Week 8 - Hand in Hand

So here we are at the end of Week 8.  Hmm…What to say about this week’s song?

Well, it started last weekend with some fumbling around on the acoustic guitar.  (Doesn’t it always?)  I had set the capo up fairly high on the guitar neck and was playing around with some finger picking patterns.  I quickly settled into the one that you hear in Hand in Hand.  I started humming some melody ideas over it and searching for words that felt right. 

I had just returned from a family outing at the skating rink which involved a lot of holding little hands and carefully circling the rink.  I played with that idea and soon had the ‘Hand in Hand’ thing going.  I thought it might make a nice theme for a song, starting small and then applying it (in the final verse) to the bigger picture of how we need to learn to work together if we’re going to solve any problems in this world.

At that point, I wanted to put the lyrics aside and play around with the music.  I try to listen to as much music as I can (which ironically has been very difficult this year because I’m spending so much time working on my own songs).  One of the singer/songwriters that I’ve been following lately is Winston Yellen of Night Beds.  I’m completely enamored with his sound.  I’ve been trying to find a song which I could approach in his style of high melodies and shimmery reverb.  (Remember, I’m trying to learn and experiment as much as I can this year without going too far beyond my music production abilities.)  Bottom line, I really wanted to try it with this song. 

I sat down Sunday night to play around with some ideas for the musical arrangement.  It was a lot of fun experimenting but in the end, Hand in Hand had its own spirit and agenda.  I used a little bit of long reverb but I’m still searching for a song to approach in the ‘Winson Yellen/Night Beds’ style.  (Thankfully, I have 44 more.)

Monday morning, I rose early and finished up a rough draft of the lyrics.  At that point, because I had already done some work with music, I did what I too often do.  I procrastinated.  It was school vacation week and it was easy to get busy with the kids, thinking I was in good shape and had plenty of time to finish up my simple song.  Other than some tweaking of the lyrics, I didn’t really get back to work on it until Friday morning.  At that point, I was feeling under the gun.  I’m learning that in music production, simple doesn’t always mean less time.  I hope that’s the last of my procrastinating.

As I fleshed out the music, I wanted to keep it light and simple.  I’m not sure where it came from, but the arrangement soon had this carnival-like feel.  (Maybe it was inspired by the line about ‘scary clowns’?)  A few hours Friday and a couple more Saturday morning and I had to call it quits.  This song’s so fresh, it’s still warm. :-)

If I had a bit more time, I think I would have tried adding some light brushy percussion, maybe having it start up at the top of the second verse.  But I suppose that’s part of the ‘52 in 52’ charm.  The clock runs out and you have to stop.  It sometimes feels like a standardized test.

I hope you enjoyed it.  What an experience this has been.  I’m learning so much and I’m so appreciative that you’re taking the time to follow along.  If it weren’t for you, I might realistically have completed two and a half songs in the last eight weeks.  Nothing beats a deadline.  Have a great week!