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#767314 06/01/23 06:18 PM
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Hey, all:

Well, here’s something new . . . Carroll Kiphen wrote these lyrics about two years ago. I saw them on another website—really liked them—and did a quick acoustic work tape . . . sans a bridge, which I couldn’t come up with at the time. And then . . . it sat . . . and sat . . . and I’m not sure why.

The work tape popped up on my phone couple of weeks ago and I decided to take another dive into it. For better or worse, this is what I’ve come up with. I’m not sure the production is where it needs to be . . . but I’ve taken it as far as I can go for now. I’m hoping some fresh and friendly ears will help steer me in the right direction.

Hope you enjoy the listen . . . thanks in advance for the feedback. Stay well, all!

Deej

Here’s the song:

SOS

Here are the lyrics:

Solitude is a ghost town
Of haunted nights and dreams
Of endless persecution
From my conscience judging me
Ranting like a madman
Unbridled in his rage
I’m a captive audience
Locked in my own cage

Throw me a rope I think I’m drowning
Can you hear my SOS
Can you give me absolution
If I kneel down and confess
Throw me a rope I’m drowning
Can you hear my SOS

Solitude is a ghost town
Of all that could have been
Of letters filled with love
That I wrote but never sent
Brooding like a poet
Struggling with his soul
I lie here in my coffin
While the dirt fills up the hole

I grip the bars and shake them
They rattle but barely budge
Is it my eternal damnation
To be the sinner and the judge

And here’s the band:

RealTracks 909: Bass, Electric, SmoothPoppy Ev16 090
RealTracks 801: Guitar, Electric, Rhythm SouthernSnappyGritty
RealTracks 3267: Cello, Background CelticAirFlowingNatalie
RealTracks 3299: Guitar, Electric, Rhythm HardRockThrash12-key
RealTracks 3302: Guitar, Electric, Rhythm HardRockThrashHollow12-key
RealTracks 4137: Guitar, Electric, Soloist ProgRockTO Ev 130
RealDrums: AltRockSlowSteady8ths^4

Last edited by Deej56; 06/01/23 06:25 PM.
Deej56 #767320 06/01/23 07:32 PM
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That's a cool one Deej,
I suggest you EQ the guitar that comes in for the chorus a little differently from the one on the right...subtractive rather than adding more...they seem to occupy the same freq ground.
I'd pull the solo down so that it's a match for your vocal before it comes in.
I'd also be inclined to add some grit to the bass in the choruses.
Very cool song, terrific vocal too.


Cheers
rayc
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Deej56 #767326 06/01/23 08:41 PM
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Hi Deej ...

Those are some cool lyrics Carroll wrote! And your interpretation is spot on! As Ray said, a cool song!

Just a couple of things, for what they're worth:

1. The lead guitar is a bit too loud, in my opinion.
2. The short cello break closer to the beginning could a little louder.

Those are simply opinions - ignore if they don't work for you.

All that said, I truly enjoyed the song. Your music always sits nicely in my ears.

Terrific work!

Alan


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Deej56 #767328 06/01/23 09:02 PM
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Dark, gritty, brooding ... excellent. If you want a quibble ... here's one: the arrangement texture seems, at least to my ears, to be too similar, throughout ... you may, perhaps, want to pare it down a little at the beginning, so that it really strikes in the end section, when you go up in register with your voice. But this is based on a first listen, so I may be talking nonsense smile I'll listen again, and amend my feedback if I change my mind! Otherwise, an excellent song.

Deej56 #767347 06/02/23 02:19 AM
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Cool stuff. I wasn't listening to the nits. What caught my attention was how similar it sounds to the chorus of Angel from Montgomery.


Great job on this.


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Deej56 #767349 06/02/23 03:03 AM
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Deej,

What a cool song... Great lyrics and I like the production a lot.

Your vocal though always blows me away. You are one hell of a singer!

Bob

Deej56 #767359 06/02/23 04:31 AM
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Cool song, Deej. Man, I really really enjoy this whole thread. As soon as I read Ray's comments, I thought, Yeah, perfect. It kept going with some outstanding suggestions. I love the songs on this forum and the various styles, but the support from others is outstanding. Good advice here and very giving advisors.

Sorry, that was just an aside cuz I was bubbling over with gratitude. Now, on to the song. I agree with many of the suggestions, especially bringing the solo in volume-line with the vocal. For me it's difficult (prolly impossible) to write a song from lyrics --especially someone else's. You chose an outstanding poem. Carroll Kiphen is very talented. And it is a really good song.

