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Latest Blog From the Writing Workbench:
(click on the title to go to the full blog entry)

Latest mp3s From the Music Workbench:

Who'll Stop the Rain
Needed something to do New Year's Eve, so covered some Credence. The Dude approves.

Heard this one on the Johnny Cash album of the same name, and found out it was originally written by a woman named Jude Johnstone, and sounded quite different before he covered it. I did a bit of a hybrid of the two styles. I was not terribly happy with what I was doing until I raised it in pitch two frets and stopped using a pick.

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Sometimes one has to sing some old country music (Hank Williams Sr.) to express how one feels much of the time.

Angel Band
I showed an English class O Brother, Where Art Thou? again this term and got this song from the last scene stuck in my head. With it stuck in my head and all, I thought I might as well try to record it.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Did this solely to see if I could. You be the judge.

Broken Wings
So, file this under "someone really kind of dared me to cover this high-voiced, 80s ballad, keyboard and electronic-based song on acoustic with a baritone voice."

Like A Rhinestone Cowboy
So, Glen Campbell died yesterday, reminding me of the fact that my parents, gently opposed to modern music in favour of traditional religious fare, had a couple of Glen Campbell records (mostly because he sang with Anne Murray, a guilty favourite of theirs). I heard the man had died, thought "But, I don't sing Rhinestone Cowboy," then didn't let that stop me.

Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses (U2 cover)
Finally got a new recording interface working and wanted to try recording with more than two inputs at one time (something I haven't been able to do since the days of my cassette four-track recorder in the 90s.) First attempt doing an off-the-floor vocal and guitar recording with more than two mics in place. I used four mics. This definitely did not make it four times better, though it made it ten times harder to mix. Will get it figured out eventually.

Gonna Fly Now (the theme from "Rocky")
Was working on some bits and pieces to go in a YouTube video I'm making, and I needed a snippet of me playing trumpet harmonies to show much easier it is to record things like this with a computer. I came home and thought "I'll just set up the computer to record the stuff, and then I'll take a nap and maybe work on it tomorrow." Four hours later...

It Makes No Difference (The Band cover)
Went to see a Band cover band last night. It was the Classic Albums Live group doing The Last Waltz by The Band. This song really got to me, so I messed around with it this afternoon.

Song for the Mira (Anne Murray cover)
Went to see a co-worker star in a play called Marion Bridge, with a musical duo who played throughout, including this song. I wondered "How do I know this song?" Then I remembered it was covered by Anne Murray, so my folks certainly would have had it on LP when I was little. Also, pretty sure we learned it in elementary school music class, right along with "I've Been Everywhere," "This Land is Your Land," "Farewell to Nova Scotia" and "Ise the Bye that Builds the Boat." I think East coast culture is a huge, appropriated part of what passes for Ontario culture, as so many of these songs are about being here and missing being there (apart from "Sonny's Dream" which is a plea not to come here from there).

Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover)
Upon the man's passing, and well before, everyone and his brother was covering this one. Thought I'd toss mine into the ring.)

Listen to the Man (George Ezra cover)
Somedays you just have to come straight home from work, and record a song in a style you don't usually attempt, built all out of first takes, and put it on the Internet for everyone to hear. (I did a take in a bad Jamaican accent, but no one gets to hear that.)

Maybe Someday (Tyler Unleashed!)
This is an old song of mine that people often like. Bill once said "Good. Now don't add anything to it or I'll kill you." Well, today I let Tyler add bowed bass, some plucked upright bass, some mandolins, and some piano. They really make it different.

Far From Any Road (True Detective theme)
Anyone who knows me, knows I love a good murder mystery/crime procedural. Twin Peaks, The Wire, The Killing and so on. So when friends told me that I appeared to have somehow sung the theme song to a new serial killer mystery show called True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, I checked it out. I was instantly hooked. And recorded my own version of the theme song this morning, "missing" verse included. (On the show, it's actually by The Handsome Family, and not me.)

You Were Always On My Mind (Willie Nelson cover)
My friend Michael V said I "should" do a version of this one. Far be it from me to argue with that. Of course I had to kinda learn it. Well enough at least to do a slap-down version of, anyway.

Keep Talking (Pink Floyd cover)
An obscure Pink Floyd song, from after Roger Waters left. And what I've done is stick the bridge from the extremely similar "What Do You Want From Me?" right into "Keep Talking." Feeling this one tonight.

Wagon Wheel (Rock Me Mama Like A...)
When I have a cold, I have this odd thing where I see if I can sing a song anyway. I am just over the hump with a brutal one, so I did this cover of Old Crow Medicine Show's standard. I kinda forgot entirely to do the first part of the first verse. As usual, all first takes.

Like A Hurricane (Neil Young cover)
I just did this one to try out a mic technique I heard about called "side mic placement." The idea is that I just played and sang the one time, adding nothing, and the recording should sound very full, with the voice coming from everywhere at once in the sound field. Should sound rich, though only recorded with the one take.

Red Sweater
This one likened the church attitude that I'd been raised with, and which I was being increasingly reprimanded for not displaying, to that of a sweater which wouldn't leave the washing machine to be worn, or see the world. (It wanted to avoid stains, you see.)
Bonus: Blast from the past techno edit of Brethren preaching: Follow the Flock


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