Always With Me, Always With You Learn one of Joe’s most beautiful instrumentals
Although Joe Satriani is rightly renowned for his amazing guitar chops, it’s easy to forget that it was always his ability to pen a great melody that saw him become the premier solo guitarist of his time. Although many guitarists, from Duane Eddy to Freddie King, Hank Marvin and Jeff Beck, had paved the way for instrumental guitar music prior to Joe’s 1985 album Not Of This Earth, it was Satriani’s experiments in sound and melody (his use of modes in his writing is legendary) that saw him become the pioneer, effectively making solo guitar music cool again.
Rubina – named after his wife – was perhaps a hint of things to come, with its haunting melody and astonishing solo section. Joe possessed all the modern rock techniques that we now take for granted: legato, tapping, alternate picking, sweep picking, pinched harmonics, whammy bar scoops and dives and more. These were always used to benefit the song, however, rather than as a means to an end (a criticism easily levelled at many of the 80s shredders). Every melody was easily singable, even in crowd-pleasers such as Surfing With The Alien on his follow-up album (1987). This is arguably what helped Joe bridge the gap between the average guitar aficionado and the general music-buying public. As if to underline this point, those purveyors of supremely singable melodies, Coldplay, were forced to settle out of court with Satriani after Satch sued Chris Martin and co over similarities between Joe’s 2004 track If I Could Fly and the band’s hit, Viva La Vida. This accessibility propelled Surfing to become a platinum seller and launched Joe’s fledgling career.
Always With Me, Always With You was another tribute to his wife and originally started out in a completely different direction, as Joe elaborates: “I thought it would be a very deep, lush, echo-y kind of a thing. But when we got to the studio, it turned out that all those arpeggios sounded better completely dry and direct and that all the drum performances that Jeff Campitelli had played on actually didn’t fit… It really helped the album, that when that song came on, suddenly it was not like a rock band; it was a different sort of canvas, so it was a bit of a revelation, actually, finishing that. It changed our thoughts about what we could do with a guitar instrumental.”
Although this track is well known (and very nostalgic for any guitarists that grew up in the 80s) there are so many hidden gems – from the African style rhythm guitar in the playout to the Nashville-tuned guitar in the minor section – that you might not have noticed before. It’s worth taking the time to listen to all the infinite, subtle and deliberate ways that Joe approaches every single note. Whether it be slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs, or simply feathering the pick or touching the strings in a lighter way, there are many opportunities to vary the sound and approach. Study what Joe does and make it your own!
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