“I fully expected January’s submission to be a struggle. I’m happy to say, it wasn’t. In fact, it might be the easiest song I’ve ever written”
I wrote those words above only one month ago, and in the weeks since, I have eaten them over and over again. Yes, my friends, February’s song was a struggle. I’m not even really sure why. Perhaps it was the elusive “pressure of the follow-up”, or the fact that I am using a new-to-me recording unit, but more than likely it was that I thought I could repeat the formula I used for January’s submission to the same success.
I could not.
It turns out that for me, there is no substitute for sitting down and writing a song. In fact, the song I am presenting to you this month is the second song I created this month after deciding to scrap my entire original idea, which was based around drum loops and keyboards in the same vein as the January submission. Since this decision came late in the month, I scrambled to put together something for February.
While frantically scrolling through the little handheld recorder that I use to sketch ideas with, I found a guitar riff that I had been tinkering with for a few weeks. Though I had not yet found a vocal melody to accompany it, I trusted my instincts and decided that I would use it to create this month’s song. I recorded my acoustic guitar in a modified dropped-D tuning and used a partial capo to find some voicings that I thought were interesting. I brought the song to my trusted collaborator Adam Kierstead, who played a bassline, some sparse rhythm guitar and a beautiful solo that suited the mood of the piece perfectly.
Next, I brought the song to my bandmate Bill Preeper, who added a few takes of slide guitar that Sean Boyer and I liked so much we decided to use all three. While at Bill’s studio, I borrowed his expertise (and microphones) to record the drum part. Everything was sounding great and I felt like I was well on my way to a completed song. All that was left to do was to find a melody, write some lyrics, and sing it.
That’s where the trouble began. I wrote and re-wrote lyrics a whopping seven times, the key ended up being too low for me to find comfortable melodies for my voice, and I ended up in a panic that this song would not see the light of day.
All this leads me to what I present to you now. If I am being honest, it still feels unfinished to me and is certainly miles away from the topic I started writing about. I make no apologies though, this is part of the process and some songs take longer to complete than others. Ultimately, this is what this project is all about.
I hope you enjoy it.
Flowers On A Grave
(to download, right click and select “save as”)
As always, my sincerest gratitude to Sean Boyer for not only the mix, but his dedication to the project.
Note: This song is also available in both .WAV and FLAC formats. If you’d like a copy in either format, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org