I like to mix it up as much as possible for this acoustic project and create something different from what I've just done. Last month I finished The Grateful Dead's "Franklin's Tower", which came together fairly easily, which you would expect from a loose jam song. After noodling on my mandolin for a few days, I decided I wanted to feature it in order to add some variety to the instrumentation. I really hadn't used it as anything more than an additive to date, learning chords and parts as they were needed. The mandolin sounded pretty good as the backbone of the Allman Brothers' "Back Where It All Begins" adapting the song to a rootsier palette that still retained the song's bright essence. But recording it right after "Franklin's Tower" presented its own challenges. The two songs are in some ways related - their basic chord progression is basically the inverse of each other, only "Begins" has a more complicated bridge and instrumental section. It was going to be a fun challenge to separate these two songs from each other. (Coincidentally, the Allman Brothers began playing both songs in the mid-1990s)
The instrumental section seems simple enough at first glace, but the jump into an E>D chord progression keeps a player on their toes. Well, it kept me on my toes, and to further separate the arrangement from my "Franklin's Tower", I decided to do a dobro solo which was even more challenging. The second solo section bring the song back to the A>D>E>D>A and is more traditional and mercifully more forgiving.
I recorded the tune in its native key of A, but it was too low for my voice, so I moved it to C, which moved the solos to a little more challenging spot on the neck of the guitar. It also meant the harmonies were pushed higher, so they certainly suffered. I won't lie, it got frustrating along the way, but at the very least, it definitely doesn't sound like "Franklin's Tower".