"Brother" is a gently loping tune that Frisell wrote while playing one of his acoustic guitars. "Actually, I was messing around with a low tuning," he recalls. "I'm pretty sure I had the strings tuned to C G C G C E. It was a huge C chord. I wasn't familar with the tuning at all, so I was just experimenting with that big open chord. I came up with the melody for 'Brother,' wrote it down, and pulled it out for the Nashville sessions. In that tuning, the guitar would ring with these wonderful overtones. I wouldn't have heard the melody in the same way if I had been playing in regular tuning."
On Nashville, Frisell played "Brother" in standard tuning except for dropping the low E string down to C. As for the overtones he heard when he originally composed the piece, he counted on the contributions of dobro player Jerry Douglas and bassist Viktor Krauss.
-Dan Ouellette WHAT GOES AROUND from the editors of Acoustic Guitar Magazine
This tune incorporates many Frisell trademarks, such as the quirky harmonics in the introduction. The harmonics weave in a C# note, but then the song begins in the key of C#. Your finger placement for the harmonic at the fret (which can also be played at the ninth fret) needs to be a little more precise than with the more resonant 12th-, seventh-, and fifth-fret natural harmonics-picking closer to the bridge will also help it ring out clearly. When the melody begins, it is played almost entirely on the first string, relying on slides and hammer-ons for its legato flavor. Another Frisell trademark is a melody that glides harmoniously and peacefully along and then suddenly hits you with a moment of dissonance and tension, such as the G# that appears over the F chord in bars 9 and 16, or the Dbmaj7(#11) that appears in bars 31-32. In bar 23, the tune shifts to a simple Travis-picking pattern on a Cm-to-C chord vamp.
-Dylan Schorer WHAT GOES AROUND from the editors of Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Track notes for BROTHER by Bill Frisell from WHAT GOES AROUND