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#271874 - 12/01/14 11:16 PM [User Showcase] NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Online   content
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Dear PG music community, this is a song inspired by a film, a particular scene in a film which I found very emotionally moving. Along with music, film is my favorite medium. When the two interact correctly (Cameron Crowe, Martin Scorsese), it can be emotionally orgasmic. I wrote this song after the film was out, decreasing my chances for placing it from 1/10,000,000 to zero (Oh well!). There are some issues with the mix (too bright, french horn too loud, strings too soft, too much reverb). Those are my clearest observations but I'd love to hear yours, and any other feedback you'd like to share. The piano is Liverpool piano, I will get the name of the bass, which I feel couldn't have worked better if played just for the track. Orchestra is a combo of East West Silver and Miroslav (changed formats in the middle of the song). Thanks for all your encouragement as of late. Take care. Greg

https://soundcloud.com/gjohnson-2/artistmaster1



Scotch and cigarettes (George Valentin’s theme)

If anyone should ever ask. you can say you knew me when
My star was shining bright, the world was in my hands
My life was filled with wonder, every moment I embraced
Though I fell so far, I tried to fall with grace

But don’t shed no tears for me; It seems I made my choice
Every artist has his fate; I just never found my voice
But as my star was fading, in surrender to the night
You arose to shine a brighter light

Now I’m alone, on these long afternoons
And my days in the sun seem as distant as the moon
I wander the past, and I sift through my regrets
Through the filter of Scotch and cigarettes

Was there a sign I might have missed? Was it arrogance or pride?
Or how the artist must insist on being true to what’s inside
Or maybe it was destiny and I found my rightful place
Just to shed that light upon your face

Now I’m alone…

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#271885 - 12/02/14 02:08 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7755
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7755
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Greg.. is this song really your composition?? Not a remix of a movie theme?
I ask because, if it's yours, I am totally and irrevocably blown away!!

The orchestration is as pro as anything I've ever heard outside a movie theater. And the lyrics are so metropolitan and clever that I simply would not have expected to see something of this caliber on a music hobbyists forum! I was going to mention lines I thought were particularly inspired... but when I went back to your lyrics to pick them out, it ended up being all of them! The rhyme between REGRETS and CIGARETTES is made all the better by the context of the story in which you lead up to the line! VERY slick!

The chord pattern and melody are absolutely perfect for the type of movie theme you've created here! As far as I'm aware, this is the first song of this type that's been posted to the forum, and Man oh man! It is a good one!

If there are any changes that would make the song better, someone else will have to make them... because all I hear is success! In summary, this ended up being an 11 exclamation point review! I'm not sure what that means, but it seems significant somehow. ;-)

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#271892 - 12/02/14 02:59 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 3076
Loc: wales
gibson Offline
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Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 3076
Loc: wales
Greg,

That is a masterpiece!

If only you knew but that could be the song behind my life crazy

The piano is beautiful, the orchestration sublime. All in all that song, IMHO, is faultless. It sounded perfect so I can see no need for any changes.

I am enjoying your works so much.
Thank you for sharing

Alyn
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#271904 - 12/02/14 04:18 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 6933
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 6933
That is an amazing song. Well written in every aspect.

Love the hook...

Pat & Gibson said it perfectly.
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Add nothing that adds nothing to the music.


As the sword chooses the warrior, so too, the song chooses the writer.

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#271908 - 12/02/14 05:11 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 4840
Loc: Florida
90 dB Offline
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Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 4840
Loc: Florida
Great stuff Greg. Orchestration is elegant.


Regards,

Bob

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#271911 - 12/02/14 05:44 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 3086
Loc: Florida
tommyad Offline
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Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 3086
Loc: Florida
Greg, First of all and without question this is a very important contribution to the forum. As Pat says "I simply would not have expected to see something of this caliber on a music hobbyists forum!" I agree with him that the lyrics are very sophisticated and metropolitan. What sets this apart is the fact that this could be set in movie right now and it shows the power and potential of BiaB as much as anything ever posted here. Brilliantly written, arranged and sung. Oh yeah the voice-WOW! I hesitate to list any nits as this is just so gorgeous, but here goes. 1.) The drums are too bright 2.) Too much vocal reverb 3) I know this is part of your sound- but I wonder if the vocal was a little less bright, a little less presence, could it retain the intimacy that you capture so eloquently. Again- this is just great as it stands and in no way do I wish to detract from this wonderful piece of art. Bravo!!! Tom


Edited by tommyad (12/02/14 07:03 AM)

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#271913 - 12/02/14 05:51 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 8800
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 8800
Loc: GA USA
Greg, We could parse this song out and laud
you on every aspect of it. But that would
do our listening pleasure a disservice as
it's hard to get away from the totality.

