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#299694 - 06/14/15 10:27 PM [User Showcase] NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4750
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4750
Loc: Davis, CA
Hello community members. Here is a song which is unique for me in two ways: 1) I wrote the music and lyrics to the chorus in my head before playing anything or writing it down. I frequently get musical pieces which fall into my mind at random times and maybe a hook line or intro line but this was very different for me. I was driving at night down the California central valley (which defies all of the glamorous notions of California-it is hot, flat, and ugly) and my family was all sleeping. The idea came to me and I chewed on it so that I had a finished chorus in my head by the time we arrived at our motel. 2) This song uses every note of my huge 1.5 octave range (being sarcastic). It is meant for a real singer but I had to give it a shot. Another unusual thing about it is the chorus is LONG, which meant that I had to write the versus quite short and stick with the metaphor throughout. Hope you enjoy it. Comments encouraged and much appreciated!! Take care. Greg

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

TAKE THE WHEEL


Now the shadows have grown longer underneath the setting sun
And I know they’re weighing on your mind
There was a time your faith was stronger, but you’re not the only one
Who ever journeyed without knowin’ what they’d find

From your lonely little window, you see that old car there up on blocks
But you got the means to fix her, and the doors are unlocked

So take your life, take the wheel
Believe in what you think and feel
Fill your soul full of premium ambition
Let your journey start with the road map in your heart
Let your dreams be the key to your ignition
Chase your rainbow, feel the wind blow
Let it carry you away
Down the highway that let’s your spirit thrive
The time is now; here it is baby
Take the wheel and drive

It’s like your trapped beneath the wreckage of some long abandoned dream
And you’ve given up the notion of escape
But the promise of redemption may be closer than it seems
And may be more than worth the chance you’ll have to take

In this vast and wondrous universe, it still remains unclear
If anything exists that’s greater, than what we have right here

So, take your life…..

Your can spend your whole life wrestlin’ with the demons of the past
Or head out on the highway and try to lose them at last

So, take your life…

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#299704 - 06/14/15 11:10 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2471
Loc: South Africa
JoanneCooper Offline
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Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2471
Loc: South Africa
Beautiful beautiful Greg. What a wonderful write. Well I think your voice sounds quite wonderful..don't knock it. I love the message in this song. I keep my iphone handy when I am driving so that I can record ideas while I am on the move.

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#299723 - 06/15/15 04:02 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 4979
Loc: South Carolina
Charlie Fogle Offline
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 4979
Loc: South Carolina
Excellent at every level Greg. I truly enjoyed every second.


Charlie
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#299741 - 06/15/15 06:00 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Charlie Fogle]
Registered: 01/28/12
Posts: 2683
Loc: Murgon Queensland Australia
Rob4580 Offline
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Registered: 01/28/12
Posts: 2683
Loc: Murgon Queensland Australia
Originally Posted By: c_fogle
Excellent at every level Greg. I truly enjoyed every second.


Charlie


I agree with above.
Very pretty tune.
Thanks for sharing.
Rob

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#299742 - 06/15/15 06:01 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [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,

what a beautiful write and melody.
Your voice is great.
Very enjoyable arrangement and mix.
I'm excited.

Guenter
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#299744 - 06/15/15 06:13 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 2988
Loc: Florida
tommyad Offline
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Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 2988
Loc: Florida
Greg, You are at the very top of your game here. Great write, excellent metaphors, super melody. Sung with great skill and the chord progression and arrangement is just outstanding. Love the editing. Those little steel pads before the chorus are perfectly placed and very natural sounding. The organ in the chorus adds to the spiritual feeling and was just right. Really beautiful listen and a great way to start the week. Love it! Tom

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#299755 - 06/15/15 07:37 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 6937
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 6937
Loc: Florida
Greg,

Love this! Beautiful from every angle. Pro at every level.

Stunning production - each part sounding like it meant for the song.
Piano is just right. Steel is perfect. Organ - perfect.

Your best vocals. In the pocket. Oozing feeling. (well recorded)

A gorgeous write. Somewhere right in the middle of Jackson Browne and Don Henley.

Amazing.

floyd
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#299760 - 06/15/15 08:51 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [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
Simply beautiful Greg!
Second best after "How love is supposed to feel" grin
We are very curious to hear about the RT's, especially about the keyboard/synth on the chorus. Or is it Vocals?
Anyway, one of your best!

Regards,
Rob and Anne-Marie
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#299778 - 06/15/15 10:30 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 3073
Loc: wales
gibson Offline
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Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 3073
Loc: wales
Greg,
You too were driving down that long old road!! Sometimes driving is a great space to write songs and your journey produced an absolutely out-standing song.

The others have said it all. Beautiful, beautiful song.

floyd wrote Somewhere right in the middle of Jackson Browne and Don Henley. ABSOLUTELY.

great listen

Alyn
ps My neighbours got to hear this too as I opened the doors and wound it up. No complaints from them, so far laugh
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#299795 - 06/15/15 02:02 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 12041
Loc: Hamlin NY
MarioD Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 12041
Loc: Hamlin NY
I finally got some time to listen to some songs.