I'd say make the various parts more distinctly different with your mix by adding some dynamic changes (not chord changes, but instrument and/or volume changes) in the arrangement. They're already there; just make them more pronounced or something. HAHA! Yeah, right? For most people that would be like telling a pitcher to just use his other arm if he gets tired. But you'll come up with the perfect solution (if it's actually even necessary).


Enjoy whatever happens!
marty

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Deej56 #767368 06/02/23 06:11 AM
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I enjoyed the lyrics, "Solitude is a ghost town" great line to start and what follows is memorable description of conscience as the judge. The lyrics are turned into another nice rock anthem with catchy sing-a-long chorus.
Very good mix, drums sound powerful and guitars work together very well. Maybe the cello panning distracts little, I was wondering could it be more in the middle or doubled on the other side but I guess those would make the mix more fuzzy.
And of course, the vocal performance is solid and captivating as always.

Janne


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Deej56 #767388 06/02/23 10:57 AM
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Good song good mix great vocal performance. Use of real tracks they fit the style perfectly.
Especially like the strings and the cellos in the mix.
Excellent lyrics Great all around job


Elliott Kayne
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Deej56 #767414 06/02/23 12:54 PM
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Deej, this is a fantastic song.
I agree that the lead guitar is a tad to loud so if you get that guitarist under control the song will be perfect IMHO. That was the only nitpick that I would change. YMMV

Great vocal and lyrics.
Super backing tracks.


Me, it's not about how many times you fail, it's about how many times you get back up.
Cop, that's not how field sobriety tests work.

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Deej56 #767509 06/03/23 09:16 AM
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Deej,

I've heard a BUNCH of good openings lately. This is another.
Excellent BAND. A good BIG cohesive sound.
Excellent vocals.
Good mix.

fj

Deej56 #767510 06/03/23 09:20 AM
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Deej...another super song...lyrically stark and gripping...your voice captures the angst and desperation so well...I love the track but I'm not crazy about the solo for some reason...the style is really you and show off your gifts as a writer, arranger and vocalist.


www.soundclick.com/firesong
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Deej56 #767514 06/03/23 09:52 AM
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Pretty cool song with pretty cool lyrics, I like that.
I don't think the guitar solo really fits the song, either sonically or contextually.
Since it comes right before the last chorus, I would replace it with a sung bridge.

But I like it already as it is now, especially your vocals are really good.


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Deej56 #767539 06/03/23 06:16 PM
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Ray, Alan, James, Herb, Bob, Marty, Janne, Elliott, Mario, Floyd, Dan and B.D.:

First, thanks to all of you above who have listened to the song and provided feedback—I’m so appreciative of how great a forum this is . . . and I’m thankful for the advice of so many outstanding writers, players and arrangers.

Lots of terrific suggestions here . . . which is what I was hoping for. I’ve tried to address many of them, and I’m hopeful it’s a better mix because of it. In the end, though, I’m still an amateur, and I’ll never get it to pop as it should, or at least the way I would like . . . but your guidance gets me a step closer.

A remix of the song is linked above. As for the specific changes, they are addressed below in response to the comments:

3rd Electric, panned right (Ray): I went back in and tried to do exactly what I think Ray has suggested. To my ears, this allowed me to raise the volume of that guitar without making it sound muddy . . . but don’t know. I think it’s better, but will trust you will let me know if otherwise.

Bass (Ray): I upped the volume of the bass guitar in the choruses and the bridge.

Cello (Alan, Janne): I’ve adjusted the volume where I think Alan was referring. Hopefully better. I’ve move the Cello more to center (per Janne), which was where it was originally but somewhere along the line I panned it left. Also hopefully better.

The Arrangement (James, Marty ): I’m hoping some of the changes above will address this a bit. My intent was to have the breaks with the cello serve as the change up (where things quieted down), to be accentuated by the chorus, which should have popped. Perhaps the changes I have made will better serve this intent. That said, I’m not inclined to add anything more instrumentally wise . . . I already cut two guitar tracks to diminish the muddiness, and my fear is adding more will be a detriment. My thought is that if the chorus pops as it should, that should address this . . . whether it does is another question.

Lead Guitar (Ray, Alan, Mario, Dan, and B.D): First off, I’ve lowered the volume, so hopefully to it sits better in the mix now. Please let me know if I need to do more.

Dan and BD: I’m not surprised by your comments about the solo not fitting the tune. Initially, I thought the same . . . and in the beginning it served as just a placeholder. I intended to do a lot more work on the solo and search for alternatives. But a funny thing happened along the way . . it grew on me . . . and so I wanted to see how folks would react to it before changing it out. I’m actually still OK with it as is—though I should be less lazy and at least re-generate the track to comb though possible alternatives . . . just haven’t gotten there yet.

Thanks again all for the comments. Hope you are all safe and well.

