Lonely All The Time -Folk/Pop

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JNeffLind
Posts: 977
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: So. Illinois, USA

Post 21 Apr 2015

Here's another one. Usual disclaimer: no EQing done, just a rough mix. I'm a songwriter, not a producer, blah blah blah. Hopefully the words and melody carry the show. Comments/critiques/opinions welcome. 



LONELY ALL THE TIME
I gave you all I had, asked nothing in return./ You only gave a lesson, I’ve been trying to unlearn./ You never gave a reason, so I’ll settle for a rhyme./ I only think about you when I’m lonely, but lately I’m lonely all the time.
Chorus: Lonely all the time, spinning like a clock./ Lonely all the time, like a key without a lock./ Lonely all the time, drifting like a lost balloon./ Lonely all the time, like the man in the moon.
I tried to walk it off, when you broke my tender heart./ But now my feet are blistered. My boots have fallen apart./ The journey from your love has been an uphill climb./ I only think about you when I’m lonely, but lately I’m lonely all the time.
My heart has been bound in chains, paying pleasure’s cost./ My heart my weakest link, the key forever lost./ You sentenced me to solitude, though I committed no crime./ I only think about you when I’m lonely, but lately I’m lonely all the time.

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Soft Enerji
Posts: 406
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: East Lismore, NSW Australia

Post 21 Apr 2015

I'm fast becoming a fan of your vocal style. This is another great example of your songsmith skills............and do I detect a little more experimentation with production?

Cheers

Mark

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Soft Enerji
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Location: East Lismore, NSW Australia

Post 21 Apr 2015

oh and don't forget to check yer PMs.........

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Benedict
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Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Post 21 Apr 2015

Another impressive song and that fascinating vocal.

:)

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eusti
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Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 21 Apr 2015

Great. Really like your phrasing!

D.

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JNeffLind
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Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: So. Illinois, USA

Post 22 Apr 2015

Soft Enerji wrote:I'm fast becoming a fan of your vocal style. This is another great example of your songsmith skills............and do I detect a little more experimentation with production?

Cheers

Mark
Thanks so much man. You're right I'm experimenting with the production a bit. Trying to add a little flavor without getting in the way of the song. Just having fun I guess. Any opinions no the third verse "turn up." (haha) Thanks for listening.

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JNeffLind
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Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: So. Illinois, USA

Post 22 Apr 2015

Benedict wrote:Another impressive song and that fascinating vocal.

:)
Thanks so much man. Glad you dug the vocal. I'm a bit sick so dedcided to do this song since it's pitched down a bit lower. Always appreciate your feedback. I'm curious how the little production twist of the third verse hit you, since you've encouraged me to let my songs speak for themselves (paraphrasing, I know.). Don't know if it fits, but I was having fun and of course it can always be taken out. Oh the joys of DAWs!

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JNeffLind
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Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: So. Illinois, USA

Post 22 Apr 2015

eusti wrote:Great. Really like your phrasing!

D.
Thanks a lot man and thanks for listening.

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Benedict
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Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Post 22 Apr 2015

Benedict wrote:Another impressive song and that fascinating vocal.

:)
JNeffLind wrote:
Thanks so much man. Glad you dug the vocal. I'm a bit sick so dedcided to do this song since it's pitched down a bit lower. Always appreciate your feedback. I'm curious how the little production twist of the third verse hit you, since you've encouraged me to let my songs speak for themselves (paraphrasing, I know.). Don't know if it fits, but I was having fun and of course it can always be taken out. Oh the joys of DAWs!
Hi J

Sorry to hear you are a bit sick. 

Now to be honest (oh no): I felt this one was a bit like it was missing the mark in quite a few places. I would have gone with an acoustic guitar (strummed Country style) as the glue in the mix as the electric wanders around a bit. The E-Piano I quite like. I feel it is crying out for strings. Sorry but I just don't get the last section that suddenly introduces a military snare. If his wife was off fighting in Iraq maybe but I can't see how it relates to the song. I think don't try to "produce" or be clever, just get those songs down and then if you have the time think on instrumentation/orchestration to build the feelings.

That said tho it is still a really nice song and your vocals are so unusual but engaging (altho not quite flowing this time but that is probably the illness).

