The Spectacular Now: Walk in the Trees | fingerstyle guitar

Posted on 02. Aug, 2013 by in Easy to Play, Film Score, Method, Premium Tabs

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Both of my grandfathers passed away when I was very young. In my adult life, my de facto grandfather was actually (my wife’s) grandfather, David Mills.

“Pap”, as we called him, passed away last week at the age of 91. Thankfully, his mind, body, and spirit were in good health till the very end of his life — when it was quite literally, his time to go.

Pap was a robust man, and one of the remaining few of the greatest generation. As child of the great depression, Pap eventually had the duty of being a battlefield tank repairman in the European theater of WWII — most notably The Battle of the Bulge.

When I would ask him about the war, he would always focus on happy points of being in Europe. From his perspective:

“You couldn’t do much better than being an American G.I. in France at the end of World War II. The people loved us, and the girls did too!”

In many ways, Pap was the original minimalist.  He worked with his hands, and literally wouldn’t purchase anything that he could build himself — which was everything.  Pap sold us his house a couple of years ago — and being surrounded by his handy-work — I’m reminded of his artistry every day.

My favorite is a red snow shovel that he built.  Pap added a piece of a material (he found in a bowling alley dumpster) to the base of the shovel.  I believe it’s the same material that hangs behind the pins.  Anyway, this thing glides on concrete better than any shovel I’ve ever used!

Almost like a hippie artist, Pap loved other people’s “throw away” materials.  Aluminum, wood, whatever — he would use it to create something new for his house, or for someone else.  Not to mention, his work is incredible!

This was Pap’s calling, his talent, and his artistry. Creation is what made him truly happy.

Although Pap had means, he had no use for material possessions whatsoever. His wife Mary passed away about 4 years ago, but they lived a simple life, taking joy in each other’s company.  Pap required very little, and he did his best to contain his feelings about people who did require material objects.


I have only come to understand this about myself within the past few years. In my late 20’s and early 30’s, I concealed my feelings of inadequacy with different obsessions like exercise and cars.

Looking back on it now, that is when the realization emerged that my rock band wasn’t going to be commercially successful, despite 10 years of disciplined rehearsing, touring, and hard work.  My band was very successful in Pittsburgh, and my entire identity had been the bass player in New Invisible Joy.

Like anybody else would do, I immersed myself in unimportant things, to avoid coming to terms with the fact that I was a 33 year old guy with nothing to show from the past 10 years, and no skills other than playing guitar — or so I thought.

At one point, to make myself artificially happy, I bought a used Audi A4 that proceeded to breakdown once a month. In case you’ve never owned an Audi, every repair is a $1000 dollars — literally!  That stupid car nearly sunk Jennifer and I financially.

The very moment my brainchild, Intellimusica, went live with my very first post — I felt a palpable sense of oneness. It’s an amazing feeling when you’re doing exactly what you were meant to do in this lifetime.  My unimportant obsessions dissolved immediately, and now, all I require for happiness is my guitar, and my laptop.

My theory is, like Pap, humans are natural artists.  To be happy, we must invent. Create upon creations, and invent upon inventions.  In that respect, our reality should be one of constant progress and refinement.

I had the idea for my blog as far back as 2006.  I firmly believe my unhappiness was the cognitive dissonance from not pursuing my dream.  Knowing this, you must act upon the idea that has grabbed a hold of you!  I waited nearly five years before I acted.  How long will you wait?

In a final act of generosity and creation, Pap was in the position to write his own eulogy shortly before he passed. Entitled ‘My Requiem’, it was a beautiful eulogy and indicative of a man who had lived a perfect life.


(Note: Walk in the Trees is my premium content)

How to Play ‘Walk in the Trees’ by Rob Simonsen from The Spectacular Now

Having co-worked on 500 days of Summer and Moneyball, Rob Simonsen is quickly becoming an A list composer at the relatively young age of 35. You can check out more of his work here.

