Wednesday, September 30, 2009


The recording sessions from the past few weeks have been heavy with layers...each song containing 25-30 tracks. That's a lot of instruments to record, edit, and mix in one day. It can also be a lot for the listener to digest. (Additionally, I'd like to translate this music into live performances, but there are not many rock bands touring the country that have 10-20 musicians). So, this week will be an effort towards minimalism. I'm going to focus on using less instruments and using more vocal harmonies.

Today's song was written on an acoustic guitar. I played simple chord progressions while searching for vocal melodies (the lyrics came later). Other ingredients in this song include: bass guitar, a string section, 2 electric guitars, and 3 vocal tracks (2 of me singing the same part and one that's a higher harmony part).

LYRICS: "You can add to what you say, but you can't take words away. Words can create, sustain, and destroy. Words are a way to break or restore."


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Song091_These Times Define

This is one of the songs that I started yesterday and then set aside to start a new one. I went back and listened to this song today, and apparently fresh ears helped. Before today this song was only 3 tracks: the distorted guitar, bass guitar, and one fuzz synth. When I heard it today it was easy to decide what the remaining instruments should be (5 drum tracks, 4 synths, 2 solo guitars, tambourine, cymbal swells, etc). The chord structure of this song is very active. There are 4 separate parts, and each has a number of chord changes. I was not able to find a vocal melody (or style of singing) that I felt complimented the music, so I added a few additional "highlights" and called it an instrumental. I'll save the lyrics that I wrote for another day.

This song completes another album, (Week 13) Instrumental Periods. I am putting the finishing touches on the album design, but it will be finalized and available for sale later tonight.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Song090_Eternal Flame

I was glad to get an early start on recording today, but I somehow still ended up completing this song around 10:30pm. I worked on one idea for 2 hours, decided I didn't like where it was headed, so I started over. I worked on the new idea for about 1.5 hours, decided I didn't like the direction of that idea, so I took a break. (I now have 2 new sessions occupying the "Unknown" folder on my hard drive).

I have a few time-consuming (work related) projects going on, so I didn't return to recording until 8:45pm....still with no particular ideas. I decided that the acoustic guitar would be a good place to start, spent about 30 minutes creating a few chord progressions, and I really liked how the pieces fit together. This chord pattern is not one I've played before. In fact, I think there's a chord or two in there that I've never played in a song before. I used a capot'ed on the 5th fret, then created what became the chorus. This song came together quickly...started at 8:45pm and I had it uploaded by 10:45pm...probably the quickest recording of this project. However, I don't feel like I stopped adding tracks because of the time. I think this song has all of the parts it needed.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Song089_Instrumental Periods

Brandon came over today around 9am, and he showed me a chord progression he's been playing with on the acoustic guitar. To keep with this weeks sound/theme we decided to try it with a distorted electric, we made a few adjustments to the progression (mainly just added a bridge section), then recorded it at 132BMP using Guitar Rig 3. The single drum loop, electric guitar, and synth bass laid a nice foundation. We added some foundational synth sounds (to create atmosphere), then we added a few extra synths for the sake of melody. About 12 tracks into this song we decided to delete the distorted guitar from the chorus section and replace it with acoustic guitar...good choice (it gave the two sections different textures). This would've been a great song for vocals, but I was pressed for time and didn't want to settle for what I had. It seems to work as an instrumental, and it's fitting as the title track of this week's album.


Saturday, September 26, 2009


I started today with a song in my head, so I started recording. This song sounds nothing like that song from my head. This was one of those sessions where the direction of the song seemed to keep changing (drastically) as I added new parts. It builds slowly, drums enter as it changes keys, and then the percussion leaves and it ends similar to how it began. It's sort of strange, but I wrote some lyrics and vocal harmonies hoping it would tie it all together. Did it work?

LYRICS: "The gate's been opened. The world is calling. The voice is tempting. My sky is falling. The earth is growing. My head is shrinking. I'm up all night watching others sleeping. Bold but hopeless. You fake left then fall down. You play dead when no one's around. Electric nights. Electric cars. Electric tanks for cleaner wars."


