Some Tunes

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Another demo studio return - this one is called "Again," a collaboration with a local songwriter.  Not sure how I feel about what I got back from the studio on this one though.  I think the musicianship was fine, but the vocal performance is what's weighing on me.  I may sit on this one for a while, then redo the vocals, not sure yet.

I think that this is one of the draw-backs of working the demos online.  If I was sitting in the room, I would have commented during the process, but alas, I was not.

This song came from an experience that Beth and I had at Costco, with an older man that was shopping for one of the first times without his life-long partner.  It was touching and certainly tough to avoid tearing up at when it happened.  I struggled for a long time to write this song, and ended up waiting to have someone to co-write with to spark some progress.  It was written and re-written many times.  May need another one or two, don't know yet.

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Co-writer

I am constantly amazed (but no longer surprised) at what is delivered into my lap from time to time.  Just a few weeks ago I was talking to my wife Beth about how I needed a boost or change or something (maybe a new co-writer) to feel like I'm moving forward.  I swear, within 24 hours, I was contacted by another SongU member (lyricist) who asked if I would like to co-write.  I checked out her SongU website and liked what I saw and heard.

So Kimberly Hale Kimes and I decided to work with some lyrics that she had and I really think it's going to be something special.  We are working it through some feedback processes now, Muse's Muse, Just Plain Folks and SongU.  We had our first phone conversation last night and got to know each other a little bit and it was good stuff.

Time will tell with this particular song, but I can see us collaborating on more in the future.  I really feel that if you put the thoughts out there, the direction comes.  Sometimes with that amazement because you didn't expect what and where things go, but "progress" for sure.

So Kim, thanks for asking and I look forward to great things and fun in the process.

Oh, another side note, thanks to Kim, I have discovered some sites noted above.  And, when going into the Muse's Muse, I found SoundClick which is a great place to store songs and then be able to access them from my website.  Very cool, like I said, one gets taken places they didn't expect sometimes.  Very cool stuff.  More adventures to come.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Can't Say No

Been waiting quite a while to get the umpteenth rewrite done on this one, then again a while to get a demo done.  For me, it was well worth the wait.  Can't Say No is one of the first ones I started writing when I went back to the chalkboard to start writing again.  It's a swampy-bluesy kinda thing and I love what The Gator Hole did with it.  Different type of song for me, so what else is new?

As of now, its sitting at the top of the song list here on the blog, if you want to have a listen.  I'm finding it fun to go back to earlier songs and rewrite with new-found skills.  Going to try to get another song into the studio right away.  My goal was 6 demos by the end of 2011, which I think I'll fall short of, but that's all good too.  I think the quality is crawling up the scale.

Still no "takers" on pitching any of the songs, but you know, that's another part of the process to learn about.  I'm planning on keeping my focus mainly on songwriting and get more active in the business end in 2012.  I think it's hard to spread the time out properly when the rest of life pulls and tugs on the clock.  As always, it's about balance and doing what you love to do.  I love writing and getting better, not too keen yet on marketing, so we'll see where that goes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Character Ammo

I've heard real evidence of progress in my current musical adventure.  The process continues and I now find it increasingly challenging to figure out how best to proceed for the "best" progress.  I can tell you, it's not boring.

I'm mid-way through a class at SongU about story songwriting and character development.  Now I can see where I need some ammunition to reload the guns.  And here, I thought this was going to be simple.  Ha!  I think I have some real opportunity to better set up most of my lyrics by better character development.  You know, not only do you have to be adept at this process, you've got about 3 to 4 minutes in a song to get it done and tell the story too.  Oh yeah, simple.

I realize that not all songs are really story songs, but I'll just bet a lot more are than I tend to think about in that way.  Some are obvious, like "Mr. Bojangles" or "Cat's in the Cradle" (to go back a ways), but even if the story is less deep, the characters make it real.  Hmmm.  Lots of work to do.  I'm thinking about taking a creative writing class and then applying it to the songwriting.  I'm sure it couldn't hurt (not me anyway).
Interesting side-note, I understand that Harry Chapin's wife actually wrote the lyrics about Harry and his son.  No credit for the talented lady, hope she got to spend some of the cash for that one anyway.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Perfect Time

Just got back my second demo in this current songwriting lifetime.  "A Perfect Time" is my first drinking song and my first real country feel song.  I opted to try a different studio from my first demo, mainly to get some different exposure into this part of the process.  I really like the lyrics on this one; I think there's a lot of song craft in it with a lot of Gary too from the standpoint of how I would talk to someone and be semi-funny in the process.

I went with The Gator Hole.  Love the name.  Had some communications back and forth with Galen prior to taking the parking brake off.  I really loved some of the vocalists he uses and I think it paid off.  He also is a supporter of SongU, so I'm in.

Ronnie here did the vocals and I was very happy with the results.  Nice chops man.

I also decided to turn right around move on my 3rd demo, again using The Gator Hole.  This next one is "Can't Say No" which has been rewritten (severely) and I'm pretty excited about it.  Gale thinks he can get a real swampy kind of sound (ala "Bad Things" from HBO's True Blood).  I've had this on the shelf for about a year, thinking about how to rewrite, so it's time has come.

Today is a good day and I'm loving the ride right now.  Fun in the sun.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Second Demo In-Process

After one critique on a song that I felt very comfortable with, I decided to go ahead and demo it. This is a little bit different tack than I've been taking. In the past I've gotten numerous feedbacks, but due to the recent spread of suggestions and my comfort level with "A Perfect Time," I decided to pull the trigger.

I also decided to go to a different studio this time to get some feel for comparison. This time I'm going to The Gator Hole in Nashville to see what Galen can do for the song. This will have a little more country feel, contemporary, but not as much edge to it as "Convince Myself." I have high expectations.

I did quite a bit of searching online and listening and three main reasons for going where I did. First was the quality of vocalists that I heard, second the overall recording quality and sound on the available demos and third, Galen's communication was quick and very helpful. It all made me feel like the experience would be great and productive. We'll have to wait and see how my 6th sense is working.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Conflicting Feedback

Although it can be frustrating, I'm coming to realize that conflicting feedback I think is a sign of positive direction. At least that's the way I'm going to take it.

I've literally received opposite direction (referring to song content and design) given from "experts" and this certainly didn't happen earlier in the process. I really think this boils down to the human factor after some of the low hanging fruit has been picked. I'm not saying that I'm done making rookie mistakes, but I think they are coming with less density than they used to. Absolutely a good thing. It does however, make it more interesting trying to move forward. Have to learn how to trust my own inner voices, yep those folks whispering and talking and yelling that I wouldn't talk about in front of my shrink (if I had one - yes, need for sure, but have not none-the-less).

So, I've decided to turn another page in my personal soga and limit, at least for awhile, my feedback. I usually feel pretty good about a song before I take it in for feedback anyway, but now I'm going to take a couple of tunes and get one review, then go into the studio - then off to the market.