Track-by-Track: Sunnin' Myself on a Cold, Cold Day

Let's take a close look at track #7, "Sunnin' Myself on a Cold, Cold Day"

This tune started out when I was taking a look at the old bluegrass standard "Bile Them Cabbage Down." I took the chord progression (which is a pretty standard one), added some 7th notes to blues it up a bit, and slowed the tempo down.

The lyrics came together after a big re-write. I had the complete song written out before I came up with the chord progression, so once I had the chords, I had to switch up the entire song. I was imagining a bright shiny day in the middle of winter, (perhaps because it was the middle of crazy hot July) and (as the title implies) the warm sun shining through a porch window.

I wanted the song to sound like it was recorded on a front porch, like it was happening spontaneously. So I recorded the main acoustic rhythm guitar and vocals together with just one microphone. The mic was a ways away from me and set pretty wide open so it would capture some of the room sound as well. I was extremely happy with the sound of that track.

After that, I tried my hand at the solo sections, but I couldn't get the feel I wanted for the solos. Perhaps it has something to do with my limited soloing ability. Perhaps. So I knew I would have to do some outsourcing on the song.

I enlisted the help of my father-in-law's good friend Tom. As an experienced guitar soloist, I knew he could come up with some great stuff to add to the track. After discussing it, we agreed we'd try a high-tech, internet-enabled, Garageband track swap.

I emailed the song to Tom so he could import the track into Garageband and do his solo over it. Then he exported his solo track by itself and emailed me that file. I put it into my original Garageband project, adjusted the levels, and Bang! Awesome solo track.

I like the tune a lot, and I'm especially proud of the e-collaboration that allowed it to happen.

Check it out here on YouTube!


Track-by-Track: Until I'm Through

Alright, here we go!

The second track (in chronological order) is "Until I'm Through"

Musically, the track was heavily influenced by the amount of Vampire Weekend I was listening to over the summer, which was quite a bit.

It's the "fullest" sounding song off the album, having a bass and drum track, as well as an electric overdub. And while some may say it doesn't "fit" the style of a mostly acoustic album, I say "Pshaw!" Instead, I see it as a peak or summit as Track #5, with the acoustic music on either side as leading up and away from it.

I was still in the "simple chords" phase I was in for "Days to Begin," so the verse is pretty simple, with more focus on the funkiness. I like the "riff-y-ness" of the chorus. It's rare for me to do a riff, and I think it turned out nice. A wah-wah electric lead adds to the funkiness, methinks.

Lyrically, I'm not sure what I was thinking about. A love that hasn't had a chance to come full circle? A wronged person who wants to forget but can't? No idea. I did flip the chorus lines around in the recording, I think the focus on the "until I'm through" line (in the chorus and in the title) tries to keep it from focusing on the "love" stuff. Keep that mushy stuff at bay!

I had a solo recorded with the same wah used in the chorus, but I'm terrible at soloing electrically, so I chopped it out. I think the song is better overall without it.

The drums are a Garageband loop during the verse, and then the chorus is just me using the old "Keyboard Typing" to play a bass drum, midi-style.

The acoustic guitar is the Hummingbird mic'd acoustically. Bass is my Geddy Lee Jazz plugged in directly to my Tascam pre-amp with minimal effects. The electric is my Epiphone LP Gold-top plugged directly in as well, with the Garagband auto-wah effect. Maybe a phaser?

Overall, I like this one. I wish I had the time/means to record the drums myself, but I guess that gives me a way to expand in the future. I'm thinking my next batch of songs may lean more this way, at least in arrangement. More full band kinda stuff. Electric.

Anyways, check out the tune here on Youtube: Until I'm Through