By The Creek

Posted by: George Ireton

By The Creek - 07/26/14 03:33 PM

Okay! Here I go fellow BIAB/RB peeps! I just got my software in the mail last week. I have never used anything like this before, so there was a bit of a learning curve. The comments made by veteran users on this forum were extremely helpful!

You can hear the recording and read the story at:

Recording details:
Cardioid MXL condenser studio mic w/ pop filter.
Mic straight to laptop via MXL Mic Mate Pro w/phantom power.
Set up song framework in BIAB then grabbed it with RB.
Added some RT instruments to my guitar and vocal tracks,then did a little volume mixing.

Let me just say up front... Nice words are always welcome, but I have always benefited by the crucible of blunt critical comment, so please feel free to blurt it out there! No thin skin on this old bird!

Posted by: tommyad

Re: By The Creek - 07/26/14 04:45 PM

George, that's a terrific first post. Very well written and arranged. Nice editing on the solos. The vocal is well sung but I would bring up the volume. I would also add some harmonies. Really listenable. Great job. Tom
Posted by: George Ireton

Re: By The Creek - 07/26/14 06:25 PM

Thanks Tom. I will do both. Didn't want to get to froggy on my maiden voyage!
Posted by: floyd jane

Re: By The Creek - 07/26/14 06:52 PM


A very enjoyable song. Good straight-ahead bluegrass...

A few suggestions.... not to detract from the overall song - because I quite enjoyed that...

Your guitar sounds great in the opening and I wanted to hear it throughout, but it sort of "got lost" in the mix. It needs a bit of high end EQ to help it "cut through the mix" - nice pickin' - let us hear it...

It seems as though you have the bass panned left. That struck me as a little "odd". Bass is typically centered - no panning... The fiddle seems to be down the middle... since your mandolin is on the right, panning the fiddle left would give a nice balance (like it should swap positions with the bass). I'd like to hear the banjo a bit "up" in the mix. And, as Tom mentioned, the vocal could come up some, too...

Those are just suggestions. You should mix as you see fit. I enjoyed your first offering - and I look forward to many more...

Welcome. Pull up a chair and sit a spell...

Posted by: George Ireton

Re: By The Creek - 07/26/14 07:00 PM

Good stuff Floyd. I know zip about these things. I just took a blind shot. Fortunately, RB lets me fix it!
Posted by: RnAM

Re: By The Creek - 07/26/14 08:33 PM

Hello George,

A very nice first song.
However, we agree with Floyd's comments and we think that the mix could be crispier and clearer.

R & AM
Posted by: Noel96

Re: By The Creek - 07/26/14 09:15 PM

Hi George,

Wow! This is great. It's one of the best first posts I've heard. As floyd says, "pull up a chair and sit a while". I'm really looking forward to what comes next. You've got a terrific voice and sense of musicianship.

You asked for any critical thoughts ... I only have two.

When I listened to the chorus, I found myself wondering about the last line. Let me explain. The first two lines ground the chorus in the present tense while the last line moves the lyrics into future tense. The lyrics work ok but I found myself wondering whether or not "By the creek everything's alright" would work better since it would maintain a consistency of tense throughout the chorus.

My second thought is regarding the song's structure of "verse verse chorus verse verse chorus" (i.e. V V C V V C). Did you try this as a potential "V V C V C B C (or melodic variation of verse 4 instead of a Bridge) structure. I mention this for a few reasons. These reasons are: (a) adding a new melody for what is currently the fourth verse would help boost a listener's interest by way of adding the unexpected (if you're interested, have a listen to floyd's "One More Star" to hear this song-structure in action) - alternatively V V C V C C would also be an interesting structure to try out; (b) the future tense of the fourth verse makes it potentially great Bridge material; (c) the chorus is very very strong and I bet you'd have people singing along with you on the third time through.

I offer the above thoughts simply because of your request. Please feel completely free to ignore anything I've said.

