January 13, 2015

Campfire Songs

Nothing beats some sweet acoustic tunes on guitar around the campfire.  Singers and strummers of all ages can join in.  Here are some songs to enjoy around the campfire with guitar tutorials by YouTube guitar teacher Marty Schwartz. I’ve never met Marty, but he’s sure taught me a lot about playing guitar. Thanks Marty!

Play these guitar tunes as fancy or simple as you like. You can use the tutorials to just learn the chords and strums, or you can include all the fancy finger picking too. It’s up to you!

1.  American Girl by Tom Petty

2.  Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce

3.  Big Hard Sun by Eddie Vedder

4.  Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

5.  Country Roads by John Denver

6.  Do You Remember by Jack Johnson

7.  Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

8.  Dust in the Wind by Kansas

9.  Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison

10.  Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd

11.  Help by The Beatles

12.  Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles, Part One & Part Two

13.  I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash

14.  If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out by Cat Stevens

15.  In My Life by The Beatles

16.  Landslide by Fleetwood Mac

17.  Last Kiss by Pearl Jam

18.  Let it Be by The Beatles

19.  No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley

20.  Norwegian Wood by The Beatles

21.  Old Man by Neil Young

22.  Redemption Song by Bob Marley

23.  Ripple by The Grateful Dead

24.  Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

25.  Somewhere Over the Rainbow-Ukele-ish Style

26.  Stand By Me by Ben E. King

27.  Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond

28.  Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd

29.  Twenty One Guns by Green Day

30.  Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi

31.  When September Ends by Green Day

32.  Wild World by Cat Stevens

33.  With or Without You by U2

34.  Bonus: Jack Johnson on learning guitar and singing Cat Stevens with his family.

What campfire songs do you like to sing and play on guitar? Let us know in the comments section.

Check out more of Marty Schwartz’s guitar teaching magic athttp://www.guitarjamz.com/members/.

Article compliments of, and video tutorials at http://odysseyoutdoors.net/2012/12/acoustic-campfire-learn-33-great-camp…

December 6, 2014

Telling a Captivating Campfire Story

Summertime is almost here. School is about to let out, kids will be heading off to weeklong summer camps, and we’re all invisioning wonderful family evenings around the fire. But what are you going to do when your child comes home from camp, and begs for YOU to tell a campfire story? You might have a couple old ghost stories or childhood antics tucked away in your brain that you’ve known for years… but how can you tell them in a way that’s actually entertaining?

More likely than not, you’ll end up asking your child to share a story he or she learned at camp, but let’s face it: that’s a bit of a cop out. In reality, storytelling doesn’t have to be too hard. With a bit of imagination and some quick tips, you can master the Great Campfire Tale and thrill all of the kids (and maybe even adults) in your life!

Remember: how you tell the story determines whether you’ll hear delighted squeals or bored yawns.

William Forgey, in his book Campfire Stories – Things That Go Bump In The Night, gives us the following tips for telling truly captivating campfire stories:

1. As the storyteller you must enjoy telling the story. 

Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself! The listener is not going to believe or become involved in your story if you are stiff and formal. If you look uncomfortable, you’re listeners will feel uncomfortable, too.

2. Memorize the story’s main points. Then improvise!

Don’t think you have to tell the same story in exactly the same way every time. Know the main points, but let the story and the audience determine the extra details. Be spontaneous and let the audience participate.

3. Maintain direct contact with your audience at all times.

Be in close physical contact, and maintain eye contact continually. Remember, you are telling this story as if you feel every detail intrinsically while you are speaking. You want your audience to feel it, too!

4. Use different inflections in your voice to add moments of fear or excitement to the story.

Scream, laugh, jump, feel every emotion with the characters. If you’re feeling it, your audience will feel it too.

5. Don’t freak out if you forget something mid-story.

It happens, half-way through the story you just might forget the main character’s dog’s name is Scruffy. If you forget, just use your imagination to fill in some description – such as “the mangy sidekick” or “the fat old dog”. Kids are pretty likely to yell out the dog’s name at some point anyway.

And finally… Pick a story you’ve loved for years and get started! 

You might take inspiration from a movie, book, campfire story you learned when you were young, or even a video game. Be sure to choose something you love and know well, and then adapt it to fit the setting and audience.

Happy storytelling!