When my wife and I bought our house out in the farmland of Danby, south of Ithaca, NY, in 1991, we wanted to get a dog. When we went to visit a farm advertising puppies in the paper, we came back with two. They were sisters, both shepherd/husky/lab/hounds, and we named them Wanda and Zoe. We enjoyed countless long walks out behind our house in the corn fields, old apple orchards, and woods around Butternut Creek. In 1995, on our way out for a walk, Wanda ran out into the road and was hit by a car. We rushed her to Cornell's vet hospital, but she didn't make it. This piece haunted my head a lot of the year.

This is an instrumental, with four tracks of acoustic guitar, all tuned DADFAD. Here's how I described the recording in my studio log: "The first guitar is just the beat on the strings, clawing and thumping. Then the low and high rumbling and melodic weaving parts. A lonesome sweet sad solo is the finishing touch."

There is such a void left when a pet dies, and I still feel the ache, and remember sweet Wanda, when I hear this. And I've been hearing it and playing it a lot lately as our dear cat Charlie is dying.

Recorded in mangobananas studio, Ithaca, NY, with OSC's Deck II on an Apple Macintosh Centris 660AV. Released on the album flipping bits in 1995. This is an instrumental take on a song called "zoe said to wanda" that I wrote in 1992 about the joy of those two dogs. Here's the 1995 version of "zoe said to wanda" from flipping bits and the 1992 version from navigating.

I really love playing these chords and fingerpicking in DADFAD, and how the two parts layer. Here's a page highlighting the many alternate tunings I've used in my songwriting. Alternate tunings are a great way to get out of your ruts and discover beautiful new chord voicings and melodies, as I hope this song illustrates.

Thanks for listening!


download: wanda.mp3