Friday, September 25, 2009

Song087_Made For You

This idea came to me last night...quickly. I heard the tune, worked it out on the acoustic guitar, and recorded a rough version with my digital voice recorder within 5 minutes. Granted, this is not a very complex song, but it's nice when it hits all at once.

The acoustic guitar and analog bass were tracked completely through in one take each. Next, I added a soft string section, a solo violin, and 2 electric guitars (featured only at the end...also my favorite part of the entire song). This song was recorded quicker than usual (about 3 hours), but I spent an additional 1-2 hours editing and mixing.

LYRICS: "There's plenty of reasons for panic these days. Plenty of cause for doubt. The unanswered questions in life require faith, but where do you get faith if you're without? I wonder at times why you're here with me now. You have so many reasons to leave. Is it patience, luck, fate, or destiny? Did I choose you or did you choose me? One thing that I know is true. I was made for you."


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Song086_Stop Starting Over

So far the songs this week have each been mildly schizophrenic. Each have shared a few common instruments...heavily distorted guitars, dirty synths, and a few bright/delayed guitars (for contrast), but they switch directions without much warning. This song was created in a way similar to yesterday's song. I found a drum loop that I liked, and then I used my thin hollow-body electric guitar (connected to GuitarRig3) to find the foundational chord progression (G, A, and then D, A, G, Em...F#, and the bridge is B, C, G). The analog bass was fun (and quick) to record, then I layered synths, additional guitars, cymbal swells, a string section (on the verse sections only), etc. You can probably tell that my voice is still recovering (though I'm probably at 89% now) because I had some trouble with the higher notes on the chorus section. I tried to smooth it out with editing and reverb, but it is what it is. Brandon is purchasing some pitch-correction software (i.e. a ProTools plug-in) for a project that he's producing, but I'm hesitant to use that tool on my own voice. I'd rather be slightly out-of-tune than computer-corrected. Of course, the real goal is just to nail every singing part dead on.

The lyrics/theme of this song are about: losing focus during your search for purpose, hesitation, etc. I wrote more lyrics than I used, but the narrowed down version fits the music better.

LYRICS: "You scaled the wall with a servant's heart. Traded heart for cash when you reached the top. A gray-haired kid that leaders follow. You re-invented the wheel. Now you're on a roll. What are you waiting for? The gun went off, and the crowd is behind you. Come on, fearless and ready for more. Take a shot. The crowd is behind you."


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Song085_Your Own Politics

I decided (earlier today) to center this week's theme on 'purpose.' That's a broad topic, but it's an important one. Anyone who holds value to their life seeks it, but before you can find it you have to define it. (Your definition will affect the outcome of your efforts). Anyway, I made a list of different people (and/or job positions) that seem to have a deep sense of purpose attached to them. A few examples are: The President, church leaders, suicide bombers, etc. This is not a list of people that I support or identify with...just a list of people who have sought (or seem to have found) purpose. I figured I'd start with the challenges of being president, but I realized that our individual contributions- to those that care for us -are no less significant that the president's actions because of their direct impact (most 'Washington' decisions really don't effect us as much as they tend to anger us). So, it's more about our responsibility to do what we can within our sphere of control. It's also about transferring bitterness into constructive energy...a message I direct to myself since there are plenty of reasons to be a cynic.

LYRICS: "Don't rely on the president to define your world. You make your own politics. You can choose your own advisers, and submit reports to your online factions. Take your best advice, and then make your own reforms. Don't wait for change to come knocking on your door."

The idea for the song began with the distorted guitar. I found the sound I wanted, and then I wrote the chord progression while listening to a scratch drum loop (to assist with the timing). Next, I added analog bass, two dueling e-bow guitars, dueling synth sounds, cymbals, tambourine, and some vocals. I'm not sure how you would categorize this song(s), but it was fun to create.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Song084_Gravity Assist

Well, this instrumental completes another album, and I'm happy with the outcome of this collection of songs. I was able to achieve a consistent sound using a small collection of instruments without any two songs sounding too much alike. They all have a great deal of "atmosphere" (mainly attributed to the pre-sets and effects chosen...thank you, reverb). I have an inner-circle of listeners that help me choose the Song-of-the-Week by voting for their favorite each week. I had at least one vote for each song this week, so I take that as a good sign.

