Recording Journals: The Making of the No Schedule Man CD

Recording Journal, Vol. 11: “Life is Like That”

By September 9, 2009No Comments

I’ve been to KG’s twice since I last wrote, including an evening session last night that resulted in the ghost-tracking of the songs “Awake (But Not Alive)” and “Kevin’s Prayer.” I’m pleased that KG (Kevin Gorman) liked the arrangement of both songs. One is somewhat dark, and the other is off the beaten path of the kind of stuff I normally write, but each has its own ‘hook’ and theme to contribute to the project. In fact, “Kevin’s Prayer” had been through a few re-writes and re-arrangements before I ever brought it to KG. I was glad he thought the arrangement was on the money.

There was also much discussion and collaborating on another tune, which doesn’t yet have a definitive title. The song is a re-write of two previously written songs, neither of which completely worked for me. I took the best of both and found they fit quite well as one new song. However, both KG and I agree that the song as it stands now still needs some lyrical and melodic tweaking in the verses before we move ahead with it. I’m looking forward to that. While we played through it a few times, Kev played some stuff that made the hair on my neck stand up. Great sounds. Lots of emotion.

Funny thing about running through that song: it’s in the key of G, with C, F and D thrown in. Pretty standard. Nothing magical. In fact, that is the chord structure of two of the songs on the “I Remember” EP, so we joked around singing the lyrics to those songs overtop of the song we worked on last night Because of the tempo and overall feel of each song, you’d never notice the similarities in case you were really listening for them, but that’s music. It was funny to us. But it also made me realize – while we laughed about ripping ourselves off – that that particular song was the only one out of the eleven we’ve worked on that had that chord structure. We’ve got a couple in A, one in A minor, a few in C, one in F and another in D. Good variety. Spreading around the love.

With last night’s work, we have now ghost-tracked, or at least run through, every song I had forecasted being a part of this project. So far, it looks like all the tunes have a good chance of making the cut, though there are plenty of others waiting on deck if they should be called in to pinch hit.

One song that just isn’t working is, ironically, “No Schedule Man.” I’ve little doubt that we’ll be able to ‘find’ it, but the work we’ve done on it so far just isn’t clicking. After a session last week, KG gave me a CD with the rhythm track of “No Schedule” to play along with. I can’t get into it. We discussed it last night and agreed to shelve it for now and come back to it in a few weeks with new ears, perhaps after we’ve rehearsed it a few times to find the right feel. I know it’s out there somewhere.

In the meantime, the melody for a new tune came to me a week or so ago. I’ve worked it up on the guitar a little bit but, so far, haven’t had the lyrical idea come to me. It reminds me of the process of writing both “No Schedule Man” and “Sunny Day in November”; I had a melody I quite liked and could feel the song, but didn’t know what the song was about. I had to wait – rather impatiently, I might add – for the words to come to me. I’m trusting that the same will happen in this case.

I hope so. I’d really like to hear the song.

In other news, the Tigers are still in first place (though I’m nervous about the last couple of weeks of the schedule with all those games against the ChiSox and Twins), Kevin Harvick darn near won the NASCAR race at Atlanta (I’d forgotten what it looked like with his car out front) and Tiger Woods struck out again at this past weekend’s PGA playoff tournament, which Steve Stricker won. I can picture the TV executives holding their head in their hands when Tiger’s round is done before the network coverage even begins. Bye, bye audience. It’s too bad. They’re missing some good stuff.

But life is like that.

– Kevin

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