graphics, editing, voice-over, music...

So here it is. June 2014’s ‘Country’ jukebox! Voting and comments via the forum

These are in the order in which they arrived in my inbox.

1.Stephen Clarke. Ain’t No Room

AintNoRoom Edited

Here's my country song. As you'll hear, the sound quality is not exactly brilliant – I play straight into Garageband, and I'm no expert at using it. So forgive the 6 seconds of silence at the beginning where I cut out the coughs and the count-in, then couldn't figure out how to re-align everything.
I think I ALMOST managed to write a non-ironic country song, which is tough for us cynical Brits. Only the line "I'm getting bogged down in stony ground" gives me away. It's about a hitchhiker trying to make it home. Do people hitchhike in country songs? Maybe he lost his truck in the D.I.V.O.R.C.E. Anyway, my character has to keep on walking through hostile towns, a bit like Easy Rider without motorbikes. It's eco-country.

2. Steve & Claire Warner. American Jail 2
American Jail 2

I never believed a Country song would stretch my technique up to its limit and occasionally just beyond!  Had a lot of fun with the words, and I bore in mind it's 'three chords and the truth'. Whether it's a comfortable truth...

3. Tim & Julie Warner. The Life of Billy-Ray
The Life of Billy-Ray

This month has had the duel problems of finding something to write about (no title or lyrics to work from) and trying to make it sound like a genre that I never play and we never listen to. After moments of research, I decided it would have to be about the death penalty and, if we could get in something about a girl leaving, all the better. I tried to get a country feel by using instrumentation, you'll see what I mean.

The years of soaking in country and western music as a child has not helped me at all. Hoping my brothers, who were similarly exposed, found it easier than we did.

4. Robbie Good. Country Song
country song

Note from Rob W.
All I heard about this is that it’s Robbie’s song and that it was recorded live with his band. Also, I heard from Tim and Colin that the mix is not that good on small speakers (iPhone/iPad/Laptop) so is best listened to through larger speakers or headphones.

5. Rob Warner. Say it’s over (to my face)
Say it's over (to my face) v4

I had the beginnings of a song on June 1st but decided that it wasn’t country enough and then did nothing until June 26th when I came up with this (having tinkered for 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there in the three intervening weeks.) I don’t think this is very Country either but I was a desperate man.

I vowed not to listen to any of the other tracks so that I didn’t infect my ears, but I have to say that I DID listen to them and Tim’s rather dark story influenced the end of my song and created...another rather dark story. This evolved further after I spoke to Helen (my wife) who said ‘Oh dear’ during the last verse. So I’ve changed the end of the story from a killing to a death (a sort of ‘Ghost/Sixth Sense’ vibe!) The song is set in America (the home of Country music) and allows one to use place names like ‘New York’ and ‘Tennessee’. It was originally meant to be the story of a failed relationship and how one side cannot face up to it until they hear it face-to-face.

My chord choice is NOT very country either and bears more than a passing resemblance to the chord structure from my song last month. Oops! Also, I can’t be sure, but ‘diminished’ chords don’t seem very popular in Country music. The current version is number three as I tend to upload quickly (and then repent my decision at my leisure) but luckily, being the administrator, I’m able to upload updated versions as they are mixed.

Lastly, my thanks to Gemm who played brilliant guitar on this for me even though he was suffering with hay fever (I’m sure Dwayne Eddy used to suffer too.)

6. Phil Sanderson. Daydreams in the Dark
Daydreams in the Dark with Drums

Is it country? ....  I had plenty of ideas up until last weekend, but couldn't decide on which ideas to actually expand into a song (in reality, probably because none of them were good enough!)  This 'new' song then sort of 'happened' as a composition really quickly: the basic chords written with most of the melody...although the structure, length of intros, solos etc kept on mutating right up until I laid down the drum track last Friday night.  I've got many hundreds of drum loops on Cds etc, but none of them are really 'Countryesque' enough, so I downloaded some to use... without really evaluating if they were any good! It was only after I had listened to my first mixes of the track that I realised that they were in fact not up to much! This explains why verse 1 and chorus of song have no drums at all. I've mixed versions of song without drums and prefer them, as you can hear the acoustic 6 and 12 string far better.  No Strat again! Just Yamaha electro acoustic 6 and 12 as well as my old Korg M1.  I've put my voice 'up' in the mix.  ( I sound as though I can't pronounce words with 'r' in them, which is a real handicap where the main words are 'memory' and 'broke' - my wife and daughter assure me that I do not sound like David Bellamy normally..!)