The song is simply spectacular. Classy is
perhaps overly used but that's the word
that best defines it for us. A class production,
vocal and write.

What a way to start our day!

J&B

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#271926 - 12/02/14 06:46 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Pat Marr]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 8216
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 8216
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: tommyad
Greg, First of all and without question this is a very important contribution to the forum. As Pat says "I simply would not have expected to see something of this caliber on a music hobbyists forum!" I agree with him that lyrics are very sophisticated and metropolitan. What sets this apart is the fact that this could be set in movie right now and it shows the power and potential of BiaB as much as anything ever posted here. Brilliantly written, arranged and sung. Oh yeah the voice-WOW! I hesitate to list any nits as this is just so gorgeous, but here goes. 1.) The drums are too bright 2.) Too much vocal reverb 3) I know this is part of your sound- but I wonder if the vocal was a little less bright, a little less presence, could it retain the intimacy that you capture so eloquently. Again- this is just great as it stands and in no way do I wish to detract from this wonderful piece of art. Bravo!!! Tom


Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
The song is simply spectacular. Classy is
perhaps overly used but that's the word
that best defines it for us. A class production,
vocal and write.


Greg...

Tom & J&B said it already. But I will no doubt repeat much of it.

This is SONGWRITING at the highest level. Not a word, not a syllable out of place. An elegant melody - the perfect match. Gorgeous in every regard.

Originally Posted By: Pat Marr
...the lyrics are so metropolitan and clever...I was going to mention lines I thought were particularly inspired... but when I went back to your lyrics to pick them out, it ended up being all of them!


Ah... what the heck... here are my favorite lines:

"If anyone should ever ask. you can say you knew me when
My star was shining bright, the world was in my hands
My life was filled with wonder, every moment I embraced
Though I fell so far, I tried to fall with grace

But don’t shed no tears for me; It seems I made my choice
Every artist has his fate; I just never found my voice
But as my star was fading, in surrender to the night
You arose to shine a brighter light

   Now I’m alone, on these long afternoons
   And my days in the sun seem as distant as the moon
   I wander the past, and I sift through my regrets
   Through the filter of Scotch and cigarettes

Was there a sign I might have missed? Was it arrogance or pride?
Or how the artist must insist on being true to what’s inside
Or maybe it was destiny and I found my rightful place
Just to shed that light upon your face"


It is too bad Soundcloud doesn't register repeat listens - I added at least 20. I understand that this is inspired by The Artist, but thought your Soundcloud post should have had the "Scotch And Cigarettes" title.

"Through the filter of Scotch and cigarettes"

Man! What a line!

Diana Krall needs to cover this - so that people will search for and find your version.... and marvel...


The orchestration is the best that has ever been put up here. Did you write/create/play the string and horn parts? If not, where did they come from? If so...

The piano sounds great. The drums have a nice snap, a nice presence, perhaps just a touch too much sparkle - other than that, I really like them! which RD?

Your vocal is STUNNINGLY beautiful. I'm not sure the reverb should be "lessened" but there is more high end than it needs. If that were rolled off some, it would still be plenty bright. Like Tom, I do NOT want to take away from how absolutely wonderful the vocal is...

I could sit here and continue spewing superlatives... but I think I'll just go listen another 20 times.

MAJOR Standing O! The jump-outta-your-seat-and-look-around-to-see-everyone-else-agrees-can-you-BELIEVE-this? kind...

floyd

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#271937 - 12/02/14 07:21 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 5616
Loc: South Carolina
Charlie Fogle Online   content
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 5616
Loc: South Carolina
Greg, you've got the experts standing on their heads all the while trying to give this performance a well deserved standing ovation. Not much one can add to that other than to say us little guys are right there with them. I'm sure there are plenty more accolades to come as others listen. Floyd is right, there is no way I can listen to this just once. I've managed to walk away from the computer for a few minutes but keep drifting back and hitting play again.

