Well, I’ve been home for five days and I finally have an hour free to update the journal.
The tour in Germany and thereabouts was not what I was expecting and free time to work on lyrics was pretty much in the tour minibus with headphones on.. Sitting around in cafes? there wan’t any time. But I did manage to finish the Green song, which is now called Slip Away, as expected, and Everysong (working title – I Love Everyone). The majority of Coattails and Woman in a Bar were also written, or at least taken beyond the first draft. And it was certainly inspiring, as a songwriter, to learn ‘Rock’n’Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution’ for the tour finale..
First couple of days home were dealing with outstanding tracks which had been recorded by associates in my absence. Dave Derby and Jill Sobule delivered background vocals to Antidepressant and Traveling Light, and both work well. Peter Baldwin (of the band Hercules) delivered bass parts to Rolodex Incident and The Young Idealists – these were auditioned via email on the tour, so I knew they were good, but they still needed to be imported, fine tuned and then prepared for mixing. And Dave Trenholm delivered the last string and flute arrangements to NYC Sunshine and How wrong Can You be? Minor editing on my part was required, but not much, and by Thursday I was finished except for singing..
I really don’t like to sing more than one song a day in the studio, because when I focus on one, it’s hard to get it out of my head to work on the next one. But I had no time for this kind of luxury..
Everysong had been written on tour and the melody had eveolved from what I’d originally intended – the lead wasn’t singing one of the key melodies, but replying to it. So – I thought maybe Background vocals could do it. Yes. that worked. Harmonica was always on the cards for this song so I gave that a try also, doubling the vocal line. OK, too. Then played harmonica in the intro and solo and got it in a first take. This is not normal for me, and I was very happy, but it does not make up for the hours I have spent failing to come up with good harmonica parts over the last few years… Lucky, though, given the premium on time.
Recorded the newly written vocal, and all is good except a few lines which need to be rewritten. Write sing, listen, repeat until happy.
Applied this process to Woman in a Bar and Coattails also, no BVs or harp needed on those, and in 2 days I have 3 songs finished.
On to Green/Slip Away. This is a worrysome one because the lyric is pretty bleak and the melody is trying to do a Karen Carpenter type of thing – not exactly my forte – but surpringly it works easily and quickly.
How Wrong can You Be? is a strange one. The chorus was written years ago and the verse is almost another song in itself. I wrote verse 2 a few months ago and now I need verse 1 and I have to sing it all. I have a lot of phrases I’m playing with, trying to get them into the lyric, some work, some do not. I was particularly hoping to get ‘the paraphernalia’ in, hoping for an implied Kate Moss reference, but I couldn’t get it to scan.. In the end I’m happy to at least get ‘The Repercussions’ into line one.. finished singing it just before a very late lunch today.
After lunch I took a break to watch the LA Open golf and then went back to the studio to sing Antidepressant. Although the lyrics were all written, there were still some melodies to figure out, as the verse/lead vocal does not sing the main melody in the first two choruses – it sings a low harmony – which I was able to figure out until the end line.. I suck at vocal harmonies. Really I do. And I get no pleasure from standing around trying to figure them out. It is totally unnatural to me. Eventually I have the lead vocal ghost the main harmony line, but a a couple of beats behind, to resolve the chorus. I hope it isn’t crap. Tomorrow I must tidy up these tracks and turn them into neat files for export, then write and sing Traveling Light. If I do that maybe I don’t need to take my microphone to London.. but I will anyway – there is bound to be something I won’t like next week..