I've recorded the audio directly out of my Zoom DAW without using Cubase. I just couldn't get the acoustic guitars or drums to sound even half decent.  Cubase worked really well on my piano and vocal last time, so I guess I'll have to look at some more online tutorials in preparation for 4 chord song month.

7. Mike Gosling. Saved By You

"I will not be saved by your country music song
I will not be saved by a Nashville sing-a-long
I will not be saved just by knowing right from wrong
I'll only be saved by you"

Thanks to Karl for the drums, tambourine and tin tray(!) and for helping me decide which song idea to pursue.

8. Austin Vince. Homesick Cowboy Brittan
Homesick Cowboy Brittan

Note from Rob W.
This is the first contribution from ‘TV’s’ Austin Vince. For those of you who don’t know, he’s a Adventure Motorcycling Film-making legend amongst many other things. He didn’t give me any sleeve notes so, from experience of listening to his music in the past, I think I can safely say that this is authentic in as much as it will have been played live (no software instruments for Austin) and will, in all likelihood, have been recorded on an analogue tape machine. Also, on a technical point, this is a .wav file of about 24MBs. If you are having trouble downloading/streaming this track, let me know and I’ll convert it to .mp3. I didn’t want to do this from the outset because it has amazing depth especially on headphones.

9. Patrick Duffin. When You Were Small
when you were small

Notes from Rob W.
No sleeve notes from Patrick. He wouldn’t be wrong if he said that he thought the song spoke for itself!

10. Tim & Glyn. Slow Train of Regrets
Slow Train Of Regrets

Entry for this month is called Slow Train of Regrets. We really got into this one - we started off quite dubious about writing a country song and by about half way through the recording sessions started to really enjoy ourselves. Hopefully that comes across. Glyn wrote the lyrics and we worked together on the music. Simon (as usual) helped with mixing and mastering, plus played a little finger-picked guitar on the last chorus and fade out.

The Slow Train of Regrets
I’ve been thinking about you all day long And to keep me sane I wrote this song There’s a million miles between us yet nowhere let to hide So there’s nothing else to do, so we just let it slide

It could be all long views and sunsets Long shots and sure fire bets But on reflection I can’t see that clear It’s a smear on the lens of your life my dear Cos we’re riding the slow train of regrets

This old love of mine is echoing around the tracks
Over the plains and the dusty don’t look back
From the howling dog moon and the old dreams pushed aside
On the long gap road to your letter box drive

11. Colin Steward. Move On
Move on

Firstly, my thanks to Robbie Good for vocals and squeezing me in at short notice, thus allowing me to finish this song at the 11th hour.
There are a few firsts here. This is the first time I've ever written a lyric and I'm hoping this will develop over time. Whilst I had no trouble with the idea, coming up with actual words were, not surprisingly, tricky for me.  I really didn’t want to shove in a load of country clichés. So this is about loss but not ‘crying in the beer’ loss.  I’ve gone for a contemporary country feel and reflected this in the lyrics which are mostly sarcastic and cynical.
The other ‘first’, is me playing guitar. Those who know me will generally think of me at piano and keyboards. The extent of my guitar skills are knowing a few chords and experimenting with them. The acoustic is me playing the guitar, the electric ones are the ones in Garageband and played on keyboard.

12. Eddie Custard. My Horse Won’t Wear No Shoes
my horse won't wear shoes

The attached country song is called My Horse Won't Wear No Shoes. I've noticed that on your website people tend to put a couple of lines about their song, but all that needs to be said is that it's a song about a horse that makes a bolt for freedom.