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#253460 - 06/12/14 12:07 AM [User Showcase] New song: TAKE ME DOWN
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Hello PG music community. This is a new song I've been working on. From a production standpoint, it is still very much a work in progress (scratch vocal and arrangement with everything playing all the time). I was inspired by the more serious subject recent works of Floyd and Gruverider and decided to post this earlier than I originally planned. It's very dark for me-the melody came first and sometimes the music just writes the lyrics. Try to listen through the off pitch notes. I am still learning the lyrics and it was rough (trying out my SM7B after hearing Gruverider's killer vocals, although I don't think it will have the same magic for me). Thanks for listening. Take care. Greg

https://soundcloud.com/gjohnson-2/take-me-down

The tracks all came together-I'll post the name later. I only put the string quartet on top which I felt worked beautifully. I'm constantly blown away by what this program is capable of.



TAKE ME DOWN



Take me down to the water
Let the tide carry me away
I have kissed the devil’s daughter
I have chosen the cards that I would play
I’m not taken with the notion of redemption or rebirth
Just a quantity of elements returning to the earth
In my orbit through experience, I’ve gained no further worth
Than the sand flowing through the hourglass

Take me down, undo my memories
Of the man, the man I’ve been
Grant me the peace of guiltless reverie
Like a leaf sailing in the wind
I won’t ask for satisfaction, for the sense of something gained
Just for freedom from this torment, anesthesia for the pain
I just wish to be released now from this life I’ve lived in vain
And to drift without this weight upon my soul

There’s no value now in sorrow or regret
No hope for change if time ain’t changed me yet
My spirit’s grown to weary for remorse
To distant from the path, too far off course

So, take me down to the silence
To the blackness, the bottom of the well
Far away from the sounds of hate and violence
From the echoes that comprise this private hell
Make my journey cold and mindless like the falling of the snow
Like the flowing of a mountain stream, to the valley far below
To the comfort of pure emptiness, nothing left to know
I’m so tired and so ready to let go
So take me down…….


Edited by Greg Johnson (06/14/14 09:58 PM)

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#253489 - 06/12/14 11:13 AM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 6871
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 6871
Loc: Florida
Greg,

Awesome song. Awesome sound. Great combination of RTs. The mandolin is sweeeeet!

Love your vocal on this. It has such feeling! (please post the lyric) - Your lyric writing is so complex (in comparison to most) - I kept thinking "Kansas" and "Genesis" but those aren't quite it... unique and vivid and literary...

I'll be listening to this some more. You can't take it all in on one listen...

floyd
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#253496 - 06/12/14 12:21 PM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 06/22/12
Posts: 2868
Loc: Karlsruhe, Germany
boehm Offline
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Registered: 06/22/12
Posts: 2868
Loc: Karlsruhe, Germany
Hi Greg,

great song and good sound. Good choice of RTs.
I like your vocals. Really heartfelt.
Would like to see the lyrics printed.

Guenter
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#253528 - 06/12/14 06:06 PM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 1654
Loc: New Zealand
RichMac Offline
Expert

Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 1654
Loc: New Zealand

Thanks Greg. I find the lyrics and your delivery of this song quite stunning! Would also like to see the written lyrics as they are so beautiful. Sad but not mournful. Cheers.
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#253530 - 06/12/14 06:30 PM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 05/02/14
Posts: 3180
Loc: The Netherlands
RnAM Offline
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Registered: 05/02/14
Posts: 3180
Loc: The Netherlands
Hello Greg,

That's a very cool song! Great composition!
As for the vocals, if I were you I would use some equalizing and cut down the high frequencies just a little bit. Furthermore you might want to add a little bit (more)reverb on it.
A nice tip on improving 'those hard to reach tones' in the vocal part. You might want to give the GSnap vst plug-in a try. It is a free auto-tune clone and can be downloaded here:

GSnap

We use it occasionally. It works very well in most DAW's.

Keep up the good work,
Rob
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#253540 - 06/12/14 09:13 PM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 07/15/12
Posts: 1626
gruverider Offline
Expert

Registered: 07/15/12
Posts: 1626
I think you are on to what you want the vocal to be. That dry (-ish), upfront presence for lyric delivery. And the lyrics are well written, engaging with some wonderful imagery! I love the mandolin and the vibe of the RealTracks you use here.

I want to listen again tomorrow and see what else I hear. Are you going to remix and re-master?

