Continuation of yesterday’s business… writing, writing, writing… and more writing. This is a draft excerpt from slow song of Anthony Da Costa’s (see yesterday’s song). He didn’t request bells, but I tried them, and I’m in love. The draft here is just a trial for the sound, the arrangement I ended up with you’ll have to hear on Anthony’s album when it’s done! (hee hee)
The great thing about arranging for multiple stringed instruments (or what have you) is that you can take the base stuff away (the guitars, drums, etc.) and really hear a totally new piece. In this case, I can hear lines that I didn’t want or melodic ideas that sound to similar to a track I just did…. which I find the inherent problem with arranging many things at once… I think you risk everything sounding the same… It’s okay. It’s good to try to overcome this, I think.
Sleep comes to me and I must bid her a welcome hello to her!
The next few days (who am I kidding? It’s weeks right about now) are very (in a “glass-half-full” kind of mentality we can use the word: wonderfully) busy for me. So, for the next few days, the 365 is going to be a bulletin board for trials I’m running for arrangements. If you’ve been following the 365, you know Anthony Da Costa. He has appeared more than once within the project, and now, he is recording a brand new album and has asked me to take part in doing some cello parts on it.
For obvious reasons, I can’t post the songs these trial excerpts are for, but I can tell you they are beautiful songs. I’ve been working on 5 of them for his CD. This first excerpt I’m posting for you to hear is a very rough draft of a smaller section of a song about a river. This, for me, is the fulcrum of the song. It’s in its beginning stages, but I like the ideas that are happening… can you hear the river starting to be born? It might be cliché, but I like it! And when you get Anthony’s album you can hear the final product (if he ends up liking it and using it). Exciting!
Since arranging I’ve allow to be part of the 365, here is it, as it’s all I’ve been working on… (not to mention some other live performances coming up with Sophie Madeleine, a quartet and a solo show I’ve needed to get parts for… phew)
Anthony Da Costa and I wrote this song together tonight. We made a plan to meet and made it happen. He came to my house. We drove to Pleasantville, New York. We had dinner with his beautiful Italian mother. We ate pasta, shrimp and fluffy chocolate cake. We wrote this song. There is cello and guitar in it. It is about a boy trucker and a girl cheater.
Da Costa's got a show!
We recorded it live with his condenser mic and his pro tools in his parents’ living room. We did it about 5 or 6 times and took the last take. Anthony had the framework for this song before we met. It is a sad un-ballad country song. We worked really hard on these lyrics together and formed the story behind it. We finished at about 12:30 am. I drove Anthony home to his dorm (he goes to Columbia University) and helped him carry several arm loads of laundry, his guitar and his recording equipment up to his door. I love Anthony, and we had the best time writing this song. Really. The best time. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Anthony’s speciality is love songs. Anthony’s love songs are heartbreaking. We are going to do another collaboration and do a sweet and lovely love song. I hope it will make us cry doing it! I really like how he seems to have no fear communicating through music. I wish I was more free like this. (He was one of the masterminds behind You Don’t Know What You’re Doing To Me.) Anthony is a prolific and wonderful singer, guitarist and songwriter. He has such an ease at the instrument. I have recorded cello for him in the past and will be doing so (I’ve been told!) on Anthony’s next album. I’m very excited, and I’m so honored to continue to work with him.
(Anthony- how was that?)
You Like Me More When I’m Gone
Well, I love you pretty baby, more than I should
Been thinking bout the way you don’t treat me so good
You talk about the way you care
But it seems to only happen when I’m not there
You call me up and say you’ve been true
But who knows if you’ve been doing what you oughtn’t to
It’s so hard for me to let on that you like me more when I’m gone
It seems I’m always on the road, yeah I roam from town to town
This old eighteen wheeler is glory bound
I’ve been traveling along, doing my time
With girls in every bar, but you are always on my mind
So I get a little drunk in a motel room
Peanut butter sandwich and some pay-per-view (This is my favorite line)
All the while, you’re at home singing songs
Cause you like me more when I’m gone
I think you’ve changed
Well that’s not right
You’re acting strange
But you’re my guy
Just tell me plain
Oh, let’s not fight
Is there something going on?
Well, at least not tonight!
They say that distance makes the heart grow strong
But baby I believe we’ve been apart for too long
Because the minute I walk right in through the door
I say “I’m Home, pretty baby,” and you say, “What for?”
