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Ok, I think this is getting close enough.

https://soundcloud.com/phil-leith/cast-the-first-stone

Wrote the song a couple of months ago. I had the idea, ie, the first line of the chorus and its short melody snippet … for quite a while. Had a conversation with a friend about life and understanding and giving people a pass for some of their failures … which inspired me to really try to flesh the idea out, and this is what came of it.

Some of the cymbal crashes I added from wav files I have because … sometimes BIAB just doesn't have good crashes.

****** Song Summary *************
Title: Cast the First Stone
File:Cast the First Stone.SGU
Key=D , Tempo 90, Length (m:s)=4:29
No intro. 99 bar chorus, from bar 1 to bar 99. Repeat x1 chorus
No Melody
Soloist track has 812 notes, Soloist harmony is < no harmony >(0)
Song is saved with Volume, Pan, Reverb, Chorus, Bank0,
Style is _GETAMP.STY (Ev Pop Country w Amplitube Solo)

RealTracks in style: 366:Bass, Electric, Country Ev 065
RealTracks in style: 2829:Guitar, Electric, Soloist CountryPopBrent12-key Ev 085
RealTracks in style: ~362:Guitar, Acoustic, Strumming Ev 085
RealTracks in style: ~365:Guitar, Acoustic, Fingerpicking Ev 085
RealTracks in song: 2690:Guitar, Electric, Soloist Slow16thsPopBrentSimple Ev16 075
RealDrums in Song: CountryPopBallad^01-a:Kick, HiHat , b:Snare, HiHat

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Really nice work here, Phil smile I love the progressions, and your voice is sincere and heartfelt on this. A really smooth and catchy chorus as well. The harmonies are flawless.

You should be proud of this one! Thanks for sharing smile


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Deryk
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Thanks, Deryk. Always nice to hear someone likes your creation :-)

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Excellent song, great message with beautiful music.!!

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This is and excellent song. Super vocal and backtrack. Guitar was excellent


Scott Collingwood
https://soundcloud.com/scottt709
https://soundcloud.com/spiritlevel-ca
https://www.youtube.com/@SpiritLevel-ge3hm/
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Beautiful harmonies. Not only do I like the chorus, but I also like the bridge. Great theme and lyrics.

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Phil,

This is excellent. Love the vocal and production.

Much enjoyed!

Bob

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Thanks, people. You never know how these are going to go over. I mean I like it … it's an honor to hear compliments from this community.

There are some minor adjustments I will probably (definitely) go back and make... a lot of the cymbals stand out a bit too much, there's an overenunciation in one spot, and underenunciation in another … and a couple other weak spots in the vocals.

The harmonies are good, but not quite where I want them to be. Anybody else have trouble getting these right? I kinda don't know what I'm doing, I'm just going off of "feel" from listening to lots of music all my life.

My process is basically, write the song with my guitar, get a BIAB backing track that will do for now, record some vocals, and listen to it a lot over the next few days. Then I get better ideas how I want it to sound in certain places … awkward lines that need to be smoothed out, better phrasings, melody tweaks.

Originally this song's verses all went like the first one, melodically (and I even threw an extra note into IT right before I published it) … but I ended up singing the verses to one of the harmony lines instead of the original melody line because … well it was boring.

I liked what it did. It really opened the song up. I've never quite "let loose" this much on a vocal (still getting used to thinking of myself as a singer).

About halfway through the process, it went from being a purely acoustic song to adding the lead electric guitar. Before that it sounded more like an old church hymn from the 1970's. The electric guitar gave it more energy. But the drums were still basically a simple brush style, and I needed "drummier" drums. I found this RealDrums track and tossed it in.

I added some cymbal crashes I have recorded. Like I said I think they're a bit strong in the mix at the moment. See, every time I make some changes I listen to it for a day or two and pinpoint things I think could be better, and I'm not QUITE done with it yet.

I tend to just replace the song as I go along with the new changes so the original link always gets you to the latest version of the song. It won't change much. Most of your average listeners probably wouldn't notice what I will do. They may notice that it sounds "better" but won't know why. But a lot of you would know.

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Excellent song! I agree - the harmonies are a particularly lovely part of the song.

If you're not looking for feedback, please skip this next bit - I couldn't resist, but I probably should have. wink

I think it would be good to remove a lot of the electric guitar bits - to my ears they seem to come in fairly randomly. For example, the fill at 0:31 doesn't seem necessary - better to wait until 0:34 before coming in again. Same thing with the lick at 0:39 - it just makes the background busy. The lick at 2:14 collides with the kick drum which is setting up a different feel for bridge. Less is more, and all that.

Similarly, I think you could drop a few cymbal crashes without much damage. The drum fill at 3:19 also seems out of place. I hear what you're doing, but think playing straight through would work better.

I also think the song could safely end at 3:55 - it's got that cool harmony bit, and I was a bit surprised to hear another go-round on the verse after that.

Standard caveats apply - my advice is worth less than half of what you paid for it, apply huge grain of salt, and so on.