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#253553 - 06/13/14 04:03 AM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2459
Loc: South Africa
JoanneCooper Offline
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Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2459
Loc: South Africa
Hi Greg
This an interesting write. As others have mentioned it will be nice to see the lyrics all written out as my concentration span is slightly limited! Loved the mix and the heartfelt vocals. Good job

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#253573 - 06/13/14 07:48 AM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 02/11/03
Posts: 2375
Loc: Warwickshire, UK
Skyline Offline
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Registered: 02/11/03
Posts: 2375
Loc: Warwickshire, UK
A great job Greg. The timbre of your voice is very hypnotic, and I like the vocal sound. To provide some variety in the overall arrangement how about dropping out all the backing for say, a couple of lines midway somewhere? Just an idea!
The lyrics are very impressive with some excellent metaphors in there.

John
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#253578 - 06/13/14 08:01 AM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 07/08/03
Posts: 653
Loc: Sulphur Springs, TX
Charlie McG Offline
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Registered: 07/08/03
Posts: 653
Loc: Sulphur Springs, TX
Sounded great. Enjoyed the listen.
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Cornelius Tacitus

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#253587 - 06/13/14 08:38 AM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 12/13/13
Posts: 702
olemon Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/13/13
Posts: 702
Beautiful!
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and here:
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#253600 - 06/13/14 09:47 AM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 6258
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 6258
Blown away here in NC... really great job. First listen....

I can hear this playing as underscore in a film, following and during a "dark scene" in the plot. Also, this could fit into the end of some series on TV such as the Walking dead. They often have a song that reflects the feelings & emotions of the characters at the end of every show. This could easily fit that bill.

This has a certain indy feel to it that seems to be the popular thing in TV & film these days.

As such, be careful when... or if... you "fix" the vocal track for pitch issues. If you fix it, use a good pitch fixer like MELODYNE... don't screw it up with a cheap one that leaves artifacts....and don't...don't fix it to the 100% level as you would for a country song. The pitchiness is a crucial part of the overall, vibe that puts this one over the bar. The slightly off key notes, the quaver in the voice, even the cracks in the vox.... all contribute to the character of the song. That new mic is doing a fine job picking up all the nuances in your voice. After listening 6+ times to this and intently I might add, I would not pitch correct this tune. The only thing I would fix on the vox is the high end almost sibilent stuff.... tame that, don't kill the vox character by taking it out totally.

I heard a few places where the highs cracked a bit. "CARRY" me away... was one. You want a nice clean vox track. Be very cautious when working on the vox with EQ. The answer is NOT to pull the highs down, try to fix or record (punch in) on the really bad highs that are overloaded, distorted, or cracked. There's a delicate balance to get the mellowness and retain the "air" in the sound of the vox. Be careful there because it is minor in most places and doesn't need a heavy hand. I'd probably try a narrow band para eq to get that one freq range and pull it down only a few db. That may or may not be the answer. Sometimes a punch in on a small section to repair a mouth sound is the best option. Experiment.

IMHO, the vox are close to perfect. Just fix the occasional high/crack. Are you using a pop filter? I use a filter and sing at 45 degrees to the capsule especially on the "S" sounds and the "P"'s... I didn't hear any pops so that's not at issue. I'd save that existing vocal track and mute it..... record again but back off a few inches further. That short distance is sometimes all that's needed to fix that high "S" problem. You will still keep the intimate aspect.

On the 4th listen ....

I like this a lot. The lyrics are so freaking creative....

The mix is nearly perfect perfect (minor things I mentioned above) , the voice sets in it perfectly, the holds are in the right places,,,,,

One thing I would do..... at the end, I notice you add an "echo" of " Down ".... I would edit that out. It's not needed and sounds more like it was pasted in as opposed to recorded there originally. Just let it fade to black. I think that would be a more appropriate ending to the song. The other issue...and this could be debated, is the length. Just a wee bit too long for TV/Film, but.... they would edit the song to the parts they want anyway... so not a really big issue. 3.5 to 4 is normal length, but then again...there's so much to say in the song....

Yup... overall, I'd "fix" very little on this....

5th listen..... Listening intently to the lyrics.... wow...just wow. I wish some of my song lyrics would just "write themselves" like that.

