JOLENE by Ray Lamontagne
I wasn't too familiar with this tune until Paul from one of my Instagram Transcribing Request Fests asked for a tutorial on it – so thank you to Paul! I’m so glad to have been introduced to it because wow – what a beautiful song. Ray LaMontagne is a great singer and he’s put together something that I think is very fun to play. There are some lovely and unusual chord sequences throughout that keep you on your toes, too.
Ray keeps it pretty simple most of the way through, but what makes it interesting is that the chords often change not quite where you’d normally expect them to. In cases like this, unless you know the tune front-to-back already, it really helps to play along with the original recording just to make sure you’re hitting those chord changes spot on.
Another thing that can be quite useful is tabbing out the chords by hand. It’s a great way to visualize the music, but it can also help you wrap your head around what’s happening when the tune goes from the paper to your fretboard. You can recognize patterns easily and literally see how you can adapt and modify a chord. I’ve provided you with some blank tab sheets that you can download and print out for yourself too!
After playing through with the original recording and paying attention to those chord changes, I’m sure you’ll have it down and performance-ready in no time.