Deej

Deej56 #767560 06/04/23 03:10 AM
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So DJ,

I'm interested in how this relationship with Carroll Kiphen worked.

Did you connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook and discuss using one of his lyrics and did you guys become official collaborators on this song by that conversation?

I just took a look and saw that he has stuff on LinkedIn and elsewhere that he's looking for collaborators and I was just wondering how he works with people and what the process is.

Like, did you guys sign off on anything?

The only thing I might add if you are attempting another version of it later is to try and do a live performance standing in front of a microphone with a Telecaster hanging around your neck.

This is the type of song where there has to be a very intimate, struggling, even painful connection between the artist, the instrument, the lyrics and the microphone in order for it to come off sounding "real."

When the chorus kicks in you have to be gunslinging that Tele like your life depended on it.

In this manner of production it sounds a little too much like the singer is forcing some type of emotion against a backing track, whereas for this type of genre and lyric there needs to be an amped up fusion between the "alive"/living/crafted performance and the lyrics to become ultimately convincing, I think.

Just a thought. I am only one listener. The mix sounds fine for a certain genre but I think a few live tracks could wrestle more from it and make it sound less "backing track-y".

Nice job.




Deej56 #767576 06/04/23 05:00 AM
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Hey, David S:

Great question and happy to shed some light on how I work with Carroll and other lyricists, like John Vaughan (who I’ve done a fair number of songs with as well). It’s pretty much the same regardless of who I work with . . . which is to say there’s a fair bit of back and forth before I post anything.

Carroll, like John Vaughan, is strictly a lyricist. I first “met” Carroll through another website, liking a lyric and then reaching out to him to see if he was receptive to my putting it to music. Since then he occasionally emails me lyrics, but sometimes I still stumble across others that he posts. SOS was an example of the latter.

Carroll is fairly prolific and writes more lyrics in a month than I probably write in a year (or two)! And so he's always looking for folks to put his lyrics to music and he has collaborated with a lot of other artist over the years I've known him. My hit rate is pretty low in terms of how often I can actually do something with any lyric that’s sent to me.

The process starts with me putting together a quick and dirty work tape to give Carroll and idea of what I’m thinking--usually just an acoustic guitar/vocal take recorded on my iPhone. I am not an accomplished guitar player—pretty much just an intermediate one . . . so it’s nothing to rave about, but sufficient, I hope, to give Carroll a feel for what I’m shooting for (genre, melody, e.g.).

If we move forward, I share versions of the BIAB song as it develops and ask for any feedback or suggestions. Sometimes, changes to the lyrics are warranted to fit the melody or chord changes, and these are run by my collaborator as well. Obviously, I share final copies (MP3 and WAV) of the songs when complete (which is usually after I receive feedback from this board and make further tweaks). I obtain permission before posting any final version to any streaming service (e.g., Spotify, YouTube, etc.)

As for your comments on my BAIB version of SOS, I totally agree and wish I was a better musician so I could do just that. It would be great if this had a more “live” feel to it. But there’s a reason I use BIAB . . . I simply don’t have the guitar chops/talent to do it myself. And I’m not a performer. My hope is simply to make something that’s respectably listenable and that embodies to some extent what I’d like it to sound like.

And maybe a real artist out there will stumble upon it (much like I stumbled upon Carroll’s lyric) and want to do something far more excellent with it.

Totally appreciate the comment, David. Hope the above regarding the collaboration process was helpful. Thanks much!

Hope all is well in your world,

Deej

Last edited by Deej56; 06/04/23 05:09 AM.
Deej56 #767926 06/08/23 12:19 AM
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Hi DJ
Cool rock song
Sounds very good and is also great implemented with BiaB
Your voice also fits very well
The only thing I would change would be the drums. It sounds a little too electronic. But that's just my opinion ;-)))
Great work
Many greetings
Andi ;-)

Deej56 #768029 06/08/23 08:56 PM
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Deej

I think it sounds really good now - the guitar solo is at a good level and the mix sounds fine.

Really good song and as usual very well sung.

Nicely done.

Peter

Deej56 #768255 06/11/23 10:42 AM
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We didn’t hear it before the changes but we sure like it as is.

We can see why you chose this lyric to develop and imagine Carroll is happy with your resulting song.

Your vocal and the gritty rhythm well support the dark lyric.

All sounds fine to us on the monitors.

Well done!

J&B

Deej56 #768563 06/14/23 03:29 PM
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Deej & Carroll
Powerful stuff. Excellent lyrics and your vocals done justice. I am not sure if I am hearing "adjusted" version or not, but it sounds great and wholesome. Enjoyed it and thank you for sharing.
Misha.

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