Archive for the ‘songs’ Category

A few years ago, I was going through a very hard time: Couldn’t find a job, and financially, I was flat broke with six kids and a huge mortgage. I hocked practically everything I had to just stay afloat. But to make a long story short, at what was probably my lowest point, I suddenly got the resolve to fight, to ignore the advice of close friends on selling my house and leaving the area my wife and I both grew up in. Thus this song was born, inspired by something I said to a friend, “Look, it’s my struggle to face, for wrong or for right…”

I know my friend meant well, but the point of my reply to her several suggestions was that she was simply a spectator to what I was going through at the time. I have to live wit the choices I make. This song is about self-awareness and integrity, and knowing what’s important in life. I hope you enjoy it!

For Wrong Or For Right (http://www.icompositions.com/music/song.php?sid=76544)

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Song Title: We Sing with Joy!

This is a pure praise song, very simple to play and sing, and VERY easy to play. The main riff has only three chords and the bridge only adds another two chords. The trick to this was not to make it monotonous.

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Title: If Today (Psalm 95)

I wrote this song for the Catholic Mass (though it could easily be used in both Episcopal and Lutheran services) as a sung Psalm response. It’s lively and upbeat, and a departure from the more meditative songs you normally hear during this part of the service.

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In my latest GarageBand project, I just finished recording a song that I wrote back in 2004, but never managed to record it until now. The song is called “I Will Sing (of Your Salvation).

While the song is very special to me, the recording was actually a bit of an experiment as I wanted to see if I could replace my synthesizer using only vocals. As far as the whole album of which this song is part, I wanted to take a very minimalistic approach to instrumentation to see how full a sound I could achieve with as few instruments as possible.

As always, I welcome your comments!

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Last night, I finally finished re-recorded a solo for a song I’ve been working on releasing (Great God). The original solo was actually pretty good, but because of some errant picking on my part, there some distracting “extras” that I could easily wave edit away. So I decided to re-do the solo entirely. But that’s not the painful part. The painful part is actually physical. I ended up doing over 200 takes over the past couple of nights to get the solo just right. It’s still not perfect, but it’ll do for now… I need to rest my fingers a spell…

With my first set of takes, I duplicated the original solo. This only took a few takes to get it right. But then, I had a bit more complicated of a solo in my head, and it just wouldn’t let me settle. The only problem was that I had to learn how to play it! If you listen to the solo, it’s not a very difficult solo for anyone with the technique. I could actually play it myself from a technical standpoint, but the challenge for me was to play it entirely clean, without any added “touches.” It’s amazing how playing in overdrive masks out those little mistakes! A brush with the pick here, a mis-fingering there, and it just messes up the phrase, not to mention bending strings to just the right pitch. Playing clean, you can’t hide behind any kind of signal breakup.

So I used this recording session as much for recording as I did for a practicing clean technique; and this is where the pleasure kicks part kicks in. I still need to re-record the solo because I missed some pitch bends, but I’ve now learned some new technique that I can employ in other songs…

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I finally got a couple of songs to a mostly finished state though I have to tweak the vocal volumes on one of the songs.

You Stir My Soul
Great God

For the past week, I’ve been ever so tickled by the ease of recording that GarageBand provides. But no matter how easy the recording process has become, it’s still a very tedious process. In fact, the easy part is actually laying down the tracks. What takes the longest time is the post-production stuff that gets my songs to a finished state. I probably spend at least 4 to 5 times more time tweaking what I’ve recorded than actually recording.

But that’s the beauty of music production. The artistry is not just in the recording or the song. There’s also an incredible amount of artistry in how your sound is ultimately presented to your audience. The original recording is much like a line drawing or a pencil sketch on a canvas. That forms the basis of the picture. Then like using paints, you apply color and shading to the raw sketch to make it come to life, resplendent with colors that give the picture a “mood” of sorts. A touch of reverb here, some delay there, perhaps some pitch shifting, or time correction. It’s all part of the “painting” process.

So why all this focus on recording in this series? Well, I haven’t mentioned it distinctly, but I’m working on creating an album of the religious music I’ve written for the Catholic Mass. The album is entitled “You Stir My Soul.” You can listen to the title track here. Note that this is not in a finished state. I have to bring down the lead vocal volume a touch because it totally steps on the instrumentation. I put this out on my band’s website so my cohort Dave could see what I did with the harmony, and how I slightly restructured the song from its original form. I also laid down a groovin’ song called “Great God” that is mostly finished, though I have to re-record the guitar solo because of some bad string plucks on my part. 🙂

To tell the truth, I’ve been working on this album project for a couple of years. My wife has been bugging me to get my music out, and I’ve just given her the excuse that I’m so busy that it’s hard to find the time to record. But that’s not really the truth. The real truth is that I purchased much more advanced equipment than I actually needed to create spec recordings. I mean, it was total overkill, and on top of that, I’ve spent tons of time just learning how to operate the softaware! Don’t get me wrong: I love ProTools, but it’s so much more software than I need right now. For specs, you want to get your songs to a good enough state so that when you submit them to a music publisher, they have a good idea of what you’re after in your music. And as I’m doing this myself, ease-of-use and a short time-to-production are absolutely key!

This is where GarageBand is literally a God-send. Most of the hard sound engineering stuff like EQ and mixdown is either done automagically, or is incredibly easy to tweak. It has allowed me to concentrate on producing my music rather than spending inordinate amounts of time learning how to use the recording software. The net result is that where it used to take me a couple of weeks to get a song close to a finished state, it now takes a couple of days; or in the case of You Stir My Soul, I produced the mostly-finished recording in a matter of hours! I can finally see the end of the tunnel to create my spec recordings and get my demo album out!

I used to scoff at GarageBand as not being “real” recording software. But the the sheer quality of the recordings it produces rivals any recording software I’ve used in the past. It may not be as full-featured as “Pro” recording packages, but for what it offers and what it can produced, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better solution for home recording.

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Posted the lyrics here the other day, and worked out the chords to the original version of the song. You can listen/see to how it goes here. If you want to listen to the actual original version, go to iTunes and search on “Miss Misery.” You’ll find “Miss Misery (Early version).”
Capo IV or V

Am   G       F           C

I'll fake it through the day

F/C                     Dm

with some help from Johnny Walker Red

C    Em

and the cold pain

F       C

behind my eyes that shoots


that through my head

Am  G       F       C

Two tickets torn in half

F/C               Dm

and a lot of nothin' to do

C   G/B

but it's all right

Am     G       D/F#

some enchanted night

F       C

I'll be with youEb    Gm            C           AbM7

Tarot cards and the lines in my hand

Eb        G/B       Am

tell me I'm wrong but they're untrue

G         F       C

I got plans for both of us

F/C                 Dm

that involve a trip out of town

C         Em        F   C

to a place I'd seen in a magazine


that you left lyin' around

Am      G       F      C

I can't hold my liquor but

F/C             Dm

I keep a good attitude
C   G/B
'cause it's all right
Am     G       D/F#
some enchanted night
F       C
I'll be with you

A                          F
I know you'd rather see me gone
C                 D/F#
than to see the, come the day
F           G      E/G#
I'll be waiting for you anyway
Am   G        F    C
Next door the TV's flashing
F/C                Dm
blue frames on the wall
C          Em          F    C
It's a comedy from the seventies
with a lead no one recalls

Am G F C
To vanish into oblivion
it’s easy to do
and I cried to sleep
Am G
when you talked to me
D/F# F C
the day you said we were through

but it’s all right
Am G D/F#
some enchanted night
I’ll be with you

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