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Posts Tagged ‘bridge’

One Cent: I don’t have any sense!

September 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Toss a penny. Make a wish.

girl i’ve counted two times now

you’ve given me the runaround

you don’t wanna put me down before you pick me up

maybe the third time’s a charm

you know i’d never twist your arm

but i swear on this here guitar that i’m not giving up

what do you think? should i heed your advice

and write you out of my life?

it’s all right …

darlin’ if the world was flat

i’d walk you to the edge and back

throw a penny down and down

to see if it would make sound

i’d watch that penny fall

one cent ain’t worth nothin’ at all

it’s never gonna make us rich

unless you make a wish on it

c’mon now, what do you say?

i won’t keep you out too late

or have i made a big mistake …

mistake in asking you?

girl i think you wanna go

yeah i just got this hunch you know

from up above, down below

so i press on through

should i heed your advice

and write you out of my life?

it’s allright …

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Caution Yellow: Out of lemons, rock

August 22, 2010 2 comments

Got stood up for a date recently. It’s ok though; got a nice little rocker of a song out of it. Caution Yellow is below.

Loving my new toy.

In other news I am LOVING my new guitar interface. So much easier to play clean and monitor what I’m playing – now the only sound I hear is post-effects. Before, I was just micing a crappy practice amplifier. Lots of speaker hiss, ambient noise (the dishwasher, air conditioner, etc.), and I could always hear the raw sound sound from the speaker beneath the monitor sound in the headphones. Annoying … but no longer. Now, my only excuse for the guitar not sounding great is that I am not a great guitar player. Working on it.

This is the first song w/ the new setup: interface and Garageband 9 – got a new computer, too. I am discovering a few cool new things in the new version of Garageband. Thank you, Apple, for totally kicking ass!

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Caution Yellow

here I am again, waiting on a girl

and she’s late

Maybe she’s not coming at all

call it flaky, call it fate

but i’d really like …

like the chance …

the chance to read the tattoo that she hides

so i’ll go for broke, hell i’m broken anyway

it’s caution yellow as i accelerate through the light

driving home again

all alone again

she never showed up

any fool could see

anyone but me would give up

but i’d really like …

like the chance …

the chance to read the tattoo that she hides

so i’ll go for broke, hell i’m broken anyway

it’s caution yellow as i accelerate through the light

accelerate through the light

is it green?

is it red?

if it’s yellow, stop ahead …

here i am again waiting on some girl to show up

it don’t look like she’s coming at all

and that’s just pretty fucked up

but i’d really like …

like the chance …

the chance to read the tattoo that she hides

so i’ll go for broke

hell i’m broken anyway

it’s caution yellow as i accelerate through the light

Letters: Simplify, Simply, Simplify

June 21, 2010 5 comments

 

After a few rather complicated (for me) tunes, I decided to do one that I didn’t have to think about and didn’t require a lot of tricky math (going from full speed to 3/4 requires a bit of thinking to program drums, especially if you’re changing time signature as well).

Peace. Bring 'em home.

 

This song’s simple and steady from beginning to end. It’s steady, but I think it has a nice build throughout. It’s a slow burner – I always like those. I dashed the main structure and lyrics off in a few hours yesterday, and went back today for the finishing touches – drum fills, synths, etc. The solo, too – I wish it were better. If anyone out there wants to guest solo, lemme know! We’ll figure out a way to do it.

One further note, this is the second song of this most recent batch that deals with the war(s) and the hardships caused at home. I don’t want to get political here. Suffice to say, I hope the sacrifices we’re making in Iraq and Afghanistan will in the end be worth it. I have my doubts. Meantime, may everyone over there get home safe and soon.

Here is Letters:

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76 miles to an oldie-but-a-goody

June 20, 2010 5 comments

I have a lot of songs about driving.

 

Here’s an oldie-but-a-goody. It’s the second time I’ve recorded this song: 76 Miles (Fife)

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I was thinking about this tune the other day after a friend made a comment about my last song – that it had “two parts that didn’t go together.” She was talking about the bridge, which I re-did. In that case, she was right. The two parts didn’t belong. (See previous posts.)

But sometimes I like songs that jam seemingly incongruous parts together, as this one does. The main part of the song is 4/4 time. But the chorus is in 3/4 time AND at three-quarter speed. It makes for a drastic change – and it makes it tough to record the transition. But the effect is neat.

The song is about the four-hour drive from K-zoo to Petoskey when I used to live up north. There was a place where the divided highway ended around a little town called Fife Lake (shout out!) and there was a highway mileage sign indicating Petoskey was still 76 miles away. Hence – “the end of the highway, but not the end of the road …”

The few folks out there familiar with version one will note a few changes. The first two verses are re-phrased to stretch out over twice as many measures, and are minor lyrical changes. The bridge is entirely different.

Like a bridge over oiled water

June 15, 2010 5 comments

I changed the bridge around. The old one was too grating.

The words to the bridge are similar to the old one, but it’s not in double time.

“You said out of sight would be out of mind/ that’s what you led us to believe / but we’ve come to find that what comes in with the tide – it doesn’t wash back out to sea”

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Playing with time signature: Rainbows

June 13, 2010 2 comments

Finished another one. I wanted to write something in a non-4/4 (or 3/4) signature. So here is Rainbows. It switches back and forth between 10/4 in the verses and 4/4 in the chorus.

