The Best Christmas

Posted by: Guitarhacker

The Best Christmas - 12/18/13 08:28 AM

This is likely the last Christmas song I will post this year..... (did I hear a sigh of relief from someone?)

This is a colab written, IIRC, around the end of 2011 using BB/RT for all the instrumentation.

I am not the singer.
All the tracks are real band renderings except the drums which are Jamstix and the bass guitar which is played by me as a sampled midi bass.

THE BEST CHRISTMAS

enjoy
Posted by: Scott C

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/18/13 09:34 AM

Definitely a toe tappin, two steppin Christmas tune. Loved it...
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/19/13 08:18 AM

Thanks Scott...
Posted by: sixchannel

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/20/13 06:57 AM

Hi Herb
An excellent up tempo happy modern song with THE Christmas message.
Loved it!
cheers
ian
Posted by: Noel96

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/20/13 07:36 AM

Hi Herb,

This song is great; a really enjoyable listen. I have to hand it to you. Your songs are sounding incredibly professional. You've really developed the knack for writing, arranging and producing.

Below is just an aside. Please feel free to ignore it (in fact, you probably should) ...

Because I recently noticed that one of floyd's songs was a list song, it immediately stood out to me that verse 1 of this one, too, was a list song. One of the reasons that I find it difficult to use the 'list' approach is because I find verse development difficult. The question of "How do I make the second verse more emotionally intense?" always leaves me scratching my head. You've done it amazingly well here.

In her book, 10 Steps To Effective Story Telling, Andrea Stolpe talks about using more internal-based lyrics in the second verse as a means of development. I don't know if you're aware of it, but that's exactly what you've done here.

Using Stolpe terminology, in verse 1, you've used three 'external' lines followed by a fourth 'internal' line. (An 'internal' line is always great as a chorus trigger.) Then in verse 2, you've used one 'external' line followed by three 'internal' lines. Because you've set the scene so well with verse 1, the emotional intensity of the three 'internal' lines really lifts the emotional weight of the second verse. Very, very nicely done! In my opinion, these lyrics showcase the fine use of some great songwriting tools.

Overall ... it's applause all around from me!

All the best,
Noel
Posted by: tommyad

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/20/13 08:06 AM

Herb, Super job on this one! Well written, well arranged and edited, well recorded, and your singer did a nice job. I'm all in. Tom
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/20/13 08:25 AM

Ian: Yes, the Christmas message IS all about loving one another.

Noel: I had to think about that for a minute to understand what you were saying. I agree. The hardest thing for most song writers is to write a second verse that is better, more dynamic, and lively than the first. Writing a good first verse is relatively easy.... it's that second one that kicks everybody's butt.

I'm not patting myself on the back (too much) but one thing I have found is that my best songs and best ideas are generally collaborations with other writers. There's a lot to be said for having another person with a different POV to bounce the ideas back and forth. The more experience both parties have in writing, the better the results will be. A simple case of the sum being greater then the individual parts.

We actually looked at that from the negative to positive viewpoint. I don't, I don't, I don't, to... I do..... Once the switch was made from negative to positive, a whole new world of possibility opened for writing and the second verse was mostly written with the positive viewpoint in mind.

In addition to writing with D. Martin... the song came from his idea but it really changed from the first draft which does not resemble the finished tune very much. I worked with several professional songwriters at the Nashville Songwriters Assoc to critique the song..... structure, ideas, etc. They offered no writing input just advice.... maybe you should look at this, explore that idea, or drop that verse and this verse, combine these 2 things into one, and get to the chorus faster here. That sort of thing. The advice they offered took this from it's original almost 5 minute song with 4 verses, chorus, and a bridge, down to what you just heard.

You often hear me speak here about the need to rewrite a song when I critique someone else's songs..... I don't tell people to do things that I don't do myself. The secret to writing a good song is to rewrite it. Most people will not do that. Most are stuck with the notion that the first draft is the absolute best and they, nor anyone else is gonna mess with their perfect baby. Truth is.... there are very few.... very few song writers who can set down to write and the first draft is flawless and becomes a hit or a timeless classic. Sure it happens, but for most writers, it's a process of editing, adding, deleting, rearranging, and hard work to refine a song to the point where it is better than average. Of course, the more one writes the easier it becomes to get nearer the target at the beginning. You can't write 3 songs a year and expect to advance very much... it has to be an ongoing process... something you do on a regular basis. I have notebooks and now computer files filled with ideas started but not finished.

