Guitarist Chris Proctor is happy to talk about his new CD "Close and Personal Friends." The CD, his 10th, is a nine-track collection of acoustic-guitar mash-up medleys comprised of some of his favorite classic-rock and blues songs.

He wanted "Close and Personal Friends" to have a lighter feeling than some of his other CDs.

"I guess I'm changing my focus a little bit because I've done all these other recordings that I consider serious that were, basically, me looking for dramatic compositions or arrangements," Proctor said during a phone call from a tour stop in Detroit, Mich. "With this one, I just decided to have a little more fun and to give myself a challenge."

The challenge was to take some of these songs, such as "Heard It Through the Grapevine," "For What It's Worth" and "Spooky," and arrange them into a single composition, called "It's Worth Being Spooky Through the Grapevine."

"The record is not made up of single songs, but medleys," Proctor explained. "I took a lot of the old music I grew up with and was influenced by in various ways and put them together in one form or another."

Proctor will play some of those songs at Riffs Acoustic Music on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Other rethreaded tunes on the CD include the island folk songs "Yellow Bird" and "Lemon Tree," which became "Colorful Birds in Citrus Groves" and the traditional blues song "Corrina Corrina" and Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready," which transformed nicely into "Corrina Gets Her People Ready.



"The charm (of the music), I hope, is the way I get from medley to medley and, of course, the recognition factor where people who are listening to the CD will hear the transition and then hear those familiar tunes," Proctor said. "I have to credit my studio engineer Bruce Kirby at Boho Digital Studios for the titles. He said listing all the songs with all the slashes would read like a computer report.

"He suggested I did something to put the titles together and the light bulb went off and I said, 'Yeah, that's a good thing to do," Proctor said.

The guitarist said he didn't want to make choosing the songs a chore.

"I had a lot of songs I wanted to use, but I tried to make it representative to what really influenced me," Proctor said. "In the past, when I do make a CD that is representative of myself, I make a little checklist where I know I can have a little of this and have so much of that and I'd better include some of these, but I didn't want it to be that way this time."

So, Proctor tuned to the AM-radio oldies stations to get some inspiration.

"I listened to the songs that I knew every word and every chord change that I remember that bonded me to those songs in the past," he said. "Songs like 'Spooky' came out of that."

At first, that song, which was a hit for the Classics IV and then covered by an array of artists including Dusty Springfield and the Atlanta Rhythm Section, wasn't on Proctor's radar.

"But I thought it was great and it had the same beat as 'I Heard it Through the Grapevine' and I wondered how those would work together," he said. "Then I added Stephen Stills' 'For What It's Worth' by Buffalo Springfield into the medley. I loved that tune and I've always loved Buffalo Springfield."

The decision to mix "Corrina Corrina" and "People Get Ready" came about in a different way.

"'Corrina' is kind of a funky, bluesy piece and most of the covers I've heard by Taj Mahal or Doc Watson were kind of slinky," Proctor said. "I heard the song years ago as a lament. I forgot whose cover that was, but it was really slow and that's how I wanted to play it."

Proctor came up with combining it with "People Get Ready" after he did a teaching workshop in Alaska.

"All the teachers played a concert together on the last night of the event and we were all struggling to find a piece we could end the show with," he said. "Someone suggested Curtis Mayfield's 'People Get Ready.'

"I had forgotten how pretty the song was and decided to add it to 'Corrina,'" Proctor said. "The method for the album was pretty intuitive and I tried not to make it logical, because if I did that, I'd find myself falling back into my same old forms."

Of course, Proctor, like most guitarists who started playing in the 1960s, was influenced by the Beatles.

So, he's got a piece called "A Mellow Sunshine Revolution Gets Better with Helpful Friends," which combines the Beatles' "Revolution," "Getting Better," "Good Day Sunshine" and "With a Little Help From My Friends" with Donovan's "Mellow Yellow."

There is also another track called "Rita's Sweet Home with Al and Obladi," that takes elements of the Beatles' "Lovely Rita" and "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and adds some shots of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" with a dash of Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al."

"I know the album is a little Beatles heavy, but it was more like a stream of consciousness that led me to the songs," Proctor said. "There's a flow to them and I tried to make them fun."

The National Fingerstyle Champion released the CD a couple of months ago, after overcoming a handful of false starts and medical issues that set him back a few years.

"I'm grateful to have it out," Proctor said. "Starting back in June in 2010, I had one medical adventure after another that culminated in December, 2011, that prevented me from really sitting down to work on it."

Those ailments included a hip replacement, removal of a tumor and hand surgery.

"I started to do the project in April after I had completed all the rehabilitation and could play again," Proctor said. "This was also the first time I did everything, including the cover artwork, locally. And that shortened the time line as well. It's a little overdue."

In addition to the concert Saturday night, Proctor will hold a guitar workshop at Riffs in the afternoon.

"Last year I did a Riffs workshop and we talked about alternative tunings," the musician said. "If the same crowd shows up, we may continue with that. But I have to talk with (Riffs owner) Larry Hart to see what the workshop will cover.

"At any rate, it will be a nice day and night for music."

Fingerstyle Guitar Champion Chris Proctor will give a workshop and performance at Riffs Acoustic Music, 1205 Iron Horse Dr., on Saturday, Oct. 13. The workshop will begin at 3 p.m. and costs $40. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. Admission is $20. The night is BYOB. For tickets call (435) 649-1940. For more information, visit or