1917: Wayfaring Stranger | fingerstyle guitar
WW1 Photo by Austrian National Library | Unsplash

Wayfaring Stranger

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The Wayfaring Stranger is a well-known American folk and gospel song that originating in the early 19th century. The song is about a plaintive soul on the journey of life. The most popular variation is from Johnny Cash. In my humble opinion, Jos Slovick’s dark and Celtic version in 1917 is by far the best known performance. It may never be eclipsed.

1917 (directed by Sam Mendes) cannot be praised enough. The photography, cinematography, and action sequences are stunning. The performances throughout the film — are some of the best ever. Specifically, Lieutenant Joseph Blake (Richard Madden) at the end of the film; he remains stoic — while wrestling down his emotions over his deceased brother. An amazing piece of acting.

I’ve also performed The Night Window. This is the wondrous piece of music as Lance Corporal Schofield is escaping the burning, German occupied town.

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Gear used

For Wayfaring Stranger, I used my Cordoba C7. It’s a warm and dark sounding guitar. Perfect for this piece. You can find a current list of my gear here.

How to play Wayfaring Stranger | fingerstyle guitar

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The guitar tab for, I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger, is beautifully written across three pages. This arrangement if very easy to play, and totally suitable for beginner guitar players. You play through the entire passage 3 times. Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

1917: Wayfaring Stranger | fingerstyle guitar

You’ll need to get your tuner ready for this one. I’m playing in an open E Minor tuning. Without a capo, it looks like this – from low to high: E B E G B E.

However, I recommend that you tune your stings down, then use a capo on the 2nd fret. That looks like this – from low to high: D A D F A D. You’ll then use a capo on the 2nd fret.

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Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, film composer - Broken Noons, creator of modern content for guitar.