Grace Poured Out

This is it…the last tune in the Resonate 2010 series of recordings! I’m book-ending this series with another tune by Matt Horner. He has a unique and very listenable voice, even though he recorded this at 8:30 am that fateful day last July. Here is the rough track…

Grace Poured Out – Original Rough Tracks

I added drums, fixed the keyboard parts a bit, and started tracking acoustics. I kind of went overboard with the acoustics and ended up not using a lot of those acoustic tracks. Then I did a bunch of guitar swells and stuff like that, which I mostly discarded. I replaced some of the acoustic parts with electric and for this I pulled out my Fender Custom Classic Stratocaster and the Tone King Metropolitan (pictured above). This is the first time the Tone King has made it on these recordings. I was looking for a really shimmery clean sound and the amp did not disappoint. Normally I play the Strat with a blocked vibrato bar but I thought it might be nice to give the parts a bit of motion with the bar so I removed the wood block and extra springs that keep it immobile. Blocked tremolos give you a lot more sustain on your Strat.

Strat

At this point the mixed sounded like this…

Interim Mix

I sent a version to Kat to listen to and she suggested I add a string pad a la Marc Jordan. So I listened to some Marc Jordan tunes. I thought it would be fun to create a string section using separate parts for each instrument. I recall Gary Brenner talking about how he did this when I remarked how realistic I thought a string section sounded on one of his recordings years ago. This method allows you to impart feeling and dynamics uniquely to each instrument. So off I went to try my hand at orchestration. I started just before dinner and by 11:30 I had completed the parts. The bridge is using a Pizzicato part which cost me most time because of the delay inherent in the patch. I’m not liking the Dimension Pro Pizzicato string patches I have so I’m open to suggestions. Here are the strings for the intro by themselves…

String Intro

And here is the mix with the strings…

Grace Poured Out

BTW: No AutoTune was used on this recording.

Abba Father

I’ve taken a different approach with this song. This is another in the Resonate 2010 series of songs written and recorded last summer. This song, Abba Father, was written by the youngest of the song writers who attended the three week intensive workshop here in Winnipeg in July of 2010. Here is the rough track…

Abba Father – Original Rough Tracks

I figured that drums would kind of overpower this track so I decided to take a very different, more acoustic approach. I added some bass to the track and then thought, what about dusting off the mandolin?

Mandolin

To counter balance the mandolin the warm tone of the Collings 000-3 (headstock picture shown above) was a nice addition to the tune. This guitar was once owned by Patti Smith who played it at Bob Dylan’s Birthday Party Concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden, it was also played at Carnagie Hall on February 22, 1999 for the benefit concert for Tibet. I have a personal letter from Patti listing all the concerts it was played at. This is an incredible guitar. The neck meets the body at the 12th fret. Its a very stable, very loud, and broad sounding guitar. More on this remarkable guitar in future postings. Here is the sound of that guitar…

000-3

I added some further tracks with with my Bourgois Slope D acoustic. Here is the mix.

Abba Father

The Verge of Faith

In this installment I tackled Josh Baker’s The Verge of Faith.

Verge of Faith – Original Rough Tracks

The first order of business was to select a drum groove and feel for the track. I selected a set of drum loops from Matt Sorum of Velvet Revolver and Guns n’ Roses. A good rockin’ groove. I replaced the acoustic guitars with my trusty Slope D single mic’ed, tracked 3 times…

Acoustics

I added the bass and played that through the guitar amp to get some grunge to it. That seemed a bit to folk sounding so I added some grinding Telecaster…

Tele

Under this I put some more distorted Telecaster sounds created with the OCD pedal panned hard left and right…

OCD

Given the emotion of the tune I felt that a very hard edged Telecaster lead sound would cut through the mix and deliver. Here is the sound used in the intro, listen for a very agressive solo in the final song where I tried to rip the strings off the guitar.

Lead

Still the song was missing something. I added a tremolo part during quieter sections tying the tune together. I echo the intro riff quietly with this part later in the tune. Note the very subtle trem track right at the end of the song as well. Here is a sample of the tremolo sound courtesy of the tremolo on the Swart Atomic Space Tone…

Tremolo

The tune’s theme is the contrast between desperation and vulnerability. I attempted to create this mood. Let’s see how well it worked…

The Verge of Faith

BTW: again, no AutoTune on this vocal, but I did cut and paste parts of the vocals around.

My Portion

Today’s posting features the 9th posting in the Resonate 2010 series. In this installment I’m posting a track from Linsay Geddert. There is something about Linsay’s voice that is very compelling, reminicent of Sarah Harmer.

My Portion – Original Rough Tracks

You can see by the picture of the track that this one starts quiet and then I kind of break it open with guitars and a more driving drum groove. The holy grail of guitar tone is one where there is just a bit of breakup, not too much. One of the common errors most guitar players make is to engage too much overdrive thereby losing the subtle tones of the guitar, often referred to as “gaining out”. This sound was created by using a Telecaster into my Swart Atomic Space Tone amp that has NO gain on or preamp knob on it at all and then just pushing the front end with a little bit of clean boost from the Diamond Boost-EQ pedal.

Edgy Rhythm

So…how about a PRS McCarty with Lollar P-90’s into an Fulltone OCD, the into a T-Rex Replica driving the Swart Amp cranked to 3 o’clock?

PRS Lead

I use this lead sound as a call and response with the vocals panning licks hard left and right giving the track some edge. Put it all together along with some additional backup vocals from Elyse and a few careful edits, plus a fresh acoustic guitar tracks and you get this…

My Portion

BTW: no AutoTune on this lead vocal.

Job Song

Yet another Resonate 2010 track. This one from Grace Barber and its called Job Song as in Job from the Bible not the job you work at. When we recorded the rough track I really blew the meter and feel of the rhythm guitar which caused some issues later as I worked with the track.

Job Song – Original Rough Tracks

Once I put a drum track over the rough tracks I realized the error of my meter and so the work began. I had to take parts of the vocals and cut them up and place them in rhythm with the new drum track.

I then replaced the acoustic guitar part with several layers of my Bourgeois Slope D acoustic. I added bass guitar. Then I started to think about how I could add some spice to the recording. I decided that I should finally get my Strat (pictured above) onto one of these tracks. I used this guitar for all the electric guitar parts. I added some slightly distorted rhythm guitar parts.

I thought that perhaps the rhythm part was a bit bland so I added some shaker. I had just received some new shakers from Panama and took the opportunity to mic these up in stereo, playing them shaker between two condenser microphones.

Shaker

Each guitar makes me play and think a little differently. Often I will just loop the track section and noodle over it with whatever is top of mind. I came up with this little “guitarmony” part reminiscent of something you might hear on an Allman Brothers record.

Guitarmony

I then used this motif with variations throughout the rest of the track and as a call and response with the vocals for the bridge. I find Strats to have a very vocal quality and can really sing. For the solo the signal chain was my Fender Custom Classic Stratocaster -> Fulltone OCD -> T-Rex Replica Delay -> Swart Atomic Space Tone amplifier, mic’ed with a Shure 57 angled slightly toward the centre of the speaker. The lead guitar sound comes back in on the final choruses and outro to tie it all together. Elyse MacLean was kind enough to come back to record some backup vocals. Here is the final result…

Job Song