Enough on that.

I'm glad you liked the song. And I appreciate the in depth analysis of the verses. I just bought a new book on crafting better lyrics and have started to browse it before I settle in to read and digest the content of the author.
Posted by: boehm

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/20/13 10:46 AM

Hi Herb,

nice song. Good vocals and mix.
Merry Christmas.

Guenter
Posted by: aleck rand

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/20/13 10:55 AM

Hi Guitarhacker,

Terrific! That you twangin' the git''tar? Man, it sounds so good. Tight harmonies, you nail all the pitches, tell a happy story and really drive that train.

Aleck Rand (aka Dean Clark)
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/20/13 01:06 PM

Boehm: thanks

Aleck: nope.... not me on the guitar. that is a composite of 5 guitar tracks from real band. Thanks for thinking that was me though.
Posted by: Noel96

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/20/13 07:24 PM

Hi Herb,

I totally agree with the re-write concept. I don't do enough of it!

Quote:
I just bought a new book on crafting better lyrics...


I'm curious. Who is the author of the book?

If you want to do yourself a real favour, I highly - very highly, in fact - recommend that you get hold of Pat Pattison's three books. They're the books I keep on reading and re-reading.

1. Writing Better Lyrics

2. Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure

3. Essential Guide to Rhyming

Pattison is a professor of lyrics and poetry at Berklee College. Perhaps his most famous students are John Mayer and Gillian Welch.

His books are very different from EVERY other songwriting book. If you're interested, and on the off-chance that you mightn't know, Pattison also has a free course on https://www.coursera.org/. Many people on the PG Website have done this 6-week long course and all seem to highly value it. Over the years, I've been to around 15 or 16 of his weekend workshops. They're awesome!

If ever you get the chance to attend a class of his, it's well worth going to.

All the best,
Noel
Posted by: Sundance

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/20/13 11:01 PM

Nicely done collab Herb.

Merry Christmas.


Josie
Posted by: Al-David

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/21/13 04:59 AM

Hi Herb,

I'm a newbie here...just signed up about an hour ago. I like your song. I played lead guitar in a Country band for almost 40 years and we did a lot of Country Swing and Western Swing...Bob Wills, Asleep At The Wheel, etc. You had my toe tappin' all the way. Thanks for a great listen! Merry Christmas...

Al David
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/21/13 07:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Noel96
Hi Herb,



I'm curious. Who is the author of the book?

If you want to do yourself a real favour, I highly - very highly, in fact - recommend that you get hold of Pat Pattison's three books. They're the books I keep on reading and re-reading.

1. Writing Better Lyrics


Noel


that's the one. I also have some others including Jason Blume's 6 steps
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/21/13 07:43 AM

Thanks Josie...


Al,,, much appreciated and welcome
Posted by: floyd jane

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/21/13 08:40 AM

Herb,

A nice song. Good mix and a very nice vocal.
The guitar solos are nice - and the piano works well in this. - floyd
Posted by: F.M.M.

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/21/13 11:04 AM

hi herb great job vocal mix love that guitar solo thanks for sharing eric
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/21/13 08:27 PM

Floyd & FMM Thanks for listening...
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/22/13 10:18 AM

Nice production to end the year on for sure! Guitars solos are outstanding and backed with a fine mix.
Posted by: gruverider

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/23/13 04:22 PM

very nice work indeed! excellent choice of instrumentation. and extremely well crafted lyrics

(I also enjoyed the lyric writing discussion this song posting evoked)
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/24/13 08:19 AM

Janice & Bud : thanks for listening.

It has been a good year musically for me and I suspect, also for many other folks here.

Gruverider: thanks as well for listening. Discussions on all aspects of writing are beneficial no matter what side of the discussion one finds themselves on. Even when the advice is not taken, people still get the chance to see the other POV and perhaps learn something new and useful for future writing projects.
Posted by: Elliott Kayne

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/25/13 11:54 AM

Nice sound, good song, nice guitar mixing, if that is all real tracks very impressive mixing.
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/26/13 07:54 AM

Elliot, thanks for listening. Yes, it is all real tracks.
Posted by: Paul Haynes

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/26/13 08:00 AM

I enjoyed your song, nice and uplifting.
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: The Best Christmas - 12/26/13 05:04 PM

Thanks for listening Paul....