Overall, I really enjoyed the listen a great deal.

All the best,
Posted by: George Ireton

Re: By The Creek - 07/26/14 09:28 PM

Thanks R&AM. Workin' on it here.

Noel... Yes! This is exactly the kind of critique that prompts song improvement, which is what I am after.
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: By The Creek - 07/26/14 09:28 PM

Good song George. Your voice is well suited for bluegrass. Enjoyed the song and look forward to hearing you again soon.

Posted by: RichMac

Re: By The Creek - 07/26/14 10:10 PM

Hi George. Thoroughly enjoyed it all.
Sort of missed the chorus between the two last verses. Nice voice. Cheers.
Posted by: plish

Re: By The Creek - 07/27/14 12:10 AM

I liked the tune. The last line of the chorus works for me as being more future oriented. It gives an insight into where you will be going in addition to where you are.

I too like the chorus and would love to hear more of it. Maybe a repeat of the chorus where it's only singing and some brushes or a bass? Then kick in to a full version with harmonies.

Just some thoughts. Overall, well done!!

Posted by: gruverider

Re: By The Creek - 07/27/14 12:59 AM

I really enjoyed the lyrics. Super images well written.

Great song.
Posted by: Al-David

Re: By The Creek - 07/27/14 09:56 AM

Hi George,

Welcome to the fray! There are so many talented people here that a person, no matter how talented, can learn something new on almost every visit. I (Alan) played in a band for over 40 years and made a real nice living doing it. Yet, I never fail to learn something new and valuable every time I post a song and get reviews and respectful critiques. This forum is a great learning tool!

Loved your song and vocals! That was a really nice song for a first effort. It sounds to us that you have already incorporated many of the suggested changes. The bass is now centered and the fiddle panned left. We didn't hear it before but that had to have made a big difference. And the banjo panned right is a nice offset/balance to the left-panned fiddle.

I (Alan) lived in Bakersfield, CA throughout most of the 90's and lived within a mile of the Kern River, which is more like a big, deep creek. So, I can empathize with your lyrics.

Very nice! Hope you stay a while and treat uys with more of your wonderful music! Best to ya ,,,

Alan & Di
Posted by: MarioD

Re: By The Creek - 07/27/14 11:04 AM

This is probably the best first time offering that I have heard!

You did a really good job on this. Your vocal was great. Personally I would not change the last line of the chorus but you do what you think sounds the best. I would however follow some of the mixing suggestions that have been mentioned.

Great job on this one.
Posted by: George Ireton

Re: By The Creek - 07/27/14 12:43 PM

Kind of havin' a Sunday mornin' blessing from all the nice words people have said about my modest song offering. Thanks for that!

My big purpose for posting this song was simply to begin the process. Many helpful suggestions have already been implemented. Things I was simply not aware of concerning how to properly mix a song. I have never before been concerned with that aspect. I will continue refining this one and add another chorus, harmonies, etc.

Alan & Di, Yep! We lived in BakersPatch during the late 80's. I was an Asst. Trainmaster on the old Santa Fe. We had a nice home just off Olive Drive. I have a longtime bluegrass buddy in Bakersfield (Craig Wilson) who is a great guitar and mando man. He is also a world class luthier. Wilson Mandolins He is also the front man for The Roustabouts. The Roustabouts

Again, thanks to each and everyone who took the time to comment. I so much appreciate all remarks, both technical and/or creative. Don't be afraid to put on your Simon Cowell hat either! I genuinely want to improve my craft. I am fully aware that you don't always get the honey comb without a few stings! Heh!
Posted by: Greg Johnson

Re: By The Creek - 07/27/14 02:39 PM

Nice song!! Very thoughtful lyric. I agree with most of the comments on what to tweak but it is a very cool tune! Great work! Take care. Greg
Posted by: cubanpete

Re: By The Creek - 07/27/14 03:07 PM

Hey George,wonderful first post and lyrics. Looking forward to the next one!

