Behind the Scenes….

Can you believe the summer is over! Time for me seems to be accelerating. Actually that was the concept behind the first song I wrote and released in 2014: ” Time Tickin’ Time” (Written by Barb Rzesutock and Arranged and Produced by Paul Dell Aquila of Another Colour) .  The vocals are me and the instrumentation is all Paul…you gotta love that guitar solo! Modernmag_1400_1x1

I’m struggling for the right words to describe the experience of  creating a song. In this case, the  idea came to me as I was driving home. I started singing/ humming “Time Tickin’ Time”. As soon as I made it home, I had to make a quick recording before I lost it. I then over the next few weeks, worked on the lyrics, fooled around with the harmonies etc. When I had a rough concept laid out, I shared it with Paul. This is where it gets interesting and this is the fun part of collaboration. A few weeks later, Paul came back with his arrangement, additions and changes. We recorded the vocals and Paul got to work again, doing his magic. When I heard the completed song for the first time, I was blown away. From an idea I heard in my head to a real finished song, coming out of the speakers in the real world, it is a surreal experience. Now the song had grown into something new and better and proves that sometimes 1+1 can be > 2.

This is what inspires me as a songwriter, the act of creating something from nothing… nothing seems the wrong word here…from that 4th dimension of our interior world of our imagination, from a fragment of an idea to a reality….it’s alive! This may sound a bit egotistical but now there will be something of me that will be around long after I’m gone. Something that even if it gathers dust and cobwebs on the internet, my great,great, grandchildren may be able to find and connect with me…a way to reach out and touch across the barriers of time, time travel in a way.

Now I’m hooked on collaboration. I love the challenge, I love letting go of control and seeing what a song can turn into. Currently I’m working with The Allegheny Ramblers on an EP of traditional and original Bluegrass/Americana tunes. It is taking longer than originally planned, but that’s OK. It is what it is… It started with one song of mine, “Great Day” for the kayakers of West Virginia. I met The Allegheny Ramblers at a summer festival at Tawney Farm by the Gauley River in West Virginia. I played the rough draft for them and asked if they would help with the instrument tracks. Now, I’m in Ohio and these guys are in West Virginia so we came up with a method for them to provide individual instrument tracks. I provided the lyric/chord sheet and bare bones click track and said have at it…whatever they wanted to do. Then the tracks started arriving…it felt like Christmas morning opening presents. I started laying the tracks in, snipping, tucking, stitching, just like a quilt. I finished mixing and released “Great Day” the beginning of this year, 2016.

I then said, “Guys, want to try another one?”. Poor guys, before they knew it, I had got them working on an EP’s worth of songs. Well, I’ve learned a lot about mixing since the release of “Great Day” and that’s one of the reasons it is taking so long to finish the EP. I keep going back and updating the previous tracks with my new and improved knowledge. This EP will be my first mastering attempt.

Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and let you know when the EP is done. You’ll get to hear samples of the songs here before the final release.

I did a Behind the Scenes recording back in 2014 that has examples of the before and after drafts…you might find it interesting. Yes, you get to hear the raw, crude concept tracks before all the real mixing work. It’s like letting you see me in the AM, before I brush my hair while blindly heading for the coffee pot.




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