I'm impressed Greg. Without a doubt, this is my favorite song on this forum by anyone since I've been listening here. Good songwriting.
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www.herbhartley.com

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#253604 - 06/13/14 10:17 AM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 2984
Loc: Florida
tommyad Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 2984
Loc: Florida
Greg, Great writing. Your poetry driven lyrics are always of the highest quality and never cease to amaze me. I agree with Herb in that I wouldn't try to improve on perfection. Sometimes the little creaks and cracks, dropped syllables and the like make the vocal more emotive. You may lose some of the humanness if you try to fix something that ain't broke. I am a huge fan of your voice. You have a tonal quality that few possess. Tom


Edited by tommyad (06/13/14 11:34 AM)

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#253650 - 06/13/14 05:51 PM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 3665
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
dani48 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 3665
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
Hi, Greg !:))


This is one of your best
without doubt ! Strong
lyrics and a beautiful melody
....and that nice vocal on top !!!
Enjoyed it really much !:))


Cheers
Dani

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#253765 - 06/14/14 10:02 PM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Floyd. Thanks so much for your kind words. Very much appreciated as always. I posted the lyrics on the original post. I constantly enjoy what you are posting, and the last one was completely magical. Take care. Greg

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#253766 - 06/14/14 10:06 PM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Guenter and Richard. Thanks so much. Always nice to hear kind words. I guess affirmation is what all of us are after. I love this forum and always look forward to what you are doing. I have posted the lyrics on my original post if you'd like to check them out. Thanks again, and take care. Greg

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#253767 - 06/14/14 10:09 PM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Rob and Anne Marie. Thanks for the kind words. I have really enjoyed your presence on this forum. You're certainly right about some glitches in the vocal. I will redo them at some point soon. I was just anxious to share with all of the cool stuff being posted by you and others. Unfortunately, as a Pro Tools user, I can't use that VST plugin. Hopefully I can capture the pitch well enough in a future take. Take care. Greg

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#253768 - 06/14/14 10:16 PM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Lawrence, I really appreciate the kind words and the careful listen. I am certainly going to re-track this and clean up the mix, and "master" myself. I do like some things about the feel but there are other scars I believe I can avoid. I am really digging what you are doing lately. Keep it up!

Josie, thanks for the listen and the kind words. The lyrics are on the original post if you'd like to see them. Really loved your last submission-romantic (I love romance), and very well done. Liked the 50's chord progression and the pleasant vibe. Great vocals as well.

John, looking forward to having you back in action. Really appreciate your kind words and your always positive vibe on the forum. Hope all goes well.

Take care all! Greg

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#253770 - 06/14/14 10:21 PM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Charlie, thanks for the kind words! I absolutely love your new one (The old guitar player)-so much heart and feel! One of my favorites ever on the forum. Beautiful melody, and lyrics that remind me of Tom Waits/Leonard Cohen. And a killer vocal to boot!! Great stuff. I'll go back for more listens.

Scott, what greater compliment could one give/get for a song. More appreciated than you know. Thanks for being such a positive and steady presence on the forum!!

Take care guys, Greg

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#253772 - 06/14/14 10:27 PM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
I'm impressed Greg. Without a doubt, this is my favorite song on this forum by anyone since I've been listening here. Good songwriting............Herb, this is literally the greatest compliment I have ever received. You have no idea how much it means to me. I appreciate your kind words and you attention to every detail. I will probably save the vocal and try a redo. There are certain aspects of it I really like but the pitch makes my cringe at times. I will take your advice on the mic positioning. There are a few scars which are distracting. Thanks again so much!! Always enjoy listening to your posts. Take care. Greg

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#253774 - 06/14/14 10:34 PM [User Showcase] Re: New song: TAKE ME DOWN [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4687
Loc: Davis, CA
Tom, thanks so much for the great compliments. They mean a lot coming from you. You are doing some great stuff! I did a rough mix of my first blues song-never got that turned on by the blues until I heard some of the stuff you were doing. Always love your posts.

Dani, you are indeed the heart of this forum. Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for posting so many great songs. You are like a musical pen pal. I really love the retro feel of your stuff, as to me it was just a better time, musically, socially, politically--in every way. I have a song I'm working on which is about longing for the past. Thanks for keeping it alive for me my friend. Take care. Greg

And P.S. John, you had talked about changing the arrangement. I think that's a great suggestion. I am going to try to bring some more dynamics into it by bringing instruments in and out more.

Take care all!! Greg

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