Carly played the initial piano track which "book-ends" the song nicely (it only appears at the beginning and end). She has a few original piano melodies that I'd like to adapt into full songs, but we started with this short line for now. Fortunately, this simple melody gave me a good starting point for writing today's song. I built around this track using a variety of keyboard parts (dueling dirty synth sounds, a string section, a violin, etc), and then I build a percussion section. The drums are a series of 6 different loops that were altered, recorded a various speeds (BPM= 45, 90 and 180), and edited so that the energy of the song builds (then drops).

I am still working on the album artwork for this week (Week 12: Space Station Vacation). I have a few more hours to make it right. It will be available for sale later tonight.


Monday, September 21, 2009


This instrumental began with a piano part (which didn't make the final mix). The synth bass was added next, followed by 3 electric holding the rhythm (although heavy with reverb and delay) and two picking individual notes (delayed and panned). It's the synth sounds and cymbal swells that really tie the sections together and smooth out the rough edges. I think the final version of this song only has 8-10 tracks. The rhythm is in 3/4 time, and I thought it was appropriate not to have any percussion. This entire song was written, recorded, and mixed in about 3 hours.

Tomorrow's song will complete another album (the weeks are flying by!). I wasn't sure what to do for the album artwork this week (Week 12: Space Station Vacation), but I searched for and found the solution last night during a dream. The same odd occurance happened the day before the "Life Lines" album. Now I just have to make the dream a reality.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Song082_The Speed of Light

This was another challenging day for creative output. Brandon and I got together at 1pm, worked for about 3 hours on a new idea, and then we took a break. Neither of us were feeling very inspired, and he had family obligations, but I picked it back up (solo) around 6pm. I listened to the (6-7 track) foundation that we had created earlier, and it still wasn't inspiring me. It was a good idea, so I stored that session file in a folder labeled "Unknowns," and started a new file from scratch. (There are about 3-4 "Unknown" sessions in the pile right now).

This song was created with a distorted guitar (which didn't make the final mix) playing a simple chord progression...D, A, G, A, and then G, A, D. Next, I strummed another electric guitar track using the same spacious guitar effect that I've used throughout this week's collection. The bass line was created using synth, and there are a few additional synth parts that are great filling (very gritty and phased). Additionally, I added a light string section (playing throughout), a solo electric guitar (with heavy delay/reverb), cymbals, etc. The 3 drum loops provide a solid and appropriate rhythm base that drive the spacey sounds. I like how this one turned out, and I think it's consistent with the mood and theme for the week.


Saturday, September 19, 2009


I recorded for at least 2 hours today before deciding to completely start over. I didn't have any great ideas before I started, but I was anxious to make progress...a dangerous combination. In the end, losing 2 hours of work is still better than settling for something that doesn't sound good.

So, I started over by changing the BPM on the 'click' track to 60 (instead of 140). I found a few different percussion loops that I liked, and then Brandon stopped by. His help in the studio today was a nice change of pace for me. Especially since my first effort today had crashed and burned. Anyway, when he got here we talked briefly, and then Brandon started strumming through some ideas on the acoustic guitar. I liked the progression he started forming, but we decided to slow the strumming and add a capot (2nd fret?). I recorded this track through direct-input (into Guitar Rig). Every guitar in this song (distorted one included) was played on an acoustic guitar. We took turns adding keyboard parts...a few for ambiance and 'filling,' a solo violin, additional cymbals, etc. This entire song was written and completed in about 3-4 hours.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Song080_As We Fly By

If, as I often hope, I'm able to form a band to perform songs from this project, then I think this song will be on the list. I enjoyed recording this one, and I even recorded 5-6 takes of each vocal part even though I knew I had what I wanted after 2-3 takes. The entire song came together (from scratch) in 2-3 hours, but I put an additional 2-3 hours into the details. It's on the slower side (BPM=80...?), but it makes me want to run. The distorted guitar at the end of this song was hard to tame...a great (and mean) layering of effects. There are 2 dueling electric parts that are picked, panned apart, and effected with multiple delay processors. They play throughout most of the song. The keyboard part is one track, but there are a combination of sounds on that single track (a vocal synth, a dirty rock organ, and an ambient chime that resonates...subtly). The vocals are almost out of my range...especially at that volume/intensity. I've never lost my voice before, but I've strained it a few times during this project.

