Friday, May 29, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Will You Still Be Mine Tonight, #3 - The Lyrics, Part One

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Will You Still Be Mine Tonight

#3 - The Lyrics, Part One

“Will you still be mine tonight?”  

Words that I really meant, in spite of the difficulties in my marriage at the time.

This song will always be a bittersweet reminder of difficult times in the past.  Some of my own failures, some of hers. All of ours.

How can you really know if you will stay married?

How can you really know if the person you are with really wants to be with you?

I guess you ask.

And I did…

With a cute little lyric in a cute little ukulele song.

Of course, the song progressed to become something bigger, but at the beginning, all there really was was some “do-do-do-do’s” and the chorus lyric, “Will you still be mine tonight?”

I remember that she had gone away to visit family out of state.  We had another fight before she left. It wasn’t good.  

I didn’t really know if she would stay away (again), or come home.  So, I sent her a rough mix of a ukulele, some whistling, and the chorus.

She came home…

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Will You Still Be Mine Tonight, #2 - The Music, Part Two

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Will You Still Be Mine Tonight

#2 - The Music, Part Two

With a new tenor ukulele in hand, some newfound information and desire to use the instrument, I began playing it on a regular basis. And I mean regular!  That thing is easy to take around the house, outside, anywhere!  

And, as normal, I began to play the uke like me, putting combinations of chords and strumming together in my way, especially since I was new to it.  I came up with the chords that you hear during the opening of the song, and began to whistle. Yes, whistle! It was such a happy little ditty!

I quickly realized that I needed to get this idea down and fast.

I went to my studio, turned on my Mac and opened up a new file in MOTU Digital Performer, the sequencing and recording software that I use, and laid down the basic tracks you hear in the recording.

The rest of the song took shape over several weeks, really. I wanted to stretch a bit and work the song to include some different turns.  During the turn around to the lead, I wrote a simple bridge section to include a cool synth line ending with a little motif I had begun playing on the uke.  

All things considered, though I didn’t play uke throughout the piece as the main instrument, it was THE main instrumental influence.

Probably my favorite part of the song, though, is the bass line.

I really wanted to give a nod to one of my personal heroes, Paul McCartney, and write a moving, melodic bass line to go with the lightheartedness of the song.  I worked for quite a while until I arrived at the bass part you hear in the song. Maybe I achieved what I set out to do, and maybe I didn’t. I just hope Sir Paul would approve!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Will You Still Be Mine Tonight, #1 - The Music, Part One

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Will You Still Be Mine Tonight

#1 - The Music, Part One 

I bought my father a ukulele for Christmas one year.  Yeah, I know, strange gift. But, you see, I grew up learning to play guitar after watching that man sit around most every Sunday morning, strumming his guitar and singing old Hank Williams songs, and other songs by quintessential country artists like Johnny Cash and Roy Acuff.

During the time I was visiting mom and dad for the holidays, dad insisted I show him how to play it, since he knew some guitar, but had no idea what to do with a uke.

Of course, I had NO IDEA.  So, I looked up some details, figured it out, and we sat for a long time messing with that uke before I had to return home.  I say “we”, but really he never touched it. He let me play around with it and smiled the whole time. I’ll never forget that!

So, I returned home and had an itch.  A ukulele itch.

Guitar Center provided the best and closest place to go to buy one for myself, and I must have sat for hours, playing several ukes before deciding that I wanted a tenor uke for the tone and ease of playing.  I took it home, sat for hours and hours learning some basics, and probably driving my family mad doing so. But, I was enjoying myself with a new instrument, and with a new tool.

What’s this have to do with writing the music for “Will You Still Be MIne Tonight”?

Stay tuned, and I will tell you next time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Funny How The Time Goes By, #2 - The Lyrics

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Funny How The Time Goes By

#2 - The Lyrics

Funny how time goes by, isn’t it?

During the time I originally laid the tracks for this song, my (ex)wife had returned home and we were working at our marriage again.  But, the song was written, and I intended to finish it.

“Funny how the time goes, funny though she don’t say why she disappears, now she’s not here,” was a pretty direct statement of what had occurred.  

“Funny how the feelings go, funny thing is you don’t know, one day they’re gone, they’re moving on,” then, “ooo, ain’t it funny,” was an overtly honest statement that I never thought would make it past my (ex)wife.  But, sometimes, you HAVE to write the truth, no matter what.

Curious thing, after I had finished recording and mixing this song, it was her favorite, she thought it was THAT good.  She actually told me that she thought it was the best song I had written to date. I still am not sure she understood that it was all about her, and me, and what had occurred between us.

The words, “Funny how I just don’t know, if I can find the words to let them go, yet through my tears they’re crystal clear,” was me saying that I wanted out totally, and didn’t think I could say it, though I knew exactly what I wanted to say.  It would take another 7 years before I worked up to it…

I gotta be real honest here.  This is my favorite/least favorite song for all of what it says.

I know that a lot of people think it’s great and want me to keep it in my set list, but one day it may be time to put it away, and really move on from the past.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Funny How The Time Goes By, #1 - The Music

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Funny How The Time Goes By

#1 - The Music

Funny thing about time.  It really does go by.

I know it more every day, and as I sit writing this I am acutely aware of it.

You see, I am supposed to write about how I came to the music part of the song, but the truth is that I simply do not recall.

What I do know, and somewhat remember is that it was clear back 2007 ways, that it was a response to my (ex)wife leaving me for a time, and that it was supposed to be the peculiar juxtaposition of the word funny with the sadness of the song.

