34 posts in this topic

This is my attempt at a protest song.  There are plans to establish a wind farm just to the west of where we live.  The closest 300-450 ft tall windmill will be 2,000 ft from our front door.  To the west have you, so every evening our beautiful sunsets will be ruined by ugliness and the pulsating shadows cast by the blades as they pass in front of the sun.        that's the why

 

Song-wise - I paid attention to the distance of the microphone, shaka distance from my mouth for the vocal, about 3 ft back for the guitar.  I paid attention to the level setting before and during adding the eq, compression and reverb to try and keep it level and not over blown.  So this is first posted take, there were others while trying to develop the idea.  The few strums at the beginning were only thought of this morning.

 

If you comment that I need to add drums or bass or violin, I'll kick your ass. 

 

 

 

Eagle Center

 

Was a place locals called Eagle Center
A place tourists called "where is that"
Where a father would lift up his young'n
So the young'n would know where he's at

 

Was a horse that kicked nails out of fences
A dog prowled 'round like a cat
Was a young lady high on her honey
But her honey didn't mind much of that

 

Good-bye sunset
Good-bye evening breeze
Good-bye beautiful wonder
Good-bye home of my dreams

 

The sheriff did never come 'round there
'cause the people would tend to themselves
Good folk who worked for their money
But the money wasn't part of their wealth

 

Was a place in Black Hawk county
Northeast up Iowa way
The fields there always lay sunny
'Til the wind came and blew them away

 

Good-bye sunset
Good-bye evening breeze
Good-bye beautiful wonder
Good-bye home of my dreams

 

With an acre of greed
And a landowners deed
And a spade full of fanciful lies
The blade of the mill
Kept spinning until
Eagle Center died

 

Good-bye sunset
Good-bye evening breeze
Good-bye beautiful wonder
Good-bye home of my dreams

 

Was a place locals called Eagle Center
A place tourists called "where is that"
Where a father would lift up his young'n
So the young'n would know where he's at

 

Good-bye sunset
Good-bye breeze
Good-bye wonder
Good-bye dream

Edited by McnaughtonPark
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McP - this is a nice chilled out track. Not normally my cup of tea, but I found I actually liked this. The guitar sounded really nice, although you could look to double it, or add something to give it a more full warmer feeling. Loved the little bit at the start, it sounded perfect. Your vocals and melody were nice as well, although some of the vocals need tweaked slightly, did you sing this in one go?

Are you really not wanting to add anything else to this? I am hearing a nice pad or strings sound rising and falling in the background, or you go try a counter guitar melody to add a little something. I don't mind acoustic songs, but tend not to listen to them a lot.

The subject is a good one and something that is very much in vogue at the moment, even over here and they seem to work well with this style of song.

My only really nit is that there isn't much change going on in the song, the chorus and verses seem similar with just a slight change in melody and chord. You could try doing a harmonic vocal over the chorus to show the change in the song. Again, not normally my style, so find it difficult to critique a song style I don't normally listen to.

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Really nice tone to your voice... which also tells me that you can get good quality recordings. Your vocal recording seems very good to me, although some of your P's pop a bit... you used a pop screen?

 

The guitar sounds slightly distant to me... I don't think it's just the volume level, I think it's recorded a bit far from the mic maybe. 

 

I'm far from being an expert on 1+1 recording (or any), so you'll hopefully get better feedback.

 

I thought the song sounded nice. I didn't count time but I felt like maybe it raced a bit sometimes... and like your playing could relax a bit, it sounded busy, I almost felt out of breath listening, which is a contrast to your relaxed vocal.

 

The melody was nice. 

 

I think you could use a short break before verse 3 (the verse after the chorus), and in other places... again it's a relaxed vocal but the rhythm and the songs structure don't stop for breath...

 

I think the main thing I'd critique is the lack of difference between verse and chorus on the guitar. You pull it off maybe because the vocal melody works for a chorus, but unless you make a more drastic change I think more dynamics are needed to set the parts apart... e.g attack the chorus more, vocally and on guitar, then go all soft when the sheriff verse starts... or vice versa maybe, or add something to the progression in a break... one way or another, it could use separation like that or else it rambles a bit.

Edited by MonoStone
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Great song, McnaughtonPark! I really enjoyed listening to it but I don't like the fact that it's based on a true story, because it makes me sad for your family and your community. 

 

I like the way you sang, "Eagle Center...died," it packed a serious punch!

