Back around 2006 or so, I was fooling around with this old Alvarez folk-classical guitar I used to own and got the idea to write and record some instrumental demos featuring the guitar. I had been working entirely with electronics and keyboards and wanted to change things up a bit.
The first thing I came up with for this little tune was the three-note figure at the beginning. Two notes were harmonics and the third on the fretboard. It’s possible to do that third note as a harmonic up the neck as well, but I was having too much trouble hitting accurately up the neck, so I played it further down on the fretboard. I fit chords with those three notes and then messed around some until I came up with a melody to fit the chords.
To change things up a bit I came up with a key change and a contrasting section to act almost like a chorus. Other than that, the tune has a really simple form: Intro, A, A, B, Repeat intro, A, B. I laid down a rhythm guitar track without a metronome to guide me. It sounded really organic (which is to say I messed up the tempo), but I was able to work around it laying down two more tracks. I put a shaker in there to give it a little more rhythm, and then tracked the lead.
Before I mixed down I put in a little digital delay on the lead. The sound reminded me of the effect of a cascading waterfall and that’s where I got the idea to call it “Cascades.”
I don’t have that guitar anymore. I gave it to my son Alex, who still has it out in Utah. I’m thinking about getting another one though.