The theme (or storyline) for this week is related to human space adventures. I did a brief outline of daily topics...1) the process of piercing the atmosphere, 2) being weightless and seeing earth from a distance for the first time, 3) the sense of loneliness that can be created by physical distance, 4) experiments in space, 5) new discoveries, 6) fixing unexpected problems, 7) returning home.

LYRICS: "Drifting quietly along. Echoes bouncing on steel walls. Time goes on (below) as we fly by. Needs can't be put on hold for (the sake of) science. We're chasing the sun in the dark. Just waiting."

Coincidentally, NASA recently released new photos from the Hubble project (one of their best investments so far). Rick sent me this link today, and the images are amazing.

Also, in line with today's theme, NPR discussed a current Russian experiment in which 5 (?) participants are simulating a flight to Mars. It's somewhat of a social experiment to see how humans would absorb a trip that long (about a year?). I don't have a link to that story, but it wouldn't be hard to find. I would like to help NASA with musical experiments in space. If we're going to colonize away from earth we can't forget the importance that music plays in our daily lives. I submitted a few letters (along with the application for civilian astronaut candidacy) back in 1999(?), but I only got a formal response. They sent me free photos and promotion items, so I guess it was worth it.

Last week I came across a musician that did a project similar to mine in 2005. I heard about him through a recent article in Popular Science. He wrote and recorded a new song every week for one year, and his project was (commercially) successful. I sent him a brief email, and he was nice enough to respond with some good comments (and advice). He explained that a few of his songs were "viral successes" online, and he also pointed out that they wouldn't have gone "viral" if they weren't offered at his site at no cost.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Song079_Views From Orbit

I'm not really sure what day it is anymore. Even when I look at my watch and see that it's "Thursday" I realize that days of the week provide little meaning or point-of-reference lately. If someone would've asked me what day it was today, then I probably would've had to check a few places before responding, "Day 79?"

Today was an unusual day of recording. I wrote and recorded this song in small (1-2 hour) segments throughout the day. I don't enjoy splitting it up into so many pieces. Breaks are good at producing fresh ears, but today was extreme. But, like it or not, I knew it was what I had to do in order to get this song completed without neglecting the other areas of my life (work, relationships....a new dishwasher).

This week's album will not be entirely instrumental. If you haven't already heard this has vocals. I pieced together the main structure of this song (guitar progression and chorus melody) early in the day, recorded a section of it on my small digital voice recorded (great tool), and proceeded with other things. I recorded the acoustic guitar first, then had another detour from recording. The analog bass part was recorded (in it's entirety) on the second take, then I recorded the first electric guitar (using the same effect from yesterday's song). There's a second electric guitar (a picking part...slightly delayed and distorted) that is pretty hidden, but it gives extra strength to the chorus section. I completed this song at 11:26pm. Plenty of time to spare.

LYRICS: "Looks like the earth is trying to disappear. As we move faster it just gets smaller. So here we are miles from everything. Circling at speeds off the charts. I can't feel my hair. My feet are off the floor. It seems the laws of science are different here. Take each other's hands now. I'll take you on a tour. The earth is now above us. Sitting where the moon was."


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Song078_In Transit

I just completed this song (Song078_In Transit) which will be the first song on the next album. This will be another collection of instrumentals, but the theme/style will be different than last week...faster, more electronic, more repetitious.

It took a while to find the drum rhythm that I had in mind, but once I had that track in place I layered a few atmospheric sounds. Next, I added the gritty synth bass to create a structure and foundation for the melody. I really like the main spacey electric guitar, and it contrasts nicely with the clean (steady) picking guitar that enters about 1-2 minutes into the song. There are a variety of random sounds and effects placed throughout this song (about 16 total audio tracks). I don't typically record songs that are this repetitious, but it seems appropriate for this occasion.