I gotta ask, where are these sorts of songs coming from? What is your inspiration (musically)? I hear elements of Cat Stevens, Eddie Rabbit, Tom T Hall and even John Stewart - all great company but not what I would expect of someone your age.

Also what are your plans or hopes for these songs?

:)

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eusti
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Post 22 Apr 2015

Today on the treadmill I was thinking I'd really like to hear your stuff either stripped down even more by Benedict...
Or someone who does something really tricked out, groovy and maybe glitchy...
Something along these lines:



D.

PS: Kilowatts is actually a pretty nice guy... Met him when I took pictures for this project a while back...



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JNeffLind
Posts: 977
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: So. Illinois, USA

Post 22 Apr 2015

Benedict wrote: Hi J

Sorry to hear you are a bit sick. 

Now to be honest (oh no): I felt this one was a bit like it was missing the mark in quite a few places. I would have gone with an acoustic guitar (strummed Country style) as the glue in the mix as the electric wanders around a bit. The E-Piano I quite like. I feel it is crying out for strings. Sorry but I just don't get the last section that suddenly introduces a military snare. If his wife was off fighting in Iraq maybe but I can't see how it relates to the song. I think don't try to "produce" or be clever, just get those songs down and then if you have the time think on instrumentation/orchestration to build the feelings.

That said tho it is still a really nice song and your vocals are so unusual but engaging (altho not quite flowing this time but that is probably the illness).

I gotta ask, where are these sorts of songs coming from? What is your inspiration (musically)? I hear elements of Cat Stevens, Eddie Rabbit, Tom T Hall and even John Stewart - all great company but not what I would expect of someone your age.

Also what are your plans or hopes for these songs?

:)
Hey man. Thanks for the honest feedback. I completely get your take on the third verse. I'm stretching my production way past my actual producing abilities, trying to add some "production value" where I can. This basically means I'm reaching blindly into the toolbox and forcing myself to use whatever my hand reaches. As I've said in previous threads, I'm inclined to take risks and would rather fall on my face and be embarrassed and then adjust and end up with a better product, instead of feeling like I'm settling for the "easy way." I'm a bit neurotic, slightly crazy, but no one can call me lazy. Maybe it's my years of torture in the Hollywood trenches that has me feeling substance is nothing without a bit of sizzle. (There's an American expression that says, something is "all sizzle, no steak" referring to fancy presentation over actual good work). I just felt for a long time I was doing good (maybe great) work, and losing out every time to inferior artists and craftsmen who were better at selling, better at catering to commercial interests, etc. While I won't pander, I also don't like being ignored. I try to stay true to myself, with a nod to the rest of the world. Artists talk about creating exclusively for themselves, yet if that was completely true, they wouldn't share. OK, I'm rambling...

Anyways, these recordings are meant for learning mainly. Seeing what songs people respond to. Which production techniques work best with my style, etc. I believe I'm officially washed out of Hollywood which is why I'm shifting back into the music world. (Long story for another time but I used to have a band. Shit happened. Didn't touch a guitar or sing a note for ten years. Recently the cloud lifted and I'm at it again.)

At the end of next month I'll be moving into my parents basement in St. Louis (no joke, yes I'm 35 and I realize how awesome that makes me) to focus on emptying my hard drive of the forty or so songs I wrote as a kid and the seventy or so songs I've written since I got back into it. (One thing Hollywood teaches is discipline, how to call the muse, how to write to a deadline. Every day I don't write, I feel like a piece of shit...) I imagine it'll take between six months and a year to record all these songs in one form or another and my current plan is to then head to Nashville where my brother lives, hopefully armed with recordings that do my writing justice. I've toyed with the idea of doing multiple versions of each song. Maybe a very spare singer-songwriter version (guitar and voice, with possible drums, bass, and e-piano) as well as a more pop version (synths, drums, glitches, LOTS OF SYNCHRONOUS [makes me feel like a wizard], etc.). Or maybe just divide the songs into groups since about half were written on piano and are significantly darker/moodier than the more upbeat country leaning style I have on the guitar. Maybe country folk leaning on guitar, with a more "modern" sound on the piano songs.