 

For the last line, "Good-bye dream," I wanted to hear you sing that a little slower: something similar in nature to "Eagle Center...died." But that's just my opinion :)

 

Wonderful song,

 

Ken

 

Edited by ImKeN
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Hey Richard, thanks for the listen.  The guitar track was one take and the vocal track was one take since I only have one mic.  I do notice the vocal off key but I don't have auto tune, don't know what to do about that other than rerecord the whole track.  I don't do good at cutting and pasting and all that loop stuff.  All my songs on SoundCloud are pretty much one takes,  I'm sure it's obvious, since every one of them has a mistake somewhere.

 

i don't know how to add midi instruments.  I have never used them.  If I ever have drums in a song, they come off the keyboard presets, I just hit play and the same drum track plays all the way through, kind of sucks.  I have added keys before but I play them and record them as track 3.

 

i did my level best to add change, six chords.  But I realize there isn't much of a dynamic change in how they sound or where the melody goes.  I suck at melodies.  My last song, Bang-Bang only had two chords, lol, I'm growing.

 

im glad you listened even tho you normally wouldn't, this is kind of my groove.

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Hey Dek,  thanks for the listen.

 

i do use a pop filter but in the past have noticed I really need to focus on the plosives more.  That escaped me this morning.

 

the distance of the guitar was a guess.  I watched the meter and tried to listen and find the right distance but I finally just had to pick a place.  I'll definitely try moving closer.  

 

I see see what you mean about letting it breathe more, I agree.  I'll have to find a way to open it up a bit there.  I will try some more takes on it.

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Thank Ken,  I like the idea of closing it the way you suggest. I need to stay on the closing m sound like I'm humming it to the end.

 

appreciate the listen and comments

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35 minutes ago, McnaughtonPark said:

Hey Richard, thanks for the listen.  The guitar track was one take and the vocal track was one take since I only have one mic.  I do notice the vocal off key but I don't have auto tune, don't know what to do about that other than rerecord the whole track.  I don't do good at cutting and pasting and all that loop stuff.  All my songs on SoundCloud are pretty much one takes,  I'm sure it's obvious, since every one of them has a mistake somewhere.

 

i don't know how to add midi instruments.  I have never used them.  If I ever have drums in a song, they come off the keyboard presets, I just hit play and the same drum track plays all the way through, kind of sucks.  I have added keys before but I play them and record them as track 3.

 

i did my level best to add change, six chords.  But I realize there isn't much of a dynamic change in how they sound or where the melody goes.  I suck at melodies.  My last song, Bang-Bang only had two chords, lol, I'm growing.

 

im glad you listened even tho you normally wouldn't, this is kind of my groove.

 

Which DAW are you using? I think doing it one take is a good idea the get the structure and idea down, but if you use a DAW, I would use that first take as a guide, break down each individual part and play that in on a separate track till you get the take you are happy with. This can then either be copy and pasted into the correct parts of the song, or you can do each bit (in 4, 8, 16 bars depending on how you are doing it) till you have the song sounding the way you want. Any change in volume can be fixed afterwards by volume automation.

The vocals can be done the same way. Most DAW's will have some kind of pitch correction built in. You can do this manually or get the DAW to do this automatically.

if you are using Pro-Tools I can understand your pain when it comes to recording midi, I hated it and went back to Logic. There are lots of videos out there that show you how to do it, but I found PT's to be more of a pain than the others. Logic and Reason are fairly easy to do midi, but I don't know about any others.

As for drums, as I've said before I use Logic's drummer and change it up a bit for verse/chorus/bridge and you can get it to follow parts of the song (e.g. Bass) the way a drummer might.

As I said it is a nice song, that you could do a lot with.

Edited by Richard Tracey
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When I bought the audio interface it came with a stripped down version of pro tools.  I didn't get all of pro tools 8 so some of the functionality is not available to me.  But, I've never even tried to see how to add midi sounds.  Some of my favorite concerts or shows have been with only the musician and his or her guitar or piano.  Don't get me wrong, I like bands and all the instruments but I'd choose a solo performer in a live setting.  I am quite drawn to the honesty of the setting.  

 

But honestly, I'm not sure I'm creative enough to handle all the instrumentation that some people do.  Don't know how you guys can stick with it for so long.  

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Good tune Tom. The one main thing that stood out is when the chorus starts, it sounds a little too similar to the verses guitar-wise and for protesting, it . The guitar change in the 3rd line of the chorus is good and I'd be interested to hear how it sounded if you did that on the first line, then maybe go somewhere else with it on the 3rd line. The other thing that stood out to me was lyrically. 

 

Where a father would lift up his young'n
So the young'n would know where he's at

 

It does work, but when I think of a dad lifting his kid up, it's to help him see. So naturally I wanted it to say "So the young'n could see where he's at."

