This is a very special White Nights season for me… my 15th as a resident of Tsar Peter’s fortress town. To celebrate, here’s a song that could well be the first ever written for banjo about the St. Petersburg White Nights… I call it NEVA NIGHTS.
The Neva Nights Story
This tune has been thru several incarnations. My cats have heard them all and like this one best (and they have superb taste). It began with a short chromatic banjo lick (which pops up in the interludes) and the 2 main chords of the verses. I had these for probably 25 years but it was only after moving to St. Petersburg in 1996 that it all fell into the first incarnation of this tune… maybe 6 years later… which attempted to be progressive Bluegrass. And failed. I let it percolate a few years more.
The present version began to gel back in late 2009 when I started working out a concept for a live set with just singing and low-tuned banjo. I recorded the banjo and vocal and maybe should have stopped there. The rest is pretty much ear candy and fooling around in my studio when I should have been sleeping. But I have tried to capture something of my impressions “summer in the city” that’s been my home for 15 years this month (something I could never remotely have imagined no so very long ago).