The Grammy winner and former Wings member beautifully reimagines 12 Fab Four classics on solo acoustic guitar.
Grammy-winning guitarist and composer Laurence Juber will release A Day in My Life, the fifth collection in a series of his immensely popular solo acoustic arrangements of iconic Beatles songs, on February 9 via HoloGram Recordings. The album will be available digitally and 180 gram vinyl.
Produced by Hope Juber and recorded by Richard Pritchard at Abbey Road’s legendary Studio 2, A Day in My Life is a stunning showcase of Juber’s breathtaking fingerstyle style and impeccable tone on a dozen Fab Four classics, including “Blackbird,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Rain,” “Let It Be” and “In My Life,” among others.
Watch a video promo for A Day in My Life here.
“Coming back to these songs is always a joy,” says Juber, whose connection to the material is significant as he played guitar in Paul McCartney’s group Wings from 1978 to 1981. Though the guitarist has previously recorded versions of these tunes throughout his series of Beatles-themed albums that began with 2000’s LJ Plays the Beatles, he calls A Day in My Life “sort of a ‘best of’ LJ Plays the Beatles, but from a changed perspective. My playing is different from 25 years ago, when I first started seriously recording Beatles tunes. I’m channeling different emotions.”
Recording at Abbey Road – the same hallowed space where the Beatles created their enduring songs – stirred profound memories for Juber, who was working in Studio 2 in 1978 when he received a phone call to audition for Wings in 1978. “It became a second home for me during the Back to the Egg sessions,” he says. “I haven’t been back there since, so this was something of a homecoming. It’s a very vibey room, and there was magic in reimagining the songs where they were originally recorded. Plus, the microphone locker is heavenly.”
Throughout A Day in My Life, Juber’s deep admiration and affection for the Beatles comes through in his adventurous and joyful interpretations. “Day Tripper” sees him blissfully sailing through the rollicking riff while doubling bass and drum patterns – all while playing vocal lines on the guitar’s top strings. On a transfixing reading of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” he conjures up the Beatles’ groundbreaking studio innovations with spiraling lines, lush chords, and percussive slaps and pops.
Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird” has long been a guitarist’s dream – and for some, a challenge. Juber turns in a bravura performance, playing both the signature chords and the supple vocal melody at once. “I play ‘Blackbird’ in a different guitar tuning and key to the way that Paul does it,” he says. “That’s because I’m incorporating the melody into the accompaniment, which is not practical for that song in standard guitar tuning.”
Juber turns the Beatles’ jarring drone classic “Rain” into a sea of tranquility. “It was the first one that Hope and I worked on as a kind of a tone poem, a ‘rain dance,” he explains. “We incorporated an original section of two-handed tapping on the fingerboard to emulate a ‘rainstorm’ effect.” Other highlights include a sublime take on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” with Juber shifting between George Harrison’s bewitching melodies and the harmonies’ complex shades – there’s even bits of Eric Clapton’s heralded lead. And he brings exquisite technique and insightful artistry to “In My Life,” balancing the wistful and whimsical qualities of John Lennon’s transformative masterstroke.
“The Beatles are as fundamental to rock music as Mozart and Beethoven are to the classical repertoire,” Juber says. “There’s so much musicality – melodically, harmonically and rhythmically. The challenge in creating solo fingerstyle guitar arrangements is to find the nexus of the tune and the instrument. There are many layers, and while the process can produce the occasional epiphany, it’s mostly like a jigsaw puzzle – making the pieces fit together.”
The February 9 release date of A Day in My Life coincides with the start of the NYC Fest for Beatles Fans, to be held at the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport (where the Beatles landed 60 years ago). Juber will be one of the featured guests for the three-day event, performing twice: A solo acoustic set in which he’ll perform the new album, and an electric set in which he’ll be joined by drummer Steve Holley (also a former member of Wings) for a tribute to their fellow Wings mate Denny Laine, who recently passed. Additionally, he will team with legendary British singer Billy J. Kramer (who scored hits of Beatles songs the band never recorded) to debut selections from his new album.
On the studio side, Juber has been increasing his presence as an electric guitarist. He recently performed on “It Makes Me Cry” by Carla Olson (the Textones) and Allan Clarke (the Hollies) – the single is currently No. 4 on the U.K. Heritage chart. In addition, he co-produced, and played guitar on, the upcoming album by T Bear (aka Richard T Bear) for Quarto Valley Records. The first single, “A Change Will Do Me Good,” which Juber co-wrote, is climbing the Dutch Hit Tracks top 20.
Beginning February 17, Juber will hit the road for concert dates in the U.S. and the U.K. “Beyond the new release, I have a handful of new compositions and arrangements,” he says. “My shows are constantly evolving as I add new tunes to the set list.” Dates here: https://laurencejuber.com/concerts/
The full tracklist of A Day in My Life:
“Strawberry Fields Forever”
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
“I Am the Walrus”
“And Your Bird Can Sing”
“Let it Be”
“A Day in the Life”
“Across the Universe”
“In My Life”
For more information, visit: https://laurencejuber.com/