With the roll out of BIAB 2015, for PGMusic, this song gives them the perfect illustration to showcase their product. This is an absolutely stunning work at every level. Writing, programming, choice of instrumentation, vocals and performance.

You're on notice you've produced a masterpiece, my suggestion is make the small corrections and sit back and enjoy the praise coming your way.

Charlie


Edited by c_fogle (12/02/14 07:24 AM)
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#272077 - 12/03/14 06:10 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [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,

as already said this is a masterpiece. And I'm not the only one who can't stop listening.
Let me quote Charlie: "Make the small corrections and sit back and enjoy the praise coming your way."

Guenter
_________________________
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Latest Song: What You Desire

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#272113 - 12/03/14 08:08 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2610
Loc: South Africa
JoanneCooper Offline
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Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2610
Loc: South Africa
Hi Greg
Wow! This is totally different to anything of yours that I have listened to thus far. I enjoyed it. My only nit and I see that others wont agree but too me there is too much tops or reverb on the vocal. Not too sure which one I would change though. Great job! Greg.

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#272125 - 12/03/14 10:45 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [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,

well, you're definitely in excellent shape with your last two posts!!
A very professional composition, the kind of ballad I like. Very nice classical (popmusic)influences too. The chord on 'sigarets' is so beautiful.

Please keep going at this level!!!

Regards,
Rob
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#272200 - 12/03/14 06:07 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 8800
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 8800
Loc: GA USA
Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy


We just listened again and Janice said it reminded her the early 80's movie themes a la Arthur. Great stuff.

J&B

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#272209 - 12/03/14 07:47 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 4550
Loc: Originally Missouri ... Now Al...
Al-David Offline
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Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 4550
Loc: Originally Missouri ... Now Al...
Hello Greg ...

This will be short and simple, as everything has already been said. This is a wonderful piece of music. Top shelf all the way. Worthy of inclusion in any current movie of the proper context. A helluva lot better than a lot of what we hear behind many movies.

One small nit ... well, more a personal preference, I guess: If it were me (Alan) I would cut back a little on the presence of the track track so we can't occasionally hear you taking in a breath.

We are wowed! Simply fantastic! best to you and good luck with the song ...

Alan & Di
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#272213 - 12/03/14 07:58 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Pat Marr]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Online   content
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Thanks so much for the flattering review. I always loved these type of emotional ballads. I was so inspired by the film that the first part just came pretty quickly. I really appreciate your consistently thoughtful listens and comments. Take care. Greg

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#272215 - 12/03/14 08:00 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: gibson]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Online   content
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Thanks Alyn. Indeed great praise, probably much more than I deserve (but I sure do love it). I always look forward to your posts and am never disappointed. Much appreciate your kind words. Take care. Greg

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#272216 - 12/03/14 08:01 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Guitarhacker]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Online   content
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Thanks so much Herb. A compliment from you always means a lot to me since I know how carefully you listen. Your recent posts have been you best I feel. Keep 'em coming! Take care. Greg

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#272218 - 12/03/14 08:04 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: 90 dB]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Online   content
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Thanks Bob. I do love orchestration. I would like to learn more about it, but I always find the instruments so beautiful. Having a realistic orchestra at your fingertips is one of the great technological breakthroughs for musicians. Thanks again! Take care. Greg

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#272221 - 12/03/14 08:08 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: tommyad]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Online   content
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Thanks so much Tom. Although people on this site may be technically hobbiests (not making a living at music), I believe the talent, of which you are a prime example, is enormous. The program does open a lot of possibilities for a person like me who isn't much of a player. I think all your nits are right on. This was kind of the first mix that captured the song but I plan to tweak it somewhat. Your recent post MORE is still one of the very best I've heard in a long time, here or anywhere else! Take care. Greg

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#272222 - 12/03/14 08:11 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Scotch and Cigarettes [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Online   content
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 5564
Loc: Davis, CA
J and B, thanks so much for the overly kind words! I really appreciate your kindness, and your positive presence on the forum, not to mention the fact that I love your music. Thanks again! Take care. Greg

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