This was an opportunity to use my Cordoba Dolce. Although my GK Studio is the workhorse for this blog, sometimes I need to switch guitars for a certain feel or vibe.

In the case of Walk in the Trees (the theme from The Spectacular Now) the chord progression didn’t feel right with my GK Studio. Rather than change what I was doing, I switched guitars and everything seem to work out.

Walk in the Trees is easy to play, and tuned

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4 Responses to “The Spectacular Now: Walk in the Trees | fingerstyle guitar”

  1. Daniel

    03. Aug, 2013

    Wow. I know for sure that this is one of the posts that’s going to be stuck in my head for quite some time now. I really enjoy how human and alive you manage to keep something so digital.

    I’m very glad you realized that certain unhappiness you obviously felt at one point, and didn’t just ignore or accept it. We all benefit from you acting on that vision or wish you had.

    It’s always great to have people that somehow managed to get to that point of not only realizing the lack of something but also pursuing a dream that doesn’t mean financial security — but a lot of work and insecurities, but in the end, true happiness.

    Another thing I found really exciting about this post were the lightly moving shadows of branches, leaves or whatever it is on your shirt and that warm sunlight, which gives it the exact same feeling as you get from the cover below – the warm sunlight breaking through the tree tops and creating all sorts of movement, colors and moods. The cover, the video and the actual piece work together realllllly well in this one! :)

    Reply to this comment
    • Evan Handyside

      03. Aug, 2013

      Thank you Daniel,

      I was off of work today due to summer cancellations, so I had a lot of time on my hands to complete this post! People seem to respond really well to the personality and honesty of my posts — and like you pointed out, sometimes the text, song, and video blend together seamlessly.

      I actually think a lot about personal development, and while I’m a work in progress, I know I can impart some type of wisdom that will benefit someone younger than me. It’s very cathartic to write these, and I’m appreciative of your appreciation!

      My office window faces my backyard where I have two big trees. The late afternoon sun moves through the branches and created a cool effect in the room. Totally unintentional, but otherwise a very cool effect!

      Thanks again for the comment brother!


      Reply to this comment
  2. Alex

    05. Aug, 2013

    Wow, first of all, I’m sorry for your lost. It’s never easy losing someone we cared for. He was truly a great man from what I can read. That’s a rare thing in someone that can really focus on the good things, even if you think they might not really have some (for him, beeing part in a war). This is something we might (in my opinion) all look forward to be.

    It is very hard these days to not get attracted by what is called ”materialism”. We are shown in everything today, that owning the ”best” product will make our lives easier. We all ”have” to be super productive, we are living in a society that push us to run at 150% all the time. We forget in all of those things, that we stay humans.

    As you mention, ” humans are natural artists. To be happy, we must invent.”. I couldn’t agree more with you. Beeing inventive let you be yourself. I’ve been told one day that it wasn’t quite true tho. That some people hate that. They need to get evrything. But I wasn’t really convince by that person. I more think that it may be just a fact that they aren’t feeling comfortable and they just let it go and feel unhappy.

    It’s a common question (I think) we all have someday; ”What will I do in my future?” I’m really glad for you that you found that feeling you describe as: ”It’s an amazing feeling when you’re doing exactly what you were meant to do in this lifetime” . You are showing me that it is actually possible through hard searching of your truself to find something you are really meant to. I’ve been told in my surrounding that I must mostly find something that provides me some ”financial” first. And sometimes, when you have to get into something, to make sacrifice even if you hate that. I always thought that in life, you must mainly be about and proud of what you are doing. And you are showing me that it is quite possible to do it, and find it. I want to thank you for that.

    Keep doing what you are doing.

    Reply to this comment
    • Evan Handyside

      05. Aug, 2013

      Hi Alex,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. And that’s what I want to do, tell my story so that someone else can benefit from it. I’m far from perfect, and I’m far from where I’d like to be from a success standpoint, but I’m trying everyday. If can help some folks by expressing my personal fears, doubts, and successes — all the better!

      Thanks again Alex,

      Reply to this comment

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