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#598071 - 05/18/20 09:41 PM [User Showcase] If Only
Registered: 04/23/18
Posts: 1090
Loc: Mill Valley, California USA
Deej56 Offline
Expert

Registered: 04/23/18
Posts: 1090
Loc: Mill Valley, California USA
Hi, all:

I hope everyone is doing well and keeping safe. John Vaughan had sent me the original lyrics to this song almost two months back now, when things just started getting strange . . . and I had been lingering on it. Mostly because in our current environment it seemed, well, just a little too sad, and it was admittedly hard to muster the motivation. I finally turned back to it. I’ve revised the lyrics some degree to fit the melody, but John’s vision remains: the loneliness of separation in these not so bright times. I hope what we've done works, and that you enjoy your listen. Best and safest wishes to all of you!

Deej

Here’s the song:

IF ONLY

Here are the lyrics:

All the streets were bare—
the silence filled the air,
as I walked through
the places you and I once knew.
And you were everywhere . . .
A ghost under the lights
that lined these roads,
and dark apartments, row by row.

If I could only walk with you
hand in hand again,
by a river, by a stream,
in a park, not just a dream.
If I could only be with you
on some warm summer night
drinking wine and dancing
to the rhythm of life—
How good it would be
just you and me . . .
If only.

What's Armaggeddon?
The road they say we’re heading
down to the end,
with no cure for our suffering.
I'd risk it all to hold you tight,
to have you by my side tonight—
anything it takes I’d sacrifice.

If I could only walk with you
hand in hand again,
by a river, by a stream,
in a park, not just a dream.
If I could only be with you
on some warm summer night
drinking wine and dancing
to the rhythm of life—
How good it would be
just you and me . . .
If only.

And the churches in defiance,
from the altars old hymns play.
And they float upon the desperate wind
then the echoes fade away.
And they all hold as much promise as
the helpless words they pray—
If they ever see the light of day,
who’ll listen anyway?

I reached home like before . . .
I didn’t even lock my door—
there’s nobody out there,
and I’m past the point that I care.
So I’m sitting here needing you
and there’s not a damn thing I can do—
You’re too far away—
I’m stuck here and you’re too far away . . .

If I could only walk with you
hand in hand again,
by a river, by a stream,
in a park, not just a dream.
If I could only be with you
on some warm summer night
drinking wine and dancing
to the rhythm of life—
How good it would be
just you and me . . .
If only.

And here's the band:

RealTracks: 1036, Bass, Electric, NorthernRockBallad Ev 065
RealTracks: 3267, Cello, Background CelticAirFlowingNatalie Ev 085
RealTracks: 3541, Guitar, Acoustic, Rhythm, ClassicRockSlowFinger Strum
RealTracks: 1038, Guitar, High-Strung Acoustic, Rhythm NorthernRockBallad Ev 065
RealTracks: 835, Guitar, Electric, Rhythm
RealTracks: 1767, Piano, Acoustic, Rhythm Pop16 Ev16 085
RealTracks: 2692, Organ, Rhythm Modern Pop Slow
RealTracks: Mix of Backing Vocals (Oohs, Aahs, and Mmms)
RealDrums: PopRock16ths^05-a:Brushes, b:Snare, HiHat


Edited by Deej56 (05/18/20 09:53 PM)

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#598074 - 05/18/20 11:28 PM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 05/05/18
Posts: 1183
Loc: United Kingdom
musician17 Offline
Expert

Registered: 05/05/18
Posts: 1183
Loc: United Kingdom
Ok, just listened to it twice through - here is my first reaction and here are my first impressions:

1) I want to start by mentioning the lyrics, first of all. Mr Vaughan has nailed this one. Extraordinary lyrics which were, it feels, just begging for someone to write a melody to them, as you have done. Congratulations to him - they read just incredible.

2) THIS is what you are best at. Writing songs with pure raw emotion in them, that touch the heart because the writing drips with sincerity. You seem (if you'll allow me this comment) to write from what you know, you certainly emotionally invest yourself in every note and THAT's what sets you apart, both as a singer and as a songwriter, from so many singers and songwriters that sing and write as if they're singing and writing about events in yesterday's newspaper! ;-) I don't want to overflow with praise, but you ARE a world-class songwriter and your singing is also in that category due to the sincerity you exude.