I haven't decided on an album title for this new week (Week #12), but I have a few ideas. I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Matt Coleman ( made some revisions to the video for this project. It looks great, and it should be online within the next week.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This song, Song077_Homecoming, completes an entire album of instrumentals. It wasn't until earlier today that I actually went back and listened to the entire week's collection. Most of the songs fit a similar theme (and could be part of the same movie soundtrack...with 1 exception), so overall my "scoring" project was a success. I enjoy creating thought-provoking instrumentals, and I feel like I could continue down this path for another week or two. Every movie needs a sequel, right?

This song began with an acoustic guitar track which I finger-picked in a classical style. (The guitar was capot'ed on the 4th fret). I used 3 microphones to capture the sound, panned and effected each track differently, and then 'bused' all three tracks into one "auxiliary" track (to add a common reverb). I purposefully left the guitar scratches (the sound of my fingers sliding across the coiled metal) because I like the amount of discomfort they add to the serenity of the song. I also just like the purity and candid nature of those sounds. There are two main sections to this song. The acoustic guitar and the string section play throughout, but most of the other instruments are unique to certain sections and include: flutes, a solo violin, choir sections, bowed saws, and 2 dueling electric guitar solos (which are reoccurring).

I have a few ideas for the album artwork this week, but they are still just ideas. I went by Rick's house earlier to photograph an old 16mm film projector that's been aging nicely in his closet. I think I have good material to work with. Regardless, the newest album, The Score, will be available online later tonight.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Song076_Within Reach

Today's song started with an acoustic guitar part...finger-picked A, E then F#m, D, Bm, E. Since I had the acoustic guitar mic'ed and ready I decided to record a second song written in the same key. Then, I tied the two sections together with a common string section. I recorded bass for the first part (a synth sound emulating a finger-picked analog bass), and then I recorded bass for the second song (a synth sound that's very gritty...with phaser added). I layered each song with similar elements, but they each have their own sound. The entire song has a variety of moods in a short amount of time (total run-time is under 6 minutes).


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Song075_Bishops of Cheer

I had a guitar sound in my head when I woke up today, so I quickly set up shop and recorded the distorted guitar track. It's only a few chords, but I was trying to achieve a mood...not write an opus. The tracks for the bass guitar and drums were recorded in just a few takes, so the foundation of this song was established rather quickly. I took a break (to run in the rain), and when I came back Brandon Steach had called. He helped me finish the majority of the song. This one is a nice (upbeat) contrast to the songs from the past few days.

I am still having problems uploading music to SnoCap (the jukebox on my site that allows you to preview and purchase individual songs). I've already emailed the song to a few of you, so if you'd like to hear today's song just send me an email...I'll send it to you.


Saturday, September 12, 2009


It's 11:25pm, and I just finished this instrumental...Song074_Daygleam. I'm having trouble logging into SnoCap's website (so I can upload today's song), so please be might not post immediately.

This song was built from a guitar progression that I wrote about 5 years ago (previously titled "Clover"). It took me a while to find the guitar effects/tones for the 2 electric guitars, but I finally found something that fit the mood without distracting from either part. The string section ties the guitars together nicely (and smooths them out some), and I can't seem to get enough of that solo violin lately...great instrument.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Song073_A Monster's Anthem

The acoustic guitar track was recorded first today (to a 'click'). The layering began from there, and it included: a fuzzy synth, string sections, a solo violin, an electric (picking) guitar with delay and reverb, cymbals, etc. It seems like drums should kick in at any time, but they never do. I kind of like the wash of noises with the acoustic guitar holding the song steady.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Song072_Moving Targets

I started this instrumental with a drum loop that seemed to fit the speed/theme that I had in mind. Next, I recorded a string section that I used to structure the highs and lows of the arrangement. From there are filled in the gaps to create spacious melodies and different levels of intensity. Instrumentals are challenging in a very different way than a standard "pop" or "rock" song. I enjoy this challenge, and it's nice having a week off from creating lyrics and vocal melodies.

