Over a month without a post… Tsk tsk tsk! Funny how a little home remodel and the rest of life tends to chew up time. We have been getting some writing in here at the ranch though. I thought I’d take you through the beginnings of some of the songs we’re working to give you a feel for the mechanics. We’ll throw down some sound clips to give you an idea of where we are and you can follow along. In this case it’s an electric guitar lick.
First up is a song that I wrote a few years ago and was never really satisfied with it – “The Race”. My biggest problem was with the lyrics and just never got back to do a re-re-rewrite. Poor abandoned song… sniff! It so happens that I’ve got an opportunity to send it to song coach Cindy Wilt Colville out of Nashville. She’ll be one of the speakers at the American Christian Songwriters Association annual summer training conference (only 15 seats left at last count!). This coaching is just one of the perks of the conference. I’ll let you know how it goes – as if I’m looking forward to another rewrite!
The song was built off of a guitar lick that I came up with and couldn’t seem to get out of my head – that’s a good sign for beginning a song. I had originally played it in C – and wrote the whole song in that key – but have recently given in to say that I just can’t sing that high especially when I hit the bridge section. I dropped it down to G and although I like the guitar sound in C, it makes a big enough difference in singability for me to make it worth the drop.
Here’s the lick:
Maybe not the cleanest picking but it’s catchy huh? Add a basic drum beat to get your head a bobbin’:
Then a thumpin’ bass to give it some urgency (It is called “The Race”):
This is one of those songs where the music – in this case a guitar lick – came first, then the lyrics. Most of my stuff has been written this way, but I’ve recently found that I’d rather get some words and put the music to it. Kind of a chicken or the egg kind of thing. I remember trying to come up with words to go along with my catchy little lick and just naturally fell into “story-telling mode”. With the usual limit of about 3 verses (“American Pie” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” aside…) I probably shouldn’t have started with, “When I was young…” and try to cover a lifetime, but that’s what happened.
Here’s a scratch track of the first verse and chorus – in G by the way:
We’ll try to cover this song – along with “Only You” and “How To Love Deep” – through their full development all the way to the next finished project. If there’s something in particular you’re interested in just let us know!