3) As for this song itself: this is a slow (ish), downtempo song that is so understated, so calm ... you seem to just present the story to the listener and let him or her make their own mind up as to the story you are telling them. One that I shall be listening to more than just the one time - and easily, already (to my mind) one of your best - if only because of the understated yet entirely heartfelt way you present it in. No fancy chords, no crazy modulations, no artificial effects, etc. etc. etc. ... just a story, extraordinarily written by Mr Vaughan, beautifully, sincerely, simply presented by yourself.

Congratulations to both of you - great stuff.
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#598076 - 05/18/20 11:42 PM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 5532
Loc: Originally Missouri ... Now Al...
Al-David Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 5532
Loc: Originally Missouri ... Now Al...
Hi DeeJ ...

Well, James beat me to the punch as I was listening for the 2nd time. I agree with all he said.

I hear a little Tommy Shaw (lead guitarist for Styx) in your vocal delivery. Your voice is a little more edgy than his (and in a great way!) but for, a heard a felt that influence.

My favorites lines:

Drinking wine and dancing
to the rhythm of life—
How good it would be
just you and me . . .
If only.

As simple as they are, those lines blew me away. I don't know if those were originally yours or John's but, either way, they're killer for me. This has a great, passionate delivery that you are so good at. It's my favorite from you so far. Congrats to both of you! Wishing you the best and be safe ...

Alan


Edited by Al-David (05/18/20 11:43 PM)
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#598095 - 05/19/20 05:07 AM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 04/13/16
Posts: 3395
Loc: Cooran Queensland Australia
rayc Offline
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Registered: 04/13/16
Posts: 3395
Loc: Cooran Queensland Australia
Super stuff.
Almost everything clicks ad makes this a strong, sad, emotive piece.
The only hold backs I can hear are
1. the room sound on your voice - the band sounds lush and together but your voice seems to be from down the hall. If you add a common reverb to the band and your voice you might be able to use the sound to your advantage.
2. The click of the kick really doesn't suit the sound of the rest...it's not easy to find a kit in REALDRUMS that doesn't click. It may be that, if you're not inclined to EQ it you could avoid it with a midi kit.
Lovely song.
_________________________
Cheers
rayc
"What's so funny about peace, love & understanding?" - N.Lowe
Pop on over to The Recording Rebels for positive, honest commentary, critiques and support. https://therecordingrebels.com

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#598110 - 05/19/20 05:49 AM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 13675
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
VideoTrack Offline
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Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 13675
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I like the phrasing, and I really like where the vocal sits.

This is neat.

The cello embellishes just perfectly. The build works so well.

Really well done.
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#598119 - 05/19/20 06:35 AM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 09/30/16
Posts: 1235
Loc: Netherlands, Haarlem
Birchwood Offline
Expert

Registered: 09/30/16
Posts: 1235
Loc: Netherlands, Haarlem
Hello Deej,

What a good expression of pain and sorrow! I listened several times to it. I really like that emotion in your singing.
There is one danger in liking your songs: a depression lurks around the corner then, , were it not that it is sung so beautifully. that compensates that danger a lot ;-)
You can really be proud of yourself with this one. Oh, and don't forget the very nice lyrics from John Vaughan. He sure knows how to write.

Stay safe,
Hans
_________________________
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(Birchwood)
https://soundcloud.com/user-296497130

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#598130 - 05/19/20 07:32 AM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: VideoTrack]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9549
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9549
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: VideoTrack
I like the phrasing, and I really like where the vocal sits.

The cello embellishes just perfectly. The build works so well.


I agree with Trev on these observations. And the acoustic guitar works nicely, too...

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#598132 - 05/19/20 07:40 AM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 16149
Loc: Hamlin NY
MarioD Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 16149
Loc: Hamlin NY
Deej, this is absolutely fantastic. Your vocal was super, I could feel the pain in your voice! John wrote some fantastic lyrics but you brought them to life!

Your backing track and mix were spot on.

When I first started to listen the first artist that came to mind was John Prine. I could see him singing this song.
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#598378 - 05/21/20 08:25 AM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 05/27/19
Posts: 1255
Loc: Dallas, PA, USA
BabuMusic Online   content
Expert

Registered: 05/27/19
Posts: 1255
Loc: Dallas, PA, USA
Oh, man, you have the perfect voice, Deej. I really like the way you built this song. God, this song is so sad. John really packed the lyrics with such strong emotions, and you brought them to life. Great work.
_________________________
Enjoy whatever happens!
marty

Babu Music on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLDrsXTXfShgnGalQZ0ElQw
Me on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/marty-straub

My website: http://martystraub.com/

using Band in a Box, Reaper & Cakewalk

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#598431 - 05/21/20 03:07 PM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 06/09/16
Posts: 3128
Robertkc Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/09/16
Posts: 3128
Deej,
Your emotion packed delivery is the highlight of this for me.The cello and simple build to the arrangement works very well; nothing detracts from the attention your voice commands..
which sits nicely in the mix (I agree with RayC that the vocals don`t gel completely with the instruments as far as reverb goes).
Very, very good!

