy way of saying that they do not make sense to me….they don’t add up.  Do they make sense to you?

For example:

  • Thousands of people “congregate” at Lowes, Home Depot and supermarkets
    • But they say it’s not safe to “congregate” at Church or the Synagogue??
  • People aren’t getting infected at Costco, Lowes, Home Depot, Kroger, Safeway and other big stores deemed “essential”
    • But they say the virus will spread if we open little businesses that have been deemed “nonessential”, like your barber, nail salon, florist, French bakery, etc.
  • Millions of private industry workers are out of work and on unemployment
    • But government bureaucrats keep getting paid??
  • They say they need more testing 
    • But if I test negative today I could be positive tomorrow.  What’s the point??
  • Convicted felons are released from prison to protect them from the virus 
    • But hardworking Americans like Shelley Luther get put in prision because are trying feed their families??
  • McDonald’s stopped selling ice cream cones and cookies “because of COVID”
    • But they still sell burgers and egg McMuffins.  They have to touch both, and we eat both, so what’s the difference?!
  • They want us to “maintain separation” in stores
    • Yet supermarkets such as Safeway are funneling all entering and exiting customers through one doorway.  How can that be “social distancing”?
  • They told us in March to “shelter in place” to “flatten the curve” and prevent the swamping of hospitals with patients.
    • The hospitals were not overrun with patients.  Many field hospitals and US Navy hospital ships were barely if at all utilized.  Now they say we must keep shut down to prevent a rebound of infections.  They keep moving the goal posts.
  • They call it “social” distancing
    • But since we can’t socialize, isn’t it really “antisocial” distancing?!

Do any of these coronavirus incongruities make any sense to you?

All of this has made me want to play the blues.

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A Quick Intro to Christopher J.

I am Chris Hartzog and this is my website, Christopher J. Music.  I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest in the Seattle, Washington area.

I’ve loved music as long as I can remember.  During many years of being a special needs parent to a very high needs child with autism, I started playing guitar again and started writing music.  And through that experience I learned that music not only transcends languages, it also transcends disabilities.

Today my music covers a variety of styles and instruments from folk to blues/jazz, and classical to pop-rock. I am a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, bass (electric and upright), ukulele, keyboards, and a singer and songwriter.  I also enjoy playing classical music on the double bass with my local community symphony orchestra.  And, I write, arrange, record and produce songs and put them on this website for people to download and hopefully share and enjoy.

Some Music

Go to the music store page for a complete catalog.

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