The bridge is … different. I can’t decide if I like it. Here it is. Enjoy!

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Rainbows

The beach is empty. Come on down – you’ll love it.

We can’t swim baby, but we can make the most of it.

We’ll watch them cleanup from the hotel window

There’s no reason to call on ahead …

And I hope you like your summers hot

‘cause down here, love, it’s all we got

I hope you like it humid, too

‘cause it rains every afternoon

The rainbows float and ripple on the surface

Did you think none of us would ever notice?

The wind will tell you who to write checks to

Go ahead and cancel your plans

I hope you like your summers hot

‘cause down here, love, that’s all we got

I hope you like it humid, too

‘cause it rains every afternoon

Out of sight and out of mind … that’s how you said it would be

Until it washes up with the tide

And ends up there on the beach

Will you clean this up or go back to making profit?

Put on a show now before you walk away from it

Dig someplace else – I’m sure we’re gonna let you

After all, we gotta fill up

I hope you like your summers hot

‘cause round here, babe, it’s all we got

I hope you like it humid, too

‘cause it rains every afternoon

I hope you like your summers hot

‘cause right now, doll, here, it’s all we got

I hope you like it humid, too

‘cause it rains every afternoon

Small Cuts: Stacking up layers

 

This guy is amazing. I am not amazing, but it doesn't stop me from trying!

… 

Man, this tune was a struggle from the get-go. Sometimes it’s the seemingly simple ones that are the hardest. That was certainly the case here.

The inspiration for this one was actually a couple of different U2 songs. I’d just watched It Might Get Loud, the guitar documentary that features Jimmy Paige, Jack White and The Edge. If you haven’t seen it already, check it out; it’s not to be missed.

I find The Edge’s guitar playing really inspiring. His playing is extremely efficient. He uses effects to great (cough) effect. Simple ideas, polished to perfection. He makes look and sound really, really easy. It isn’t.

The two U2 songs I was thinking of were So Cruel, from the Achtung Baby record, and All I Want Is You, from Rattle and Hum. Both are simple progressions, primarily built on two chords, with extremely in-depth layers and arrangements.

As a songwriter, it’s tough to hang in there for more than a few bars with only two chords – soon it starts to sound repetitive. The trick keeping it interesting is two-fold. One, your melody over the foundational chord changes has to be catchy and varied. That’s true in every tune, but it’s especially true over extremely simple changes. Second, you’ve got to dress your simple progression in some snazzy, complimentary layers. Edge makes that seem easy. If only it were so …

I have no idea how many tracks were used to record All I Want Is You. Probably a lot more 28, which is how many total tracks my song has. Not all of those tracks are on at once of course, but in some places there are as many as 15 or 16 tracks going simultaneously, include 7 or 8 guitar parts.

Keeping track of all of those tracks is a logistical challenge. It’s tough on the processor, too. The computer kept bogging down when I was trying to record the vocal (generally the last thing), which has never happened before.

Those difficulties aside, the hardest part about having that many guitars is just … well … having that many guitars. There’s a reason most bands don’t have more than two or three guitars on stage at once; things get muddy really quickly. When you start stacking stuff on a simple riff, parts that sound great on their own sound terrible together. It’s easy to get swamped in the sound, or to wander so far into the sonic landscape you’re building that you lose sight of the way out …

I nearly didn’t get out of this tune – at least not out of the finished side. I was ready to throw in the towel after spending several fruitless hours only to come back the next day and realize some of what I had was okay. Pretty good, in fact. Like any journey, once I was past the mid-point and saw the way out, it got easier.

It’s called Small Cuts. I’m happy with it, which is good considering the amount of time involved. Here it is:

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You can also watch a video of me singing an early demo of the vocal on my FB page. It’s five minutes of your life you won’t get back. : )

Small Cuts demo vid

One last word about the bridge – I really like it. I wanted it to have a spontaneous, unexpected feel. Because the rest of the song is so simple (read “predictable”), I thought it was important to break the middle up, lest a listener become complacent. In addition to changing up the chord progression rather suddenly, I did a solo which I only loosely mapped out, in terms of the notes. Then, I didn’t practice it at all. I just hit record and played. The take in the song is take number two – the fasted solo I’ve ever done. I think it sounds pretty good (keep in mind that I can’t really play guitar that well!)

Lyrics below:

Small Cuts

You’re too far gone

You gave up too many chances, to the point of fault

All that’s left is to blame – Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

We circle endlessly

We make small cuts

We find bitter pleasure in our lack of trust

But sooner or later there’s one of us

That’s gonna go too far and cut too deep

chorus: You know when you’re gone

I’ll be here holdin’ on

Through the night

At the dawn

To watch you stray

You kneel on the floor

You make the sign of the cross before going to war

But the only thing of which I’m really sure of

Is that He ain’t gonna take your side

There’ll be no surrender

No white flag to raise, just stupid pride to defend

We fill in the trenches just to dig ‘em up again

We’re running out of places to hide

(chorus)

I may miss you now

But I got the common sense it takes to keep my head down

Maybe climb in a foxhole deep underground

And wait ‘til the coast is clear

And I might get lost

But this time I won’t follow you girl, whatever the cost

Who was it called it over? – Yeah, you always were the boss

So go find yourself a new volunteer

(chorus x2)