Archive for January, 2019

Original by MSK

Over the last few years I have focused on recording and releasing songs I have written. Among these songs are a few co-authored works where portions of the music, lyrics or arrangement were inspired by friends in a core group of writers.

On my new Cover Tune Tuesdays series, I wanted to record songs that were written by people in that core group. (A lot of these songs also benefited from a little help from our friends, LOL) The first in this series is a song written by my brother David. He has been referenced here a number of times. This is a song of his called “The Magic Goes Away

I played his Martin six string guitar for this one. It is a delight to play and sounds great. I sing my harmony parts so the melody will be in the ear of the author! I added drum loops and used the computer for the bass guitar and strings sounds.

“The Magic Goes Away”

Though the feeling’s here to stay. The Magic Goes Away. As the method in our madness is exposed. Still there’s newness in the air. A warmth, a certain flair. And the knowledge that our hearts will not be closed.

We can’t say that it won’t end. It’s not in us to pretend. But at last the masquerades have all been played. There’s a quiet, hopeful sound. In the way that our hearts pound. It’s you and I, at last we’re on our way.

Though the feeling’s here to stay. The Magic Goes Away. As if we’d loved each other once before. Come and hold me once again. My lover, and my friend. As old magic gets replaced by something more.

It’s that newness in the air. A warmth, a certain flair. And the knowledge that our hearts will not be closed.

by Charles David Kennedy

We hear about local, national and international artists releasing new songs, EPs and soundtracks all the time.  Such fanfare and pageantry!  Producers, Engineers, Writers, Marketing Gurus and Designers are paraded through a gauntlet of praise.

Not so for me.  I write all the lyrics and music for my songs unless otherwise noted in the post.  Some lyrics take years to form after learning from time and experiences.  The odd one just jumps out at me and is written in one sitting.  There are verses or bridges waiting for a home.  Smashing them together will work in a pinch, but I have found that everything has its place and it is better to wait for the right project than to force a marriage. 

My early recordings find me singing and playing bongos or other cheap percussion toys that survived my pre-teen years.  I finally worked enough chores to buy an acoustic guitar that was a step or two above the ukulele and nylon guitars I would get for Christmas presents from my parents.  (As stated before – I blame my mom for all of this LOL)

Writing this I think that might have been my motivation for getting and keeping jobs at an early age….. It was so I could buy instruments, recorders, microphones, gadgets; toys no one would buy for a kid.  Hmmm.   

On this blog I post a lot of songs where I play all the instruments on the recording.  I use as many acoustic instruments as I can and these days the computer is also the recorder, FX, sound source and MIDI controller.  So I use a lot of strings, pianos, drum and mood sounds that are ‘sampled’ from the real instruments and stored on the computer so we can use MIDI controllers to generate the sound of each.  So, while I do not play violin or trumpet, I can do my best to recreate their behavior using various MIDI parameters.  I also have friends come over and record guitar or vocal parts.  My wife and I also sing vocals on the majority of my songs.              

After that I am the engineer, producer, promoter – ha!, and all the other knit-picking things one has to do to keep all this going year after year.  That, and have a regular day job and family.

Many recordings are not the greatest and are not as polished as I would like to see them some day.  I think a few are great.  I share them with you not as gleaming product ready for the digital consumer’s shelf.   I get a song to the point others can listen to get the outline and vibe.  Maybe the listener is a producer or band member that could see their group performing unique songs.  

With that in mind, thank you as always for your visits, and please enjoy songs I have written for the last fifty years.  I am excited to see what I will do in the next fifty!

Waiting for the band

JJAR in the Studio

Noodling at Night
Mix Session
Studio and Gig Set Up
Room to Play!
Careful with that Axe, Eugene!
Drums and Triggers
Full Studio
Racks at Night
Location Recording Rack

I have been playing around with some themes, grooves, melodies lately. I have written a number of instrumentals over the years that are destined to have no lyrics. Sometimes the pieces are simple riffs and other times they can be full blown productions. I have a few I would like to share with you in the near future. Here is one I am still working on but I like where it is going.

This one I call “Another Dimension”

“Another Dimension”

Last week I returned home from a short visit with my daughter and her family.

Last month I turned 65 and quit my labor intensive warehouse job.

Last year I enrolled in Medicare.

I am a procrastinator.  I rationalize my symptoms.  I laugh at me looking for a way to postpone trivial things all the time.

A lot of conditions are starting to be classified and quantified and turned into another annoying sound bite.  Dyslexia, obsessive compulsion and attention deficit disorders, anxiety, being introverted and living with depression are just part of the long list. When I was growing up and entering grade school no one talked about these things.  Few could diagnose and some treatments were still in the future.  At least I now know what some of the things I have been dealing with all my life are called, lol. 

Evidently there wasn’t anything extreme or I would be dead or in a prison somewhere or in an alcoholic state of bliss.  (IYou – Them)  Just enough to make IYT ‘odd’.  Just enough so IYT know we are different.  IYT literally see things differently than the other school mates and friends.  IYT understand things from a different point of view.  Where others find life fun, IYT see nothing but challenges and embarrassments.

It is funny growing older and learning of medical conditions over the years on the news and go, “OH!  That’s what I have!”  Of course, I procrastinate.

But back to rationalizations.

You have heard of Spring Cleaning.  Every season you get everything out and dust it off.  Some you decide to keep and some memorabilia is lucky to find another home.  Even if it is only for the hope of being uncovered again in the future.  Now think of that process in decades.  Other than family and friends, what have you accumulated over all the years that is truly worth anything?

I have an old photo in a frame of my late sister and her husband.  It needs a new home.  For days it has been sitting on my desk.  I see it every day.  I procrastinate.  I feel moods change whenever I look at the photo.  I wait.  I need to find the right place for it.

I am sure it will be obvious                                 in the future.