As for my influences... I've always imagined being asked this question, fantasized about being interviewed by Rolling Stone (haha). Besides my family (particularly my dad) my biggest influences are probably James Taylor, Paul Simon, Tracy Chapman and The Beatles. Honorable mention to the Indigo Girls, plus I really dig what Dave Matthews did by eschewing traditional music theory. (Lots of people love to hate on Dave Matthews but any musician can learn tons about chords/voicings/riffs from his work, much like studying The Beatles). Obviously there's no electronic stuff in my list which begs the question of why I'm introducing electronic elements into my music. I'd point to The Beatles and Paul Simon pushing me in that direction, in that they both eschewed traditional production methods (Paul Simon's Graceland! FTW!) and continually pushed themselves. Can you imagine what George Martin would have done with Reason? I'm no George Martin, not even close, but that doesn't mean I can't strive to be. However far from my goals I am, I want to be the greatest musician who ever lived (don't we all) and the best way I know to get there is to try to constantly learn. 

Last note, before I end the worlds longest thread post... I don't strum. The second song I learned on guitar I learned to fingerpick and never went back. Strumming makes my bones itch and my heart hurt. Doesn't make sense, but I'm a bit nutty...
 

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Benedict
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Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Post 22 Apr 2015

Thanks for the full (not long) reply. My apologies, for some reason I thought you were still a kid, just out of school. Funny how you get confused ideas on the internet. What did you used to do (or not get to do) for Hollis P Wood?

I am always surprised when I suggest strumming as I hate it when I see people strumming when finger picking would give a better result but as a center of a mix there is little like it. Most people strum in the mistaken idea that it makes them sound better (bigger) but in reality it is like high hats (or even rhythmic white noise) in its ability to create variety and movement.

Getting Demos that sell these songs is a great idea. My 2 cents is still to sell the song and not trickery - another producer can hear what he wants to do. Nashville is worth considering (Selig could tell you more) as could well be Austin TX. I would think to take a dual approach that has worked for people like you before. Start pushing your songs for other people to sing and stay singing them yourself. Hopefully you have a success from someone else recording your song which brings brings you enough attention from someone bright enough to figure they could make money of a record from you.

BTW I am 45 and live under someone's house. We all have interesting (and tragic) lives. The trick is to keep going.

:)

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eusti
Posts: 2467
Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 22 Apr 2015

Benedict wrote:My apologies, for some reason I thought you were still a kid, just out of school. Funny how you get confused ideas on the internet.
The profile pic didn't help, I guess... ;)

D.

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JNeffLind
Posts: 977
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: So. Illinois, USA

Post 22 Apr 2015

eusti wrote:Today on the treadmill I was thinking I'd really like to hear your stuff either stripped down even more by Benedict... 
Or someone who does something really tricked out, groovy and maybe glitchy...
Something along these lines:



D.

PS: Kilowatts is actually a pretty nice guy... Met him when I took pictures for this project a while back...

Hey man. I'd love to have other people interested in working on my music. I believe Benedict is engaged with another project at the moment, and I wouldn't want to step on anyone's toes, but maybe he'd be willing to help as you suggest once his schedule opens up. I'll have to ask him.

And that track you shared is amazing. I love the way he has so much going on with the production but it doesn't get in the way of the song. If you could introduce me to someone like him (or him specifically) who wanted to play with my stuff, I'd be honored. Maybe the first album could be ten tracks, each done two ways. Side A: J&B. Laid back subtle production. Side B: J&K glitchy crazy radio friendly stuff.  I'm poor and wouldn't be able to pay anyone at the moment, but would gladly share whatever money might eventually come in (if any ever does). Or maybe it'd be best to take different songs in different directions. I don't know. I just write them and I write them way faster (and with way more ease and enjoyment) than I produce them.


