Guitar Riffs in My Head


I’m a good sleeper. The Deer Hunter has always joked I’m the thirty second till snore type of sleeper.

Sometimes I get so sleepy the only way I could stay awake is to dunk my head in ice water.

I’ve always enjoyed sleeping. When we were first married The Deer Hunter had a terrible time with sleep. He couldn’t hardly get to sleep and if he did and something woke him…like a girl wanting her momma he couldn’t get back to sleep.

These days he sleeps about like I do. He sleeps right through most things…including girls needing to ask momma just one more question about something.

Most of the time I sleep right through till morning, but sometimes I wake up and need a drink of water. Unlike The Deer Hunter, in his younger days, I can go right back to sleep. But every once in a while I can’t, well actually it’s not that I can’t, it’s that I get hung up in some sort of twilight state: not deeply asleep but not truly awake either.

Almost every time that happens I have a guitar riff going round and round in my head that just won’t shut off. Most of the time it’s Paul’s playing I hear.

Maybe it’s his break in “Working on a Building” or maybe it’s from one of the songs on the new cd he’s working on or maybe its from a song we don’t even do anymore.

Last week it was the unique riff in “Big Steel Rail Blues.”

Now that I’ve shared the song with you, you’ll probably have the riff in your head. Hopefully it won’t wake you up in the middle of the night 🙂

If you’d like to purchase some of Pap and Paul’s music check out the cds below: “Lamp Lighting Time,” and “Shepherd of my Soul.”


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  • Reply
    October 25, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    I enjoyed listening, looked up the lyrics to see all the words …. and then listened to ”Working On A Building”…there I saw the 1,2,& 3 videos listed and listened to them all and enjoyed reading the post from each of those times…. Special 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 25, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    That’s beautiful, Tip, thanks for playing it today. Paul’s got a sweet voice like Pap.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2020 at 11:33 am

    For all those who “snore” or “can’t sleep”, I highly recommend getting tested for sleep apnea. I didn’t snore, just woke up with horrible headaches and wake up very tired because, according to the doctors, I would just stop breathing in the night then start up again. Usually though, snoring is part of sleep apnea and others I know who snore have had great success with CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure).The testing is still a major nuisance but the machines have greatly improved and although it will take a few days to adjust to them, they are now so much smaller and quieter than they were even 15 years ago that I urge folks to try them. Sweet Dreams.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Tipper, I love the songs you have on your blog on Sunday. I love the music and the singing. I enjoy listening to the guitar playing, I like to hear that type of picking not the Roy Clark style. I have said this before but it reminds me of my father in law and sister in law and sometimes some of his friends playing on Sunday afternoon. He like to say only two kinds of people sing true bluegrass, those that can and the ones that can’t. You don’t have all this electronic equipment to help you out. I have trouble sleeping at night since my daughter passed away, it is almost like I have a clock set for 2 o’clock and then I lay there for several hours thinking of her and the past. A song that comes to my mind during these times is Put Your Hand in The Nail Scarred Hand. This may not be the exact title.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 25, 2020 at 10:08 am

    What is a riff? I’ve been making music most of my life and have only recently heard the word. Modern music hasn’t changed so much that an entire element could have been added without my knowing. Or could it? Maybe it is a “Rock” term, I missed that category of music (if you can call it that) altogether.

    • Reply
      October 25, 2020 at 11:05 am

      Ed-a riff is a group or series of chords or notes 🙂

  • Reply
    October 25, 2020 at 10:01 am

    I used to sleep like a log but after my operation in August I have had trouble sleeping. Go to sleep but then wake up and can’t get back to sleep. Now though I am starting to sleep through. I do remember when I was working and excited about a project coming up at work, my mind would not shut down. Thank goodness that did not happen most nights. I enjoyed Paul’s singing and playing on the song. I don’t know what the proper term is in music for the first 4 or 5 chords of that song but those made me think they came from another song. I thought maybe from the 50’s or early 60’s. I listened again and the words “If I had a hammer,” seemed to fit. I just know I have heard those chords if that is what you call them in some song. Good singing!

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    October 25, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Paul McCartney has said the songs in lyric and melody came to him in his sleep. I’ve also heard the great classic composers experienced the same. I sleep like a poker game. Some nights I get a winning hand and some nights I get the pleasure of being awake all night. Murray and I sleep separately these years. He claims I snore and I’m too old and too tired to care so separate sleeping quarters “keep the fur from flying.” I suppose for 35 years or more I’ve worked the night shift which has led to many health issues like Crohns. Apparently there’s a histamine released only as one sleeps that’s essential for gut health. Even 3 months on a night shift can screw this up…

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    October 25, 2020 at 7:25 am

    Tipper I thought I could hear Gordon Lightfoot in the song and music. Had to look it up before I was sure.
    Loved the song and the excellent delivery. All three, “Put it on the top shelf”! Bet you are familiar with that quote?

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    October 25, 2020 at 6:35 am

    Sometime I get up at 2am or 3am and start writing a song…..If I don’t write down those lyrics at that time they are gone….

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