The song “California Stars” comes from Mermaid Avenue, a 1998 album of previously unheard lyrics written by Woody Guthrie, put to music, written, and performed by Billy Bragg and Wilco. It’s a great song for beginners, for campfire jams, or any jams at all, because it uses just three chords (G, C, and D) and the chord progression is the same the whole way through the song. Since you don’t need to pay attention to the chord changes so much, it’s a good song to experiment with different strum patterns. In this lesson, Adrianne shows you a rhythm pattern that mimics what Jeff Tweedy, the rhythm guitarist and singer for Wilco, played on Mermaid Avenue: down down, down-up down-up, _ up-down-up, _up-down-up. She’ll also show you how to play that strum pattern with a little bit of a rhythmic “choppy” feel using palm muting and also by relaxing the chord fingers before each accented up strum. Adrianne plays “California Stars” in the original key, with the capo at the second fret, which puts it in the key of A. If this key is too low for you to sing, see the video “Play and Sing ‘California Stars’ in a Higher Key,” where she sings and plays it with the capo at the fifth fret.
"California Stars" (Available to subscribers)