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!