I’m always writing music. Most of the time the writing process is pretty casual. A little melody line here, a riff there. Most of these ideas never evolve into fully fleshed out tunes. Instead, they become dried out little seeds of songs, whose sole purpose is to rot, decompose and fertilize the ground for the more worthy, robust ideas. Recently, the soil has been very fertile and I’ve sown many seeds. These three songs have pushed through the dirt and now see the light of day.
Finished in May 2014, “Come With Me” is the most recent song that I’ve written. It all started with a hybrid-picked Dmaj9 chord that I was messing around with. I adorned the chord with some hammer-ons and pull-offs and the sound, to my ears, sounded fresh and unique. Consequently, I was inspired to push on and try to compose a song around it.
As has been the case with most of my recent material, this song has a positive, upbeat vibe and generally reflects how awesome my life is right now. I chose the title “Come With Me” after the song was written and I think it describes the optimistic mood of the song.
When writing the rest of the song around the original idea, I tried to avoid the pitfalls that I’ve recently fallen into. Mainly, I’ve tried to keep it simple and uncomplicated. Something I failed to do with “Drunk Monkey.” I tried to follow advice that I’ve read in countless interviews: let the song be what it wants to be. Don’t force it.
Another goal was to layer up the sound as much as possible. There are two acoustic guitar tracks, two electric guitar tracks, a bass guitar track, a drum track and a melody track performed on an electric guitar. The sum of all of that noise is a full, yet light and airy sounding track. I’ve tried to give the attentive listener a lot of ear candy.
For the first time ever, I used an actual real amplifier to track the electric guitar parts. In the past, mainly to make things easier, I’ve used Amplitube 2 to emulate amps and effects. This time, I used my new H&K Tubemeister 5 amp and various effects from my pedal board. I’m really happy with the sound. I’m also happy with how my acoustic guitars sound on this recording. I’ve come along way since 2007 when I made my first serious recording with an acoustic guitar.
“Drunk Monkey” was completed in November 2013 and it represents an attempt to be eclectic. I’ve been listening to The Aristocrats lately and I love how they move between multiple keys and genres within one song. Umphrey’s McGee does a similar thing. I love to be surprised by hairpin turns in a musical composition and I wanted to try my hand at it. Although I’m happy with the song as whole, I feel like I missed the mark slightly in my attempt to create a cohesive composition featuring two very different parts. The two sections of this song aren’t connected well enough, I fear. A co-writer would have helped a ton on this tune. Someone to say “Dude, this is cool, but I think each section should be its own separate song.”
That said, I’m pleased with the recording, the drums and overall feel of the tune. It represents one of my best efforts, albeit a bit misguided. The resulting song is not wholly representative of the amount of effort that I put into crafting this song. The title “Drunk Monkey” ably describes the “hey look, shiny!” state of my brain during the writing process. I simply crammed too many baubles in there.
“Seventh Haven” was finished in March 2013 and I feel it is one of my strongest compositions. I’m happy with the harmonies and how they drive the melody. The melody is nice too, I think, though it may be a bit repetitive. It’s another upbeat tune that reflects my positive mood at the moment.
There are a few things that I wish I would have done differently. The main guitar part that starts the song should have been acoustic, not electric. And why, oh why, did I drench it in so much reverb!?!? That sound should have been a more earthy, natural, and focused. Oh well.
I also wish that I performed the drums rather than use loops. I got lazy and I paid for it. One last thing that irks me is that the bass guitar is mixed a bit too loud. Yet, in spite of those flaws, the song still sounds good to me.
The song is titled “Seventh Haven” because it features mostly major and minor seventh chords. Needless to say, the title is the least creative part of this song.
Anyways, I’m still writing and I hope to keep the momentum going. Stay tuned!
For more information about me and the guitar lessons that I give in and around Baltimore, visit www.ewguitar.com.