Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gig at Gennaro's Dec. 1

Rob Roper invited Julie and I to open for him at Gennaro's (2598 S. Broadway, Denver) on Saturday, December 1. We start at the early time of 10 pm. Should be fun if I can stay awake.

Of course we said yes and now comes the arduous task of choosing our set list. So many songs, so little time.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Demo - Part 7 - Do I really like this song?

We sat down and knocked out Contradiction Blue in less than an hour. Now that I've got a handle on the click track, I did the guitar in one take. What was surprising was that I began to fall asleep while playing the guitar. With a very simple blue progression, it quickly became old. Even later adding the vocal track, it still wasn't that exciting. Worse was that it came in at 5:20 (way too long).

Ben thought it sounded fine and offered to add a bass and drum track behind the song. I left wondering if I should just scrap it and move on. Still haven't decided and will see what he comes up with. The interesting things was, coming into the studio, I thought this would be one of the more solid tracks.

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A lesson in song writing - country radio

On the way home from a river trip in the middle of Utah, we had the choice of two radio stations, one Navajo and Western, and the second country. After the news came on in Navajo, we were left with country. My two passengers had been interested in songwriting, so I was able to give a lesson as we drove through the desert. It was fairly simple, I first defined a verse, chorus and bridge. In most country songs the pattern is verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge and chorus. While not 100% it's a pretty good place to start. I then explained the concept of a hook. Country writers are the master of the hook. In about five songs they started shouting, here comes the bridge, that's the hook, wow they put the chorus first, etc. It was great fun. What was impressive was that an hour later we remembered a number of the hooks and the accompanying melodies.

Whether you like country music or not, there's a great lesson to be learned in the songwriting.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Demo - Part 6 - Practice pays off

I was back in the studio today. Ben was all excited by his new mike and the fact that I had practiced. In a hour, we laid down two guitar tracks and the lyrics for "Vote for Me." A song done in an hour, pretty cool and more importantly economical!!!!

Today worked so well, because I had practiced with the metronome and a recording of the click track for the past two weeks. For the first time, I walked into the studio confident. Even though I still had the "live on tape" nerves, it was actually fun. I was even able to add a few licks while playing.

To prepare for next week, I had Ben record the click track to the next song, "Contradiction Blues." With practice, hopefully it will go smoothly next week.

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Songwriting in a magical spot

I just returned from 8 days on the San Juan River, the end of the season trip. The first night was so windy, I barely played guitar. The second night we camped by a rapid and I found myself in bluegrass mode. To hear over the rapid I played and sang loud, fast and freely. It was great fun, I only wish I could remember what I played.

A few nights later, we camped below a desert waterfall. It was such a magical place that I had to break out my partial capos and write some beautiful guitar parts. I eventually got a melody and then place holder lyrics. I really hope no one could hear me as I played the guitar part for almost an hour as I started to come up with words. The lyrics were:

I'm standing in the middle of nowhere
Watching the river rush by
It always seems to know where it's going
Doesn't need to try

No signs along the way
To tell you where you're at
Just have to have faith
And trust that you have a good map


Week long get away
Clean air, wash it all away

See that water fall
I wonder does it hurt
To fall through the air
And crash to the earth

There's a smell of dinner in the air
Catch a taste now and then
Hopefully they'll save me some
If I beg

The last lines were written in a hurry as I ran to dinner. Luckily there was a little dinner left.

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