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#188215 - 01/03/13 04:25 PM [User Showcase] TOP OF THE GRASS
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 9044
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 9044
Loc: GA USA
TOP OF THE GRASS

Janice and I have played in a blues and several bluegrass bands over the years. There is a lot of similarity in the two from my perspective. The chord structures are simple (and perhaps to some folks too predictable) but the real beauty of this music often lies within starkness of the lyrics.

Song writing is always hard for me but more so with the difficulty of maintaining the simplicity of the lyrics. It’s way too easy to over intellectualize, to preach, to seem overly angst ridden, to be too cute or clever or to write in a stilted manner. On the other hand, it’s equally easy while attempting to be simple to end up writing hackneyed or simplistic lyrics.

My favorite blues and bluegrass writers seem to have an ability to strip out every vestige of window dressing and just leave bare and stark lyrics -- but lyrics that somehow still tell a story, set a mood or encourage the listeners to apply their own imagery. And it way more than the writers being “simple folks” as I’ve had the privilege of talking with a lot of them over the years and getting an understanding of their intellect. Bluegrass can be out of tune hayseed crapola played by folks with absolutely no feel for what they are singing or it can rip the paint right off of your heart. I think blues is similar and I guess that’s why I love them both.

I struggled putting together the RealTracks band as I wanted the song to be all acoustic with no drums and a slow tempo. This eliminated a lot of possibilities with slow blues RealTracks as they are mostly electric - so we had to improvise and throw together some cross genre tracks to, hopefully, set the mood. My wife did her usual one take vocal with no punch-ins (and only shortly after she came up with the melody).

The title was inspired by the term “under the sod” that I read somewhere that was used to describe somebody who had passed on. FWIW, we were attempting to envision a woman whose lover has suddenly reappeared on the scene but we intended to be vague as to why he has been away.

Resophonic Guitar RealTrack 569
The final track is made up of segments of 20+ regenerated tracks. This was tedious but w/o a lead instrument I wanted the fills to be, hopefully, of some interest and complement the vocal.

Bass, Acoustic Jazz Realtrack 769
I used a tempo lower than the recommended range but I really liked the playing and wanted to go with it. It is set to play "in twos" with the "simple" option is checked. Three tracks were spliced up to create the final version.

Guitar Dixieland 1795 and Guitar Jazz 938
These are also a bit out of bounds regarding tempo but I wanted something acoustic to flesh out the rhythm a bit. They are slightly panned left and right.

Vocal: Blue USB mic with pop filter.

Mixing and effects: iMac Garageband

Pardon the ramble! Too rainy to go outside and play!


Edited by Mootsman (01/04/13 09:26 AM)

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#188216 - 01/03/13 04:55 PM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 8444
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 8444
Loc: Florida
Bud,

I like all the stuff you and Janice do, but this one is my favorite so far. Nothing but excellence on all levels. Janice's vocal - stellar as always (one take, really?). The tracks SO live sounding I thought there should be some shoe tapping and knee slapping percussion going on. And those guys low, in the background, saying "Right on... you tell 'em girl..". Really - it sounded THAT live. I could see the players.

Stunning. Go down that path for a while... I think you have a real gift for it...

floyd

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#188217 - 01/03/13 05:07 PM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 06/22/12
Posts: 2868
Loc: Karlsruhe, Germany
boehm Offline
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Registered: 06/22/12
Posts: 2868
Loc: Karlsruhe, Germany
Great voice.
And as Floyd said, real live sounding.

Guenter

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#188218 - 01/03/13 07:50 PM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: boehm]
Registered: 11/25/12
Posts: 126
Loc: Texas
austin51 Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 11/25/12
Posts: 126
Loc: Texas
I agree with those above, very present sound and nice vocal.

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#188219 - 01/04/13 10:01 AM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: austin51]
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 9044
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 9044
Loc: GA USA
Thanks for the remarks! I did try to use sufficient effects to get a live feel to the mix. Probably years of living room picking has influenced my "mixing ears" and may also explain why I have a lot more difficulty in mixing electric instruments.

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#188220 - 01/04/13 10:32 AM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: austin51]
Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2620
Loc: South Africa
JoanneCooper Online   content
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Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2620
Loc: South Africa
I agree with what has been said. Stunning vocals.


Edited by jo131 (01/04/13 10:34 AM)

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#188221 - 01/04/13 03:13 PM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: JoanneCooper]
Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 14097
Loc: Hamlin NY
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 14097
Loc: Hamlin NY
Now this is the blues! Great vox with an outstanding backing track.

This sounds live to me!
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#188222 - 01/04/13 03:47 PM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: MarioD]
Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 89
Loc: Naples FL
pariahdise Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 89
Loc: Naples FL
Very, well done. I could quickly get used to the voice singing this song..
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#188223 - 01/06/13 09:29 AM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: pariahdise]
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 9044
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 9044
Loc: GA USA
Janice wanted me to thank you all for the kind comments regarding her vocals. We haven't played in public in many years so it is really good for her to get good feedback from somebody other than her obviously biased husband. All of our mountain biking friends (mostly half our age) know how good a rider/racer she is but most of them don't even know that she sings!