My method for creating this album of instrumentals is somewhat vague, but I am doing certain things to achieve a few certain goals. The broad goal this week is to create an entire album that plays from beginning to end as once cohesive piece of music (as though it were one soundtrack). I'll be listening to the song from the previous day before beginning each new song in hopes of finding the next logical starting point. I'm trying to mix up the speeds/moods of each song to capture a variety of emotions. Also, I am envisioning a (fictional) movie scene in my mind each day and tailoring the music to the (non-existent) visuals. I guess this would be easier if I just wrote each song to actual footage, but the only DVDs I have right now are "My Dinner With Andre" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Song071_Within Reason

This song begins a series of instrumentals that I will be sending to companies that market "stock" music to filmmakers. I had a favorable response recently from one company out of Canada, and I have talked with other musicians that offer their music through similar sites. It seems like something I need to pursue. It can be a good source of exposure (and income), but the larger goal would be to get my name out there so I can create custom music for specific projects.

I started this idea by playing some melodies on the keyboard (using a "string section"), and this is how I came up with the foundational chord progression. I recorded this progression once through, and then I played along on the guitar until I found the notes/chords that fit. The progression is unique in that I probably wouldn't have thought to combine these chords if I had started with the guitar (Am, A#, C, F, A#, C, A#, C...repeat). I like the guitar tone/effect that I used on the main electric (picking) guitar. I opted to use synth bass (instead of analog bass) so I could smooth out the transients more...making it more like a bowed Cello than a plucked bass. I also added a solo violin, a second electric (picking) guitar, and a few random noises. I like the mood of this song...I think it would be interesting background music for a variety of movie scenes (such as: a nature documentary, a Muppet love scene, etc).


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Song070_Out of Our Hands

This short and upbeat instrumental has country bass, punk guitar, and electronic/dance rhythms. The distortion sound is new, but I'll be using it again.

This song completes recording for Week #10. A new album, The Eminent Hoedown, will be available shortly.


Monday, September 7, 2009


I started this song by finding a drum loop (and speed) that I liked...wanted to keep this one upbeat. Next, I played bass guitar along with the drum loop until I found a progression that fit the rhythm. (This is not a typical approach for me). Then I added 3-4 electric is an E-bow part, one is distorted, and a few are picked using a clean delay effect. There are 3-4 keyboard/synth sounds, but they only appear during the center section. Oh, and I couldn't resist adding some cymbal swells.

I worked today until 2pm, and then napped for 2-3 hours (still not feeling 100%). I've noticed that the entire recording process has been taking about 6 hours/day (including everything: writing, recording, mixing, uploading, etc)...which means I completed this song just before midnight. I still have a sore throat, so I hope you enjoy this instrumental.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Song068_The Eminent Hoedown

I began today knowing that I wanted to incorporate the dulcimer into a song. It's been a while since I've played it (though it always hangs on my wall), so first I re-strung it (thanks for the strings, Susan!). I went to my first Appalachian Music Festival when I was 8 years old, and I instantly enjoyed the sound of the dulcimer. I'm also a big fan of bluegrass music, and I wonder why more people don't add dulcimer to bluegrass. Anyway, if you're not familiar with this instrument, then I'll briefly explain. There are a few different types, but mine happens to be a "lap dulcimer" (i.e. sits in the lap instead of on a stand), and it's strummed horizontally. Some of the larger "hammer dulcimers" are not strummed, but they're played with tiny little (elf) mallets. Mine has 4 strings, two of which are "fretted" (pressure placed on strings between various frets to achieve different notes). The other two strings are played "open" (or "un-fretted") which provides for a consistent sound that contrasts nicely with the fretted sounds (like a string version of bagpipes).

So, I started this song with the dulcimer, then added acoustic guitar, analog bass, 7 percussion tracks, 2 violins, an ambient resonating synth sound, bells, malleted cymbal swells and another string section.

I have had a week or so of long days, and I got the "weakness and sore throat" funk. I went to the doctor early this morning and got some antibiotics and a steroid shot. I can already feel it working, and that's a good thing. There are no days off associated with this project.