I disagree with you in that you are a real singer and an excellent one at that!

I agree with everything that Floyd said, especially his " Beautiful from every angle. Pro at every level." And " A gorgeous write. Somewhere right in the middle of Jackson Browne and Don Henley."

This is your best to date IMHO.
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#299827 - 06/15/15 06:42 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 04/09/07
Posts: 276
PatrickH Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 04/09/07
Posts: 276
So, yesterday opening a neglected how to songwriting book and after an hour or so stopping to digest the chapter on metaphor's. Fast forward to today and your song gives me a great lesson on how to do it correctly. Thanks. Great write and delivery!


Edited by PatrickH (06/15/15 06:44 PM)

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#299857 - 06/16/15 04:14 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 6328
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 6328
Originally Posted By: floyd jane
Greg,

Love this! Beautiful from every angle. Pro at every level.

Stunning production - each part sounding like it meant for the song.
Piano is just right. Steel is perfect. Organ - perfect.

Your best vocals. In the pocket. Oozing feeling. (well recorded)

A gorgeous write. Somewhere right in the middle of Jackson Browne and Don Henley.

Amazing.

floyd



It's not often I quote someone on the comments..... but Floyd nailed this one perfectly.

Loved the chords you used in this... the progression was great. This would be a great one to get into the proper hands.....
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#299910 - 06/16/15 11:09 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Guitarhacker]
Registered: 03/04/07
Posts: 751
Loc: Germany
sinbad Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 03/04/07
Posts: 751
Loc: Germany
I agree with Floyd on this, a great track! And don't make excuses for anything when you present your songs, you don't need to, your vocal fits perfectly.
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#299911 - 06/16/15 11:11 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 7152
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 7152
Loc: GA USA


1.5 octave, 3 octaves....who cares. For us the key is
whether or not the singer has soul. A soulful voice
grabs us from the get go irrespective of the genre.
No soul = no interest for us regardless of the
technical chops. floyd really articulated how
we feel about this song Getting in the middle of
Jackson Browne and Don Henley is a heckuva place
to be. I could live there indeed.

Every major component and every tiny detail just
shines here. This is a great production. The write
is introspective but not overwrought. That's a balance
few have. Outstanding.

J&B
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#299922 - 06/16/15 01:28 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 4815
Loc: North Carolina
David Snyder Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 4815
Loc: North Carolina
Great song Greg. Interesting approach. Writing the chorus first seems to be a darned smart idea, because that is the part we are all working towards. Clever!! smile

I read an interesting chapter in a book recently where Paul Simon described how he made a working style transition in Graceland. Heretofore, he wrote with a guitar in his lap, working on lyrics and music all at once. On Graceland, he just did all the music, first, and when all the music was complete and recorded he went back and wrote lyrics and did the vox.

Interesting. Hmmm..

Well, anyway, great tune and great production man!!!
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#299940 - 06/16/15 04:45 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 1738
Loc: Canyon Lake, TX
Steve Young Offline
Expert

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 1738
Loc: Canyon Lake, TX
Greg,

I totally agree with every good thing said about this one. While I was listening, before reading any of the comments, I kept thinking this has a real Jackson Browne feel to it (and that is a real compliment).

In my opinion, this song is not only one of your best, but one of the best songs I have heard on this forum. I agree with Herb, this one needs to get in the right hands.

Steve
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Music
"In order to compose, all you need to do is remember a tune that nobody else has thought of." - Robert Schumann

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#299961 - 06/16/15 06:14 PM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Greg Johnson]
Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 3147
Loc: Iceland
Icelander Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 3147
Loc: Iceland
After reading your intro for the song, I must admit I wasn't expecting much - you tricked me!! laugh

No seriously, you completely undersold this one. I mean, sure, you could've delegated the singing to some 'pitch perfect' alternate, or even added vocals to the chorus, but I'm telling you - you would have lost more than gained by any such fancy treatments.
This is a fantastic piece, from start to finish, and the hair prickling on my neck & arms is all the testament I need.

Not many songs give this old lump goosebumps, this one does!
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#300035 - 06/17/15 10:56 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: JoanneCooper]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4750
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4750
Loc: Davis, CA
THanks so much Joanne!! Really appreciate your support and kind words. Congrats on the completion of your collab project-very cool indeed! Take care. Greg

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#300036 - 06/17/15 10:57 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: Charlie Fogle]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4750
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4750
Loc: Davis, CA
Thanks Charlie and Bob. Your nice compliment means a lot to me. Always appreciate hearing posts from you guys! Take care. Greg

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#300037 - 06/17/15 10:58 AM [User Showcase] Re: NEW SONG POST: Take the Wheel [Re: boehm]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4750
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 4750
Loc: Davis, CA
Thanks so much Guenter. I really appreciate your support. You are doing some incredibly creative stuff!! Take care. Greg

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