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#188224 - 01/06/13 04:34 PM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 12/26/11
Posts: 1894
F.M.M. Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/26/11
Posts: 1894
this a great peace guys every thing you guys do is top notch thanks for sharing oh vocals plus 1 and 10 and real tracks
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#188225 - 01/07/13 09:50 PM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: F.M.M.]
Registered: 11/01/00
Posts: 263
Loc: Otter Lake, Michigan
vzudell Offline
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Registered: 11/01/00
Posts: 263
Loc: Otter Lake, Michigan
Oh, for a voice like that!!! She can make that voice do anything and go anywhere and with music like that to plant it on it's nothing short of fabulous. We the listeners, how'd we get so lucky?
Val

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#188226 - 01/07/13 10:41 PM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: vzudell]
Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 4047
Loc: 80 Mi North of Sacramento CA
seeker Offline
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Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 4047
Loc: 80 Mi North of Sacramento CA
Janice, Bud,

Its all been said above.

Thanks for sharing your great works with us all!
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Down The Street vs2015 12-03-2014
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#188227 - 01/07/13 11:44 PM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: seeker]
Registered: 05/30/08
Posts: 4584
Sundance Offline
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Registered: 05/30/08
Posts: 4584
+1 All been said. Very cool Janice and Bud.

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#188228 - 01/16/13 09:16 AM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: Sundance]
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 9044
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 9044
Loc: GA USA
Thanks to my recent great prize from PG Music (complete RealTrack set) I was able to correct a couple of tracks on this tune last night. One of the rhythm guitar tracks and the bass track were about 15% below the recommended tempo. I used them because I really liked the way they worked with the resophonic guitar but I felt like I when I listened to them alone I could hear a very slight unnatural feel - maybe my imagination. Anyhow, having all the Mac RealTracks I was able to find similar tracks that perfectly fit my tempo. It took a while to cut and paste up the new bass track but at least I'll quit worrying about it. Likely not worth another listen but I did want to mention it and thank everybody again for the comments. Now on to the next project!

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#188229 - 01/20/13 03:31 PM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 16597
Loc: Australia
Noel96 Offline
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Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 16597
Loc: Australia
Hi Bud and Janice,

I don't know how I managed to miss this one. It's brilliant. There's something about traditional-styled 12 bar blues that always makes it work when it's in the hands of people who understand the genre and who are as musically outstanding as both of you. Like Floyd, I enjoy every one of your songs but I reckon that this is my favourite. The last line of lyrics was really worth waiting for.

This is top notch from every angle.

All the best,
Noel
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#188230 - 01/21/13 09:22 AM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: Noel96]
Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 1147
Loc: Charlotte, NC
Tano Music Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 1147
Loc: Charlotte, NC
12-bar blues can get awful tired...(usually the same old whining, same stale instrumentation)...but when done like this it shows that it can be highly interesting! And your choice of "band" is real creative. Listen--don't apologize about giving us the "story" behind your song. I never would have understood the reference to the ground without your little anecdote. Also, I think it's instructive and inspirational to hear how folks here have arrived at their creation.
Thanks for this excellent little piece!

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#188231 - 01/28/13 11:20 AM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: Tano Music]
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 9044
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 9044
Loc: GA USA
Thanks very much Noel and Tano Music. It is challenging to make both blues and bluegrass interesting. The chord structures and slight variations of the melodies tend to appear and reappear. But wonderful artists over many years have done incredible work within those parameters. And those are the folks we listen to all the time. My step father played "old timey" string band music in the early 1930's and I can remember when every now and then back in the 1960's he'd get his guitar out and play a few of that genre; however, once in a while he'd pull out his pocket knife and use it as a slide for a bluesy tune. There's a lot blues in bluegrass.

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#188232 - 01/28/13 03:43 PM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 3492
Loc: Sacramento, California
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 3492
Loc: Sacramento, California
As your lyrics goes, "I guess there's no a whole lot left to say."

I appreciate the detailed notes you give on making your tracks.

It was certainly worth another listen!
_________________________
-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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#188233 - 01/28/13 09:13 PM [User Showcase] Re: TOP OF THE GRASS [Re: dcuny]
Registered: 03/18/04
Posts: 6590
Loc: USA
Danny C. Offline
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Registered: 03/18/04
Posts: 6590
Loc: USA
Guys this is about as good as it gets.

Good lyric and a strong performance, now thats a great combination.

Edited Portion: Just heard Carla's got a Cool Tattooand I loved it!

Later,


Edited by Danny C. (01/28/13 09:19 PM)
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