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New Music!?

Upside Down Clown

I'm just a clown here, I'm here to amuse.

When asked about my hobbies I’ve usually blurted out “songwriting”.  It’s the first thing that comes to mind anyway.  It’s a loaded response though, because it leads to questions and inquiries for examples of this so-called “songwriting”.  Although I’ve written hundreds of songs and even recorded a few dozen of them, very few of them were songs that made me feel particularly proud.

Living here in Nashville, I’ve had the great fortune to meet numerous successful songwriters, musicians, engineers, producers….there are many ridiculously musically talented people here.  It feels a little ridiculous even referring to myself as a songwriter in the context of all these amazingly talented people.  Honestly though, I think this really helped my own songwriting in that I wanted to try and create something of the same caliber.

As my little recording project has progressed, I’ve received lots of help from other extremely talented musicians and engineers.  This level of collaboration has been a new thing for me and I am outrageously grateful to be able to call these people friends.  I still have a lot of work to do before the entire project is finished, but it has started to take the form of something I can be proud of, mostly due to these collaborations which have upped the musicianship of these songs to something I’d be unable to achieve on my own.

I simply couldn’t wait to share a song that was recently finished for this still unfinished project.

Pat Buchanan lays down some guitar

“Circus Music” features my buddy from California, Barry Lawson, with whom I collaborated long-distance to take this relatively simple and melancholy song to a whole other level.  Barry is responsible for not only drums and background vocals, but he completely orchestrated all of the circus band music that weaves through the song and creates a dramatic finale.

Pat Buchanan, who I first heard playing guitar on Cameo’s “Word Up!” in 1986, and later with Daryl Hall and John Oates, plays guitar and bass (and even a little keyboard) on this track.  This was a HUGE thrill for me.  I can’t even begin to describe how humbling it is to have someone you’ve already been a fan of…then get to actually meet and work with…then offer to play on your stuff.  I’m still dumbfounded that this actually happened.

Engineer, producer and all-around musician Jason Gantt also adds some electric guitar to this track.  He’s responsible for adding some depth to the bridge of this song, as well as some big fat chords to the chorus.  It’s a thrill that he offered to contribute to this track, and I’m grateful that I took him up on his offer.  I highly recommend visiting Jason’s “Wasting Your Time” blog.

Although I play acoustic guitar on “Circus Music”, Scott Velazco painstakingly edited my ‘performance’ so that it is actually listenable.  He should probably get the acoustic guitar credit more than me.  He took the original acoustic track from the demo version of this song and chopped it up into many many pieces so that it appears I have rhythm.  The original track wasn’t meant to be the final, and I was even off by a whole measure by the second verse.  Once he performed his editing magic, I was never able to beat it, so it became the final.  I learned a lot from watching Scott engineer over the years.  His Talkback Blog provides a great first-person account of his audio recording experiences.

I knew early-on in the creation of this project there was only one guy I wanted to mix these tracks.  Unbelievably I was able to actually get that guy.  Ben Strano melded these tracks together so that the song actually sounded better than what I originally had in my head.   Mixing is still a bit of mysterious art to me, I know what I want to do, but Ben knows how to get there.  His musical approach to mixing always brings out the best of the songs he touches.  Even when I had all these wonderful tracks together, Ben’s mix was like night and day, and I’ll never forget that moment when I first listened to his final mix of this song.  It finally felt done and was such a relief after spending so much time with this song.  You can learn more about Ben Strano via his website.

At this point I’m hoping you’ll actually want to listen to the song.  It’s available for free, as will the rest of the project when it’s finally completed.  If you dig this track you can help by writing a review or sharing it wherever it makes sense for you.  Thanks in advance!

  1. June 26, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    two door that sits about nine … teen. clowncar, i get it! hahaha! nice lyric.

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