 

Aside from those two things I really liked it and think this came out nicely. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I do like the tone of your voice.

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Hey Randy, thanks for the listen and comment.  You hit on one of the issues I was having in the lyric.  Was I going to use raise/see, lift/see, raise/know, or lift/know?  If I used lift/see it would be obvious what I meant, or raise/see, they both give the image of enabling the young'n to see better.  If I use lift/know or raise/know, well that kind of complicated it.  I could still use it, but it wasn't as clear.  Raise him to know where he was made better sense.  In the end, I chose the worst combination as far as being clear, lift/know all because I liked the vowels better. 

 

That wasn't my only issue with the lyric, but one I spent time on and made the decision by singing it.  See makes better sense though, I agree.

 

My chord choices suck don't they.  Even when I go from Dm to G I don't get the pop and I think that has to do with the melody kind of droning on.  Dm, G, C, Am is nice when I'm not laying all over it.  From the Am the chorus starts on Dm again.  Dm, Am, E, Am---the old stand-by.   I had this guitar part for another song and stole it for this one because of the issue itself.  

 

 

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Ha, those little issues like that with lyrics drive me batty. I say leave it. In the end, it's a song and delivers the same message. When that's the case, do it for the song and the way it sounds. That's what I tell myself anyways. I would still play with the guitar chords for the chorus though if possible as that would help the song just the amount it needs imo. Adios. 

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Great work. I like the few strums at the beginning also and the melodic quality of you voice.

Have you tried to double the length of the choruses? I know as each line starts the same you may be sceptical about repeating it again but I think it would work quite well as the melody is up to it. 

Good-bye sunset
Good-bye evening breeze
Good-bye beautiful wonder
Good-bye home of my dreams
Good-bye ...
Good-bye ... 
Good-bye ...
Good-bye ...

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I think I remember that was a passing thought while recording.  Hmm, I thought it would get boring.

 

Thank you for the listen and comment, I'll try it.

 

Tom

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McP this is great! You have a really good voice. I can almost here a sustained (in the background) harmonica in my head as I listened and possibly some mandolin. Really like this tune, I think it just needs some added instruments and you're good to go. Nice work

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First Let me say your vocal it sounds good. Nice story in the song and I like the song over all. Kelp my interest through out.

 

Irwin

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Tom, I love me a good protest song.  I'm quite in the mood to write one these days. [Part of Comment Removed by Mod]

 

But I digress - your vocal is as good as I've heard from you.  I think you've found the sweet spot with your mic.  As for the song, I think of how Dylan might have approached it arrangement wise.  A harmonica wouldn't work, but given that you're not really changing your strum as you go from verse to chorus and back, I might suggest some chord changes between the sections to help delineate them. -Mark

Edited by Mahesh
Comment removed by moderator
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11 hours ago, LooknGlass said:

McP this is great! You have a really good voice. I can almost here a sustained (in the background) harmonica in my head as I listened and possibly some mandolin. Really like this tune, I think it just needs some added instruments and you're good to go. Nice work

Thank you so much for the vote of confidence.  I have to admit I'm a little surprised at the kind reception this is receiving but I do appreciate it.

 

i might be able to add an ukulele.

Edited by McnaughtonPark

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3 hours ago, irwin said:

First Let me say your vocal it sounds good. Nice story in the song and I like the song over all. Kelp my interest through out.

 

Irwin

Nice to see you you Irwin, thanks so much for the listen and comment

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52 minutes ago, M57 said:

Tom, I love me a good protest song.  I'm quite in the mood to write one these days. I shouldn't be surprised, but it's still a shock for me to see the blatant disregard for decency, diversity, ..reality - and an every growing lexicon of words ending in y. ..coming from the highest office of our country.  Four years of darkness will surely take it's toll.

 

But I digress - your vocal is as good as I've heard from you.  I think you've found the sweet spot with your mic.  As for the song, I think of how Dylan might have approached it arrangement wise.  A harmonica wouldn't work, but given that you're not really changing your strum as you go from verse to chorus and back, I might suggest some chord changes between the sections to help delineate them. -Mark

Yes, yesterday begins and ends with y.  Why and how.  Money ends in y.  Why and how.  Money should end with me, me and my, but how? and why?  Yes, yesterday ends in why.

 

As a union member going into negotiations this year, I'm saving money again to cushion against the worst, but really hoping for the best.  A good protest song is in order.

 

I think Dek had also mentioned a break between sections.  Time wise, there is time for it and maybe I could sing the chorus one less time.  I don't know which chords I would play, the C chord maybe.  I'll have a go at it.