Robert

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#598449 - 05/21/20 06:07 PM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 3477
Loc: Florida
tommyad Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 3477
Loc: Florida
Deej, Your voice slays me. So emotionally powerful. The cello works well and John's lyrics are great. I also agree with RayC's comment on the vocal sounding down the hall. I would have preferred a more in your face slightly processed vocal. This is subjective and certainly can't take away from a killer final product. Well done both of you, Tom

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#598855 - 05/24/20 04:19 PM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 1394
Loc: Maryland
TuneMonger Offline
Expert

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 1394
Loc: Maryland
Excellent song with good words, sung by a voice that rips your heart out. Listened to it multiple times. Great work!
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#599096 - 05/26/20 06:26 AM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 10812
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 10812
Loc: GA USA
Melancholy to the max but extremely well written.

And your emotion packed vocal powerfully delivers that lyric
along with the great melody.

The production is spot on with a great selection of
RT's. Janice mentioned how well the organ works. Sometimes
organ RT's are "just there" but this one adds a lot.

Kudos to you both!

J&B
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J&B YouTube
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#599138 - 05/26/20 12:06 PM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 12/08/11
Posts: 6031
Loc: Edmonton, Ab, Canada
Scott C Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/08/11
Posts: 6031
Loc: Edmonton, Ab, Canada
This is an excellent song. Perfect backtrack for an excellent lyric. Just loved your vocal. Well done

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#599178 - 05/26/20 03:32 PM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 6361
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 6361
Loc: Davis, CA
Really well done song!! The lyrics are really compelling, and you created a melody which matches them perfectly!! Always love your vocals!! Enjoyed this a LOT!!! Take care. Greg

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#599196 - 05/26/20 04:36 PM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 12/06/03
Posts: 4390
Loc: Sydney Australia
PeterF Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 12/06/03
Posts: 4390
Loc: Sydney Australia
Top notch song - lovely vocal, very emotive and complements the strong lyric.

Band sounds really good and the song has a lovely melody.

Nicely done.

Peter

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#599214 - 05/26/20 06:47 PM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 04/23/18
Posts: 1090
Loc: Mill Valley, California USA
Deej56 Offline
Expert

Registered: 04/23/18
Posts: 1090
Loc: Mill Valley, California USA
James, Alan, rayc, VideoTrack, Hans, Floyd, MarioD, Marty, Robert, Tom, TuneMonger, J&B, Scott, Greg, and Peter:

Thanks to you all for the listen and kind comments and feedback. As I said, it was a tough one to “get up” for doing given it’s sad lyric and feel, but I’m happy it has seemed to resonate. A few responses to come of the feedback:

rayc, Robert, and Tom: My biggest concern was whether the vocal sat well enough in the mix—though I had made adjustments even before posting. I suspect the best answer would be to record the vocal again in a different space, but have given it another go in a revised version. I’ve updated the link above. Perhaps better, but still not perfect? I’ll leave that to your ears. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback.

Mario: If only John Prine were still around to sing it! Another sad outcome of our current crisis.

Jancie & Bud: The organ is my favorite part of the song. I had ambitions of using the Gospel backing vocals in the bridge as well, which I thought would be a good combination, but it just wasn’t working out well, so went with a more standard mix of oohs and aahs. Thanks for noticing!

My best to you all! Keep well, stay safe!

Deej

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#599238 - 05/26/20 07:42 PM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 723
Loc: Virginia
Belladonna Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 723
Loc: Virginia
Really some thoughtful introspective lyrics very emotionally delivered. Nice collaboration.

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#599504 - 05/28/20 09:43 AM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Deej56]
Registered: 06/09/16
Posts: 3128
Robertkc Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/09/16
Posts: 3128
Deej,
The revised mix on your vocal sounds better to me; this is a very a fine song!

Robert

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#599713 - 05/29/20 02:46 PM [User Showcase] Re: If Only [Re: Belladonna]
Registered: 04/23/18
Posts: 1090
Loc: Mill Valley, California USA
Deej56 Offline
Expert

Registered: 04/23/18
Posts: 1090
Loc: Mill Valley, California USA
Belladonna,

Thanks much for giving this a spin--happy it worked for you.

Regards,

Deej

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