Always On My Mind - A Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson.
Way back in 1991, one of my Sydney bands had the pleasure of opening for 'The Highwaymen' all around Australia. I look back on the tour with great fondness, hanging out with guitar legend Reggie Young, getting Johnny Cash to sign some old LPs, chatting on the plane with Kris Kristofferson about his upcoming movie, but mostly sharing a 'hot one' way backstage with Willie before the shows. He's such a gentleman -- they all were -- and such a wonderful player and writer.
This tune, to me, is his best. Lyrically, a masterpiece. We can all relate to those words of regret that we're not always quite as giving as we could be; musically, a masterpiece of simplicity. The song is built around the related chords of the key with that one wonderful exception: the 'majorized' ii chord, the A9. I never tire of hearing that change.
I did my version in G. As usual, it was the best key for guitar, and it's all mostly played within the first five frets and uses the open shapes we all know and love. There really isn't anything tricky in the arrangement at all, I'm happy to say. Plenty of pull-offs and hammer-ons, a couple little slides, but nothing to thwart the flow. If you follow the chord names, you'll see that many are 'second inversions', including that A9. You can brush up on that here, if you're interested.