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Nice 1+1, Tom.  I think it could use drums, bass and violin . . . I mean percussion, some low end and um . . strings.  :)

 

Some bad p-pops when you sing "place."

 

I hear problems with the musical structure.  With out getting into a lot of detail, I think one change you should make is to the intro and to the transition points at the end of choruses before the start of the next verse, because I think in this song, the intro should be the same as those transitions.  You end each chorus strumming C-minor and the next verse starts on D#-major, but the transition is immediate, essentially operating as no effective transition at all and giving the whole song a monotonous run-on vibe.  I think you should strum the chorus-ending C-minors for a 7 count after you'rte done singing, pause and let the C-minor ring out through count 8, and then start the next verse on the D#-major.  I think that should be the intro too - C-minor strummed for 7 counts - ringing out through the 8th count, first verse starts on D#-major.  What you play now for the intro, and the way you play it, isn't reprised anywhere else in the song. I don't think it's a good intro to the actual song.  Those brief pauses would be a stronger transition between intro-verse and chorus-verse, and break the monotony of the incessant and unchanging strumming pattern.

 

I think the tourists would have called it "where's that"  and not "where is that," because the prosody would be better if they did. :)  I think you should almost say-sing it as a question too.

 

Just my opinions.

Edited by HoboSage
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Thanks David.  Some good feedback there for a couple of reasons.  You understand that I don't know what I'm doing when I'm playing, so by you explaining first what I'm doing, and then using that example as a reference for how  to change the guitar structure, I can relate to the criticism better.

 

the number of ideas I can come up with on my own are fairly limited, as is the skill level at which I can play them.  So, a critique like the one above seems more like a hand reaching in to help.  I'll have to read it a few more times to fully understand what I'm going to try to do but I agree with the structure you laid out as it will open up the song.  

 

Thank you 

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On 1/14/2017 at 10:37 AM, McnaughtonPark said:

Hey Richard, thanks for the listen.  The guitar track was one take and the vocal track was one take since I only have one mic.  I do notice the vocal off key but I don't have auto tune, don't know what to do about that other than rerecord the whole track.  I don't do good at cutting and pasting and all that loop stuff.  

 

You mention having a DAW.  You mean you can't record numerous takes and then pick lines from different takes?  Or you don't have auto punch?  You shouldn't be cutting and pasting performances together with a DAW.  

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I just realized I mistakenly referred to the transition at the end of a verse and the start of the next verse, when I meant the transition at the end of the chorus and the start of the next verse, and I've edited my previous comment accordingly for clarity.  Sorry for the confusion.

Edited by HoboSage
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50 minutes ago, CapM said:

 

You mention having a DAW.  You mean you can't record numerous takes and then pick lines from different takes?  Or you don't have auto punch?  You shouldn't be cutting and pasting performances together with a DAW.  

If pro tools is a daw, I have a daw.  Yours is the first mention of auto punch I've ever heard in my life.  I was just downstairs trying to record a click track from the keyboard to a track and the laptop froze up, I could have auto punched it.  I hate doing a hard reboot, but that's all I could do to get it out of the frozen state.  

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53 minutes ago, HoboSage said:

I just realized I mistakenly referred to the transition at the end of a verse and the start of the next verse, when I meant the transition at the end of the chorus and the start of the next verse, and I've edited my previous comment accordingly for clarity.  Sorry for the confusion.

I got it, I think because I was understanding it from Dek and Marks comments.  I went down and played around and added some strumming on the quarter note for two bars, resting after the 1st beat if the 8th bar and letting it float 2,3,4.  I can play around some more.

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Actually, I think it does Tom.

Your message is clear...some things are more important than the endless search for more money...& more development.

  • You gave specific examples of what those things are
  • and painted a clear picture of why you feel that way

Works for me!

Good luck with it & thanks for asking!

 

Tom

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Can't be hijacked, keep going with this guys.  It's all valuable to me.

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5 minutes ago, McnaughtonPark said:

Can't be hijacked, keep going with this guys.  It's all valuable to me.

 

I think it's all testimony to the fact that you've written one hell of a protest song!  ..but then I could be wrong because I may be using 'alternative facts.'

Edited by M57
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13 minutes ago, tunesmithth said:

Actually, I think it does Tom.

Your message is clear...some things are more important than the endless search for more money...& more development.

  • You gave specific examples of what those things are
  • and painted a clear picture of why you feel that way

Works for me!

Good luck with it & thanks for asking!

 

Tom

Ok, I did need to see some criteria validation since the plan is to show this one.  I needed to know that.  Thank you

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