35 (Kennedy)


Tascam 788 Digital Portastudio, HP Pavilion dv1000 with Lexicon Alpha
N. Keokuk, Chicago, IL
W. Winona, Chicago, IL

This album is meant as an exercise and comparison to the raw arrangements found on Johnson (which are really not all that different in this case except with less instruments). It is a continuation of shorter albums that don't benefit all that much from taking longer to make. I started recording mostly on the Portastudio but then it broke and I had to pay to get it fixed just so I could get the files out and transferred to Cubase. Usually when artists record, they go back and refine things and make sure they get each part exactly right. I just play everything straight through and hope that I don't mess up near the end. But if I do mess up and I cannot live with the mistakes then I have to start over. This method may not be in best interest of the listener but it is just a continuation of my 4-track cassette tape approach to recording. These songs were pretty old by the time I actually mixed them down but I like them all and think they are all worth playing live either alone or with a band.

Abandoned is my favorite off this one because it is this great melodic banjo piece and I was able to put lyrics over it and then add drums and bass in indie pop fashion. Short and simple. The Thaw is really a great song if you can get past this arrangement. I wanted to see what would happen if I treated the bass and electric guitar like drums and I think it ruins this recording. The other instrument is a Tonette which is also supposed to be percussive. It could benefit from supporting instruments that sound more like the lyrics. To Pieces is the hit song off this one. I may have made a poor choice to turn off the snare on the snare drum but I like a lot of the rest. Afraid is an un-worship song done on electric guitar just to have a song with electric guitar. I wrote the melody with voice first and then figured out a suitable guitar part. The second idea was to have dueling drum parts but I wasn't ready to do anything complicated so I just did the simple one so Auckland Bach could solo. Destination was written on guitar and I don't remember when or why it worked out so well for banjo. I like to think it actually sounds like driving. The in between banjo parts were written separately but they seemed to fit so they got inserted. Beneath The Willow is classic Maxel Toft guitar like To Pieces using only the low four strings and tuned down a step. It is a death march of sorts. This was the beginning of incorporating the Rhodes into the compositions. Canyon is just one of many banjo licks that was hanging around waiting to become a full song. I didn't foresee ever adding lyrics or developing it more and it made it on to the album because I realized that I could play it as a canon. It actually sounds pretty good live when the second part is a piano or something other than a banjo.