Mike B.
Posted by: George Ireton

Re: By The Creek - 07/27/14 05:56 PM

Thanks for checking it out Mike. I know this one is Bluegrass, but I like Jazz too. I get the chance to sit in with the Straight Ahead Big Band here in town sometimes. I played upright bass on their "Book Six" combo CD. I got in the studio for cuts 4 & 8. Cut 4, Black Orpheus is my favorite! Nothing to do with BIAB but thought you mike enjoy this. Book Six Combo No black cats in this one, just cool cats!
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: By The Creek - 07/27/14 06:15 PM

What the heck.....even though floyd has already nailed it I'll throw out a few comments just relative to the mix.

FWIW I spent the better part of four decades playing bass fiddle and staring at 4 guys/gals in front of me in bluegrass bands -- so if nothing else I have opinions on BG mixing :-)

I shoot for the following:

- The lead vocal and bass are in the middle (bass is somewhat non-directional in a room so it should be mixed in the middle).

- The guitar is slightly left or right.

- The fiddle and mando can be spread more left and right while the banjo is closer to the center opposite the guitar and should, in general, drive the rhythm.

- The rhythm guitar should rest I n the mix so that the boom/chuckas lay over the bass/mandolin chops respectively. That's why it lies close to the center. It ties together all of the down/upbeats.

- The banjo just keeps pushing everything and needs to be heard.

- Fills are typically done by the instrument that is gonna take the next solo.

- In addition to the mix per se effects (particularly reverb and EQ) on the instruments and vocals are needed to help everything gel.

OK, I'm getting ahead of myself!

Great first BIAB effort and hope many more are to come!! You'll find this community to be a fun and supportive place to hang out.

Posted by: George Ireton

Re: By The Creek - 07/27/14 08:49 PM

FWIW! Are you woofin' me right now Bud? It is worth a ton to me! I am only beginning to grasp the possibilities with this. I have enjoyed playing live over the past 45 years too. Quick question... Did you create "Snake Lips" with BIAB? Any hot tips for making a good kickoff? The beginning of some of this stuff seems abrupt. I would like to make a typical banjo kick off for example.
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: By The Creek - 07/27/14 09:03 PM

Interesting you found that! Yes, Snake lips was entirely created with BIAB. I cut and pasted pieces of multiple RT regens to try and get something close to the melody I was hearing.....or at the very least not distract from it. Often I'll regen a RT 25+ times to find the snippets I want. But that instrumental was much harder than the vocals where all I have to do is support Janice. But as a retired ole phart I have the least when we are hiking and biking!
Posted by: boehm

Re: By The Creek - 07/28/14 12:15 PM

Hi George,

welcome to the showcase.
Great first post.
Enjoyable listen.

Posted by: George Ireton

Re: By The Creek - 07/30/14 02:01 PM

After encouragement by others on this forum to try things I did not know how to do the other day, I have re-mixed "By The Creek" to include another chorus plus harmonies. Funny how those backup singers sound just like Henry Kissinger trying to sing bluegrass when you just do the solo preview! Ha ha. But when you play it with the other parts it sounds passable.

I still have much tech to learn with this program. There are still some things I have yet to solve. But thanks again for your help on this one. I need to move along to another song for now, but I will come back to this for later tweakage.
Posted by: SpaceDog

Re: By The Creek - 07/30/14 09:46 PM

Welcome to the Forum! Great song. I really enjoyed it. You must be a quick study. I'll watch for your new tunes.
BTW. Cool ID picture (Banjo baby).
Posted by: George Ireton

Re: By The Creek - 07/30/14 10:32 PM

Hi SD! Thanks for the kind words. Truth is, i'm a slow learner. I am just motivated to learn this thing! BTW, those bluegrass babies are my grandsons. I had their baby pics and was just fooling around with an image editor. Heh.