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JNeffLind
Posts: 977
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: So. Illinois, USA

Post 22 Apr 2015

Benedict wrote:My apologies, for some reason I thought you were still a kid, just out of school. Funny how you get confused ideas on the internet.
eusti wrote:
The profile pic didn't help, I guess... ;)

D.
Yeah, I should probably change it. That was taken when I was about 14 or 15 I think...

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JNeffLind
Posts: 977
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: So. Illinois, USA

Post 22 Apr 2015

Benedict wrote:Thanks for the full (not long) reply. My apologies, for some reason I thought you were still a kid, just out of school. Funny how you get confused ideas on the internet. What did you used to do (or not get to do) for Hollis P Wood?

I am always surprised when I suggest strumming as I hate it when I see people strumming when finger picking would give a better result but as a center of a mix there is little like it. Most people strum in the mistaken idea that it makes them sound better (bigger) but in reality it is like high hats (or even rhythmic white noise) in its ability to create variety and movement.

Getting Demos that sell these songs is a great idea. My 2 cents is still to sell the song and not trickery - another producer can hear what he wants to do. Nashville is worth considering (Selig could tell you more) as could well be Austin TX. I would think to take a dual approach that has worked for people like you before. Start pushing your songs for other people to sing and stay singing them yourself. Hopefully you have a success from someone else recording your song which brings brings you enough attention from someone bright enough to figure they could make money of a record from you.

BTW I am 45 and live under someone's house. We all have interesting (and tragic) lives. The trick is to keep going.

:)
I'm glad I won't be the only subterranean dweller on the forum. For me the trick is not only to keep going, but also to keep myself from going so fast that I crash. I often feel that I sprint, revelling in the speed, then have a hard landing, after which all the slow and steady walkers pass me by while I'm fighting just to stand back up. With age comes wisdom though, and I'm trying to keep a measured pace.  

I wrote screenplays in Hollywood but never got very far with it. I did win some awards and a couple times thought I might be getting my "break" but there are a lot of scumbags and liars in Hollywood who are borderline sociopaths in terms of taking advantage of people or reinventing history to justify bad behavior (theft of ideas, refusal to give credit where due). I also had some bad luck and I'm not good at networking. Small talk in bars is miserable for me. And I'm not good at giving compliments that aren't genuine. Hollywood runs on ego, most notably the willingness to stroke the ego of whoever you're talking to. I didn't need mine stroked, and as hard as I tried, I could never "stroke" others convincingly. It wasn't that I refused to do it, or thought I was too good for it. I resolved to "play the game" as well as I could (outgrew self-important pride at about age 19) It's just that my face is an open book and I'm not a good liar.

I'm a bit "in the wind" at the moment in terms of exactly what my next step will be. My preference would be just to sell these songs but I know I'll have a better chance of being "discovered" by performing so I plan to perform regularly. Of course if some A&R man said he could make me a star as a performer I'd jump at the opportunity, but I don't love performing. It's just work for me, a necessary evil to support the work I enjoy. Back in the day I used to play lunch gigs in bars for a free meal, gigs at night for tips, etc. When I get it into my head, I can hustle with the best of them. It doesn't come naturally to me, but I can force myself to do just about anything if the potential rewards are viable. 



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eusti
Posts: 2467
Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 22 Apr 2015

If you think about performing something with loopers & pedals might be interesting...



Met her on a plane and she was a very good self promoter...

D.

Higor
Posts: 94
Joined: 19 Jan 2015

Post 24 Apr 2015


After listen to this one a few times i must give a thumbs up.
Nice one.
For a song that has lonely in the title one would expect the vocals to be far away, and the instrumentation as well, instead, they are very upfront.
The old keyboard style melodies, awesome. It contrasts well with your voice.
Despite the apparent fragility of it you look pretty confident about what you are doing. Good.

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JNeffLind
Posts: 977
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: So. Illinois, USA

Post 26 Apr 2015

Higor wrote: After listen to this one a few times i must give a thumbs up.
Nice one.
For a song that has lonely in the title one would expect the vocals to be far away, and the instrumentation as well, instead, they are very upfront.
The old keyboard style melodies, awesome. It contrasts well with your voice.
Despite the apparent fragility of it you look pretty confident about what you are doing. Good.
Thanks for the feedback and the support. I appreciate it. I'm not sure how I would make the voice sound farther away. I'm guessing it has to do with reverb or stereo spread or something like that. When I mix, I just adjust volume faders. Still learning...

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