Guitar lesson for

Angel Flight

by Radney Foster  •  Lesson #251

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Editor’s notes

In this lesson I’ll teach you how to play “Angel Flight” by Radney Foster. This song uses the chords of E-A-B-C#m, but is unconventional in the voicing used for each chord. Specifically, we’ll be leaving the thinnest two strings open at all times. This not only makes it sound a bit more interesting, but also makes it far easier to play… which is nice! I’ll teach you these chords, explain the intro riff (with tabs), and talk about strumming pattern. I Thanks very much to Patreon supporter Dennis for this request.

Lyrics with chords

INTRO
    E –|––––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––0–0–0–|–––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––0–0–0––|–
    B –|––––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––0–0–0–|–––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––0–0–0––|–
    G –|––––––1–––––––1–––––––1–––––4–4–4–|–––––2–––––––2–––––––2–––––2–2–2––|–
    D –|––––––2–––––––2–––––––2–––––4–4–4–|–––––2–––––––2–––––––2–––––2–2–2––|–
    A –|––––––2–––––––2–––––––2–––––2–2–2–|–0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–0–0–0––|–
    E –|––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
          E                         B       A
          1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +   1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
          v   v   v   v   v   v   v ^ v ^   v   v   v   v   v   v   v ^ v ^

VERSE
    E                           C#m
    All I ever wanted to do was fly
    A                                   E
    Leave this world and live in the--- sky
               E                      C#m
    I left the C130 out of Fort Worth town
         A                               E
    I go up some days I don't wanna come--- down

CHORUS
                A                            C#m
        Well, I fly that plane... called the Angel Flight
        A                                 E
        Come on brother you're with me tonight
                A                       C#m
        Between heaven and earth you're never alone
               A                                   B          E
        On the Angel Flight... come on brother I'm taking you home [play intro x1 on "home"]

VERSE
      E                                C#m
    I love my family and I love this land
        A                                  E
    But tonight this flight's for another---- man
       E                                   C#m
    We do what we do because we heard the call
    A                                  E
    Some gave a little, but he gave it all

CHORUS
                A                            C#m
        Well, I fly that plane... called the Angel Flight
        A                                 E
        Come on brother you're with me tonight
                A                       C#m
        Between heaven and earth you're never alone
               A                                   B          E
        On the Angel Flight... come on brother I'm taking you home
        A                   B          C#m
        Come on brother I'm taking you home       [start instrumental on C#m]

INSTRUMENTAL
        C#m  /   A   /
        C#m  /   A   B

VERSE
    [let chords ring]
              E                                      C#m
    Well, the cockpit's quiet and the stars are bright
           A                          E
    Feels kinda like church in here tonight
    E                                C#m
    It don't matter where we touch down
           A                         E
    On the Angel Flight its sacred ground

CHORUS
                A                            C#m
        Well, I fly that plane... called the Angel Flight
              A                      E
        Gotta hero riding with us tonight
                A                          C#m
        Between heaven and earth... you're never alone
               A                                   B          E
        On the Angel Flight... come on brother I'm taking you home
        A                   B          C#m
        Come on brother I'm taking you home
        A                   B          E
        Come on brother I'm taking you home        [play intro 2x, end with E chord]

Chords, played normally

Usually, when you see these 4 chords, this is how they’re played. You can use these voicings if you please (but read on).

E –––0–––0–––x–––4––––
B –––0–––2–––4–––5––––
G –––1–––2–––4–––6––––
D –––2–––2–––4–––6––––
A –––2–––0–––2–––4––––
E –––0––––––––––––––––
     E   A   B   C#m

Chords, with open B and E strings

This is what he’s playing in the intro, and it sounds like throughout the song! This makes things way easier, and adds a bit of distinction to the sound of the song.

E –––0––––––0––––––0–––––0––––
B –––0––––––0––––––0–––––0––––
G –––1––––––2––––––4–––––6––––
D –––2––––––2––––––4–––––6––––  <-- keep left ring finger on this string
A –––2––––––0––––––2–––––4––––      for all 4 of these chords!
E –––0––––––––––––––––––––––––
     E    Asus2  Bsus4  C#m

Intro riff (normal)

E –|––––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––0–0–0–|–––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––0–0–0––|–
B –|––––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––0–0–0–|–––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––0–0–0––|–
G –|––––––1–––––––1–––––––1–––––4–4–4–|–––––2–––––––2–––––––2–––––2–2–2––|–
D –|––––––2–––––––2–––––––2–––––4–4–4–|–––––2–––––––2–––––––2–––––2–2–2––|–
A –|––––––2–––––––2–––––––2–––––2–2–2–|–0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–0–0–0––|–
E –|––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
      E                         B       A
      1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +   1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
      v   v   v   v   v   v   v ^ v ^   v   v   v   v   v   v   v ^ v ^

Intro riff (variation)

E –|––––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––0–0–0–|–––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––0–0–0––|–
B –|––––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––0–0–0–|–––––0–––––––0–––––––0–––––0–0–0––|–
G –|––––––9–––––––9–––––––9–––––8–8–8–|–––––6–––––––6–––––––6–––––6–6–6––|–
D –|––––––9–––––––9–––––––9–––––9–9–9–|–7–––7–––7–––7–––7–––7–––7–7–7–7––|–
A –|––––––7–––––––7–––––––7–––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
E –|––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––0–––––––|––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
      E                         B       A
      1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +   1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
      v   v   v   v   v   v   v ^ v ^   v   v   v   v   v   v   v ^ v ^

Strumming

The main strumming pattern is very straightforward – you’ll do all downstrums, on the quarter notes (1 2 3 4). You’ll want to accent (emphasize) the 2 and 4 counts, while on the 1 and 3 counts you can get away with only playing the 1-2 thickest strings of that chord. This creates a nice amount of space within the song – you don’t want this one to come off as hectic.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +        D = down strum
D   D   D   D          U = up strum
    >       >          > = accented strum

If you can manage it, add an up-down-up in the final few counts of every other measure – as shown below.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +      D = down strum
D   D   D   D   D   D   D U D U      U = up strum
    >       >       >       >        > = accented strum

Chord progression cheat sheet

Verse:

| E . . . | E . | C#m . . . | C#m . . . |
| A . . . | A . | E   . . . | E   . . . |

                            ...play twice

Chorus:

| A . . . | A . . . | C#m . . . | C#m . . . |
| A . . . | A .     | E   . . . | E   . . . |
| A . . . | A . . . | C#m . . . | C#m . . . |
| A . . . | A . . . | B   .     | E         //

                            ...start intro chords on final E

Good luck!

I hope this helped. Remember to check out my video lesson for additional context & explanation.

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