Hope you enjoy the new song.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Song067_Big City Blue

I woke up around 5:30am to write and record the initial guitar part to this song, and I had the distorted guitar and drums recorded by 8am. (I wanted a head-start on this song since I've run short on time the past few days). I photographed a wedding from 9am to 5pm, and then I came back to this song with fresh ears. I began today with just a song title, and everything else was written on the spot. The guitar progression is simple, but I love the unique chords in the Bridge section...not sure what they are, but my fingers could find them again. The dueling violins make me smile. I would love to be able to re-create the songs from this project with a live band!

LYRICS: "You would go home if you could. True, we both think that you should, but you go on like you do, and lie to yourself...just like you do. You miss wide open spaces. Now, just parking lots and skyscrapers. You're just a country girl with the big city blues. From a sleepy little town to one that's you. It seems the busiest city is the loneliest too. You're just a country girl with a heart full of big city blues."


Friday, September 4, 2009

Song066_Dead Man's Honkeytonk

This instrumental began from scratch with a simple organ part. I had a few general things in mind when I started today, but not too many specifics. I knew what mood I wanted to create, and that helped me determine the foundational instruments. From there I just layered some sounds that I though complimented the structure of the song.

The title fits well in my mind. Just picture skeletons two-stepping.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Song065_Silver Band

I found these lyrics marked "2001," but they were incomplete. I saw a chord progression written out to the side, but I'm not sure how I originally intended for it to be played. This song's style seemed to fit this week's album, so I decided to expand on it. I started with the acoustic (strumming) guitar (also adding a Bridge section that didn't exist previously). This is the banjo's debut appearance during this project. The strings are old and need to be changed, so I had trouble keeping it in tune. Who am I kidding...I don't know how to tune it yet, but I think I got it close enough to make up a few chords. There is also analog bass (playing a simple country-style line), a solo violin (via synth), and 3 separate drum loops. I think this song would've improved with more time, but I started recording later than usual (again) today...ran out of day. Two of the vocal tracks are first takes, but it was fun singing 3-part harmony with myself.

LYRICS: "Someday, beyond the reach of refuge and ruin. Far from fear and discontent. Where love pours out in rhythm. Much like a circle that never ends...never stops, and never begins. A promise remembered by a silver band. This love goes on and on forever. If only you could be so brave to not make plans, and stop confusing 'faith' with 'good sense.' Then maybe you could feel it."


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Song064_Too Far From Texas

I didn't start writing this song until 2pm (because of work obligations), but the acoustic guitar progression surfaced quickly. I was picking that guitar because I had just changed the strings during lunch. I've been keeping all of my guitars out on stands (for easy access), and the strings lose their zing quicker this way. Not only were they resonating poorly...I was having lots of trouble keeping them in tune. Anyway, it's currently on my list to change strings once each month, but it might need to be more frequent than that. Today I was reminded of another event to add to my calendar each month. The city siren is tested on the first Wednesday of every month.

LYRICS: "Love has a way of bringing me back to you, so open your heart to me. When I'm away I think it's safe to say, with you on my mind I'm not alone. Time has a way with helping to heal things that we just can't fix on our own. Maybe it's time to pick up the pieces we have, try to make up and move on. You try, but you're not much for goodbye's. Don't cry. They say that time flies, still you measure distance by how far it is from Texas."


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Song063_Lightning Collectors

This was a spontaneous idea that originated with a chord progression on the acoustic guitar (G, D#, D, G, A#, A). I created 3 additional sections (some that don't repeat), and each has it's own unique instruments. The delayed noises at the beginning (that rotate across the stereo-field) must sound like the brain waves of a Lightning Collector. There is a violin that plays throughout the second section, and I tried something different to accent this track. I used MIDI to trigger a separate (pulsating) sound that triggers at the initial transient of each note change on the violin. It makes for a bigger sound, and it seems to compliment the rest of the songs "electronic-ness." Additionally, I added 5 different drum sequences, analog bass, and a distorted electric guitar.

I took a break to write lyrics, but the melodies didn't fit. I liked it as an instrumental, so I didn't force any singing. I'll save the lyrics for another day.

This song completes another album. "Alluring Catastrophes" will be available later tonight.