Ad then this fear is creepin’ in with a smile so wide
Always comes right when I’m leaving, You look so satisfied.
Call crazy call me stupid, call me wrong
But I think you like me more when I’m gone
COLLABORATION FRIDAY! Friend, this is how magic happens.
Anthony Da Costa, Emilyn Brodsky, Marie Darling, EHP, James Frazee
I talked about the uke playin’ and singin’ Emilyn Brodsky in yesterday‘s post. Well, here she is, and she’s brought others. We found amazing guitarist and songwriter Anthony Da Costa watching television. (He said the remote control just magically landed on the Real World D.C. Sure, sure.) We gathered together our resources of 1. Anthony’s guitar and 2. EHP’s Omnichord and began crafting a song together. After many entertaining attempts (one of which included a chorus of “Nobody Cares!” which we felt was a bit depressing), the Omnichord became irritable and sleepy. It almost went home when suddenly, and unexpectedly, at the last second, a song was born! As we were in the stages of verse configuration, in walks french songstressMarie Darling to join the collaboration as well. (I’m telling you right now: I have never wanted to be french so bad in my whole life.) As we commenced recording, we only felt it appropriate that the real french lady (not the fake one) sing the french lyric in our song. We’re so international. You will hear the phrase fait accompli sung extremely well by Marie. The first take we did was the first time we heard her sing this- and you can only imagine how its total wickedness took us a little off guard. Supposedly that specific phrase doesn’t actually mean that much in French, but English speakers (according to Google search) say it means-
1. Creation of a situation which is irreversible and with which other parties will have to live, even if grudgingly.
Wondering about the Omnichord? Given to me as a gift from Nadia Ali, and I love it!
Prepare yourself, as you will hear another fantastic aspect of this song: recording engineer and producer James Frazee (a man with an amazing ear who will be working on Emilyn Brodsky and Anthony DaCosta’s next albums) has a cameo at the very end.
I wanted to talk to you a little bit about the art of collaborating. Without thinking about it I noticed I just said “art” of collaborating, and I’m totally agreeing with myself. It’s an art, and collaboration can be really rewarding (like in today’s song) or really awful (example withheld). In my case, today’s song involved musicians who I totally respect and revere as well as being a bit intimidated by. It’s this intimidation I feel that can make working with other songwriters difficult for me. It’s yet another reason why this project is so good for me, too. Sadly, I think under any other circumstance, I wouldn’t have asked these people to write a song with me. And how unfortunate! Our little song would not have ever been born! There’s always some excuse or fear behind exposing your weaknesses or strengths, even, to other creators though I know we all have them. For example, Emilyn is a genius wordsmith and Anthony is amazing at fitting chords and lyrics together very quickly. These are two qualities I have to work at, and I spend a lot of time crafting in the privacy of my own writing hole. However, being with people who create so well in such a short period of time is infectious and opens up new ways of thinking. It was so awesome. Thanks, Aubergine!
Recorded live using my little stereo mic. (Unless I tell you different, all songs are recorded with this little cheap-o microphone, my M-Audio and Garageband.) I got to Emilyn’s house at 6 pm, and I was on the train home by 10:30 pm. That time frame is misleading. Emilyn was in the shower when I first arrived, so we probably started writing this song at 8:00 after other less intriguing leads on other starts. We used the second of two takes. The natural panning that occurs due to how we were all situated around the mic is amazing to me! Not knowing anything about recording or the technical aspects of it, finding happy accidents like that is cool for me.
You Don’t Know What You’re Doing
you don’t know what you’re doing to me.
the way you’re walking down the street
the way you’re dancing to the beat
the way you make my heart complete
you don’t know what you’re doing to me.
i know just what i’m doing to you.
and you don’t even have a clue.
i could tell you if you wanted me to
i know just what i’m doing.
the way i’m walking down the street
the way i’m dancing to the beat
the way i make your heart complete
when it started and you were first mine
you said you loved me and i thought you were kind
and now in retrospect i see i was blind.
you don’t know what you’re doing to me.
On tour with Pearl and the Beard and Ugly Purple Sweater in Boston! Back in New York today, then on the road again Saturday to New Jersey, Baltimore, Philly, and DC. I’ll let you know how things go recording and writing-wise whilst on the road. Fingers crossed!
Thank you for checking in and coming here. Your presence here is super-valued, and whether you read or not, I’m so glad you listen! May your day today be Friday-licious.