The 12-bar blues are one of the most recognizably used chord progressions in popular music. The term refers to the number of measures, or musical bars, used to express the melody. The songs are usually played to a 4/4 beat, and the lyrics follow an AAB pattern with three lines of relatively equal length. The singer repeats the first and second lines before being followed with a resolution on the third.
Isla is the latest incarnation of singer-songwriter Josh Rouse. He and his friend and fellow musician Daniel Tashian were fooling around after a night when Tashian went bar hopping. They came up with a joke surrounding the term 12-bar blues: what if it referred to 12 actual taverns instead of musical notes. The result is the latest single released from Isla’s forthcoming digital-only album, The Mediterranean Gardener (27 August). The music was mostly recorded at Rouse’s studio near his home in Valencia, Spain.
Tashian plays keyboards and drums on “12 Bars” while Rouse sings and relies on keyboards and Roland Cloud samples. Rouse’s wife Paz Suay also provides backing vocals. (and designed the album’s cover art). The song is breezy. Its lyrics are light (re: “I went to 12 bars…”) as compared with most blues songs. The tune is as gentle as a walk in the garden by the sea. It evokes feelings of careless love when getting together and splitting apart seems as natural as a weed sprouting in the flowerbed.