And I remember going to the studios at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL to record the guitar parts.  This part of my memory is fully intact.

You see, I knew this was a different piece for me, and I wanted a very particular mic’ed guitar sound, and wanted it to be done well.  I had heard that you could get time at Full Sail University Studios for students who are learning, and I applied, booked time and set out, tracks in hand, to lay down the guitar parts.

First off, let me say that the instructor and the students were great!  I realize I sat in a learning environment, but they went to town at getting my Taylor NS42CE mic’ed up perfectly.  And, when I asked for something specific - that is, a mic to record near my ear, not near the guitar, since that is what I am used to hearing when I play - the instructor said “that’s a great idea” and the students set it up.

We recorded a few different passes after getting a good check on my headphones, and then worked on the set up to do the lead parts.

I played my Taylor 410RCE 25th Anniversary edition steel string acoustic also, and it was a joy to listen to as they worked with me.

The engineer played producer a bit, having me add harmonies to my lead, even though I hadn’t planned on it.  Worked out beautifully, and you can hear it in the song. I am grateful for the input.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Everything’s Alright, #3 - Epilogue

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Everything’s Alright

#3 - Epilogue

I released this song back in 2008 on an EP.  

It didn’t go anywhere.  

But, Christianna did sing some tracks with me and it is the most precious moment of our lives for me.  Her voice, at that age, so pure and true. She is a wonderful singer still, and I love hearing her sing.

For this current release, I used the same tracks, just cleaned up some problem areas and remixed the song.

One of the things that had always stuck out in the original was some pitch problems I had.  Not many, just a couple that I wish I could correct. So, with the tools in my set-up nowadays, I was able to correct them. Digital Performer, my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) of choice, has great plugins that allow me so much control, especially when it comes to pitch correction.

I also spent time taking the original tracks and putting through the same mixing process as the rest of the songs on the album, so it would fit in as part of the whole.

The thing about this song is, it is so simple, timeless and easy.  Whenever I perform it live, I find people sitting in the audience singing along, as if they have been singing it with me for years, even though I know they are only hearing it for the first time.

I guess that is what marks a great song.  When people so identify with it the first time they hear it that they can sing along.

I guess I couldn’t ask for better.  To help others feel, see and know that everything will indeed be alright.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Everything’s Alright, #2 - The Lyrics

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Everything’s Alright

#2 - The Lyrics

I’ve already said it several times. With me, most songs start as both chords and melody with some sort of lyric.

It is true of this song, too.

As Christianna and I sat strumming the opening chord together, I was talking to her.  I explained that from here, playing a chord you can start to sing, and it can be whatever you want to sing, about whatever you want to say.

And I sang…

“We’re sitting here playing our guitars. Together, simply strumming a few bars before we go to bed tonight.”

After the word “bars”  I changed chords and really messed her up playing, but I think she got the picture…

After a while of strumming and singing the same line over and over, I sent my daughter off to bed,  I returned to my studio and finished writing the song.

At the time, I really needed the reminder.  Still do. Sometimes, in the midst of the storm, in spite of the rage of the world, relationships, money issues and such, everything in life lines up and is alright.

Ooo, everything’s gonna be alright!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Everything’s Alright, #1 - The Music

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Everything’s Alright

#1 - The Music

Here I am, sitting in my home studio, working on some music, really not knowing where I am going.  The frustrating days of marriage and life piling up all around me. The year is 2007.

My youngest daughter, Christianna, around 11 years old at the time, is finally learning to play guitar.  She’s toyed with it off and on for a while, and now, after a woodshed day of making her hands place chords on the neck of the guitar, and pounding out Johnny Cash songs from charts on the internet, she can actually sit with me and we can strum a bit together.

And that is the basis of the song. 

The lyrics really tell the story, and the story is real.

We were sitting, simply strumming a few chords before my daughter went to bed.

I cannot tell you how exciting that moment was, and how much I needed it.

Now, time for honesty.  I confused the crap out of her!

I wanted her to play her C chord while I played a G with a capo on the 5th fret, making the same chord, just a different sound.  It took a few moments of confusion, but after she understood what I was trying to do, we strummed and strummed on that chord for what seemed like an eternity!

Friday, May 1, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Control Me, #2 - The Lyrics

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Control Me

#2 - The Lyrics 

I don’t think that anyone is immune to difficult relationships.  It can be a parent, a sibling, a boss. And for many of us, it is a love relationship, although we cannot believe it.

The lyrics for Control Me came about because of a combination, but mostly out of the frustration with my ex-wife.

It’s taken a long time to get comfortable simple stating how I feel.  It goes against my grain to speak poorly of someone, and when I decide to speak out, it can be scathing.  I try to be a better man than that.

It doesn’t always work.

While tapping and singing the bass and melody lines to this song in my car, the opening lines came out like a summer storm, “I don’t know why I even try, my words do not make it through.” I knew instantly what I was about to write.  

It was the way I had felt for decades, literally.

Why speak up to say how you feel, to defend yourself, to prove something, if the other person never really accepts, or worse, never really hears the words you say.  In the end, when that occurs, it is all about control.

Control of the situation.  Control of the narrative. Control of you. 


So, after singing some “da’da’da’da” words in the melody line, I got to the chorus area and stopped the recording on my iphone. It was about to come out, but I had NO IDEA how hard it would feel.

I actually yelled, top of my lungs, in my car, in Orlando, FL, “You gotta control me!  You gotta control me! You have a goal to steal my soul! Yeah, you gotta control me!”

And that, as they say, is that.