These are all nits - I listened to the song a number of times, and enjoyed it very much each time. Nice work! laugh


-- 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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Feedback is fine, and you're probably right.

The way I do that is I generate a whole solo through the entire song and then chop it up and bring them in when I think they sound good.

To be frank, I am not completely happy with the solo track in the first place as generated, but it was close to what I was looking for. It's a little too dull. I'd also like something a little more attention grabbing at the beginning, but not TOO much … as I like to kind of "build" a song up as it plays. Especially one like this that's kind of a slow power-ballad.

So yeah, thanks, I'll go back and give it a listen … I might completely agree.

Who knows, I may generate a whole new one. It's going to go on my CD, so I want it to sound as good as I can get it to sound. Well without spending my entire life on it, I've got other songs to finish! :-D

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You know, Dave, you are right about the length as well. It could stand to be shorter, I knew that as soon as I saw the rendered length. I had thrown that last bit in since the instrumentation went on and I kind of felt we needed a little vocal to come down off of that. I'll go back to that spot and see what I think.

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Excellent work...completely enjoyed it.
Love the song idea and the lyric 'hook'.
Agree with you on BIAB cymbal 'hits'...I usually have to look elsewhere for the ones I like.
I also agree with David that the song, on its own, is strong and probably doesn't need some of the accoutrements you've added--to an 'outsider's' ear, I think you could simplify the arrangement a bit.

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Right on Phil! Great message and a great job putting it all together! Good job with the vocal! Thanks, Torrey




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It's a lovely sentiment and sweetly expressed but I agree with David C about the length and guitar licks. I have a RealPak of Brent licks and, to be honest, I struggle to find somewhere to put them. Something about their tone doesn't mix well.


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rayc
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Thanks for the feedback.

I'm going to try to rework this a bit. Speed it up by about 5bpm, and go back and re-do all the vocals. For all the compliments on the harmonies there are places where they're not up to the tightness I want. And I'm kind of a trial and error guy when it comes to these things. I'm not kidding when I say I really don't know what I'm doing, I just know what I like when I hear it.

I like a lot of the Brent licks... and I haven't found anything else that comes close to what I'm looking for. I really did want something a little gritty to contrast with the syrupy sweetness of the rest of it. Kind of like hops in beer, or sour in "sweet and sour", tannins in red wine. Something to make it sound a little less like a church hymn and more like a pop-ish song.

I hate to go back to the "Dire" licks I used on "Alive", but that's the only other thing I've heard that comes close.

I did, last night, regenerate some of the Brent stuff but it was WAYYYYY over the top. That being said, the stage is set for a re-do.

This is what the listening to it over and over for days is for. Figure out what I like and don't like and what I'd do differently.

Thanks again, I'll let you know when I have whatever it is I come up with.

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Originally Posted By: Phil Leith
I like a lot of the Brent licks... and I haven't found anything else that comes close to what I'm looking for. I really did want something a little gritty to contrast with the syrupy sweetness of the rest of it.

Maybe there's someone on the forum that could contribute the guitar part? There are some excellent guitarist hanging around here. laugh


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Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Not a new idea but obviously one that we all need frequent reminding of. This is really well done!! The music is so pleasant (great band, great melody) and the vocal is really good too! It is just so easy to listen to. Excellent job with everything Phil!! Take care. Greg

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There are some things about the Brent Solo I like, for sure... a few select parts I really really like.

I am still working on a slightly sped up version where I redo all the vocals, but the lead I recorded Monday just didn't have the zing … it's a lot more work than I thought but I haven't given up on it.

So tonight I went back and cleaned up some of the bits of the vocals that were bothering me on the original 90 bpm version, and I took out *a few* of the Brent bits, but I really like the energy it adds.

Also took out the "refrain reprise", I agree, it was overkill. I thought it needed something like that (if I could play what I had sung on the guitar, it would have been better, but I can't). So I just let Brent play it out and it's not bad, really.

I think it's better.

Still eying my version I'm speeding up by about 5bpm, but … I don't know if I can beat the lead vocal on this 90bpm version. I'll try to match it. If I can't … this one'll have to do.

Last edited by Phil Leith; 09/19/18 04:41 PM.
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Originally Posted By: Greg Johnson
Not a new idea but obviously one that we all need frequent reminding of. This is really well done!! The music is so pleasant (great band, great melody) and the vocal is really good too! It is just so easy to listen to. Excellent job with everything Phil!! Take care. Greg


I used to work with a really cool guy named Greg Johnson here at Mizzou. He was also a musician. You wouldn't happen to be THAT Greg Johnson, would you?

Just a stab in the dark.

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You know, it's true. It is definitely NOT a new idea. But a lot of good ideas are very old. Often, the very best ideas are very old, because they are universal truths. And sometimes you just want to re-iterate them in your own way. Or hear them re-iterated from someone else's perspective.

I find as I get older that we have so much in common in the human experience, and I think the best song writing strikes a chord in one or more or those experiences with a lot of people. It's not necessarily about coming up with new ideas, but about expressing them in different ways, in our own voices.

Everything is new, and nothing is new. At the same time.

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