21 (Arthur)


Zoom R16 and whatever was used by Hans Christian at Studio 330
Sturgeon Bay, WI

My favorite type of piece to develop is just banjo, drums, and vocals. But it is also interesting how a bass line can really change the feel of a song. This collection has multiple solutions for song development. Banjo led trio, guitar led trio, a cappella, folk style songs, pop style songs, multiple banjo tunings, multiple banjos, multiple vocal styles. Made up words, historical words, specific syllables, time changes. Words set to music, music set to words, two separate ideas combined. Recorded in single unedited takes. There is the way a song sounds while I am writing it. Then there is the way a song sounds as I am recording it. And then there is the way a song sounds as it is being mixed. I went into Studio 330 to get these songs mixed by Hans Christian and that is always tough because I can get hung up on the way I imagined the song in the previous stages. Sometimes I can only focus on the mistakes and other times the technically difficult parts that I am proud of. But having different ears on a project really helps. I remember not liking some of the choices Hans made in the studio, but listening back now, these mixes sound great. So then there is also the way a song sounds to the listener that is hearing everything for the first time in its final format. Invasives was the chosen instrumental to not develop with lyrics and gets to be the opening song specifically for the attention span of online listeners. If you can make it through this one, then you are ready for the rest. We Are Mean is my favorite banjo lick (in D tuning) paired up with my favorite lines. So it is purposely sparse. Hearth is a tribute to Pete Seeger. It is based on a time when he played an integrated concert in The South and got rocks thrown at him. Can we be innocently mean? Also purposely undeveloped since a lot of Pete Seeger songs were just banjo and voice. Drafting is in G but with the 5th string in A for interesting tension that somehow sounds like riding bikes. If I could just remember how to pronounce peloton. I do wish the banjo was louder in this mix. On A Hillside Overlooking Egg Harbor is a true story taken from a couple of suicide notes from a distant relative of mine. I changed the order and forced some rhymes but many of the words are exact. The eerie open C tuning played with a backwards strum glues it all together for me. Waiting For Cover turned out way better than I imagined. It was a bouncy banjo lick with a missing beat so I added words with a certain number of syllables. Neighbors is beyond my vocal skills but here you go. It would have worked well as a banjo or guitar lick but I ended up matching all the syllables in this vocal line and then didn't need any backing music. A Noun is a little too cheesy for me so gets embarrassing to listen to but maybe it works for others. I record them anyway. Typeface Essay is a classic "kids song" for everyone. Banjo, drums, and vocals.