Week 27 - Right Before My Eyes

So…27 songs.  Can’t say that they’re all award winners, but it does feel good.  I still remember back to those early weeks thinking, ‘How am I ever going to do this?’  There’s still quite a ways to go, but it feels doable.

Right Before My Eyes was born on the acoustic guitar.  Early in the week, I was playing around, fishing for ideas and fell into the picking patterns that make up the verse and chorus.  I stuck with those for a while and soon had melodies to go over them.  I wasn’t sure however, how they fit into the larger structure of a song, but after playing with some early verse ideas, that structure did fall into place.  The pattern had a reflective feel and that certainly drove the development of the lyrics.  This was (again) one of those songs where you’re figuring out the subject matter as you go, kind of feeling your way. 

Over a couple of writing sessions and a few stabs at verse and chorus lyrics, I decided the song was going to be about the idea of getting back to something that was a fundamental part of you all along, something you may have tried to move away from or even bury.  It could be the mystical or metaphysical or simply some early interest that you gave up on (songwriting?) maybe casting it off as a childish pastime.  I had all those things in mind while writing.

The only real issue I had with the writing involved the bridge.  I had a chord pattern and melody in place for a couple of days before I had written the lyrics.  Then while fiddling around, I started playing with another idea.  That new idea became the bridge you hear in the song.  Again, having not written the lyrics or recorded anything yet, it was not a big deal.

As for the production, I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but my neck/shoulder/arm troubles are still on the mend.  They are improving but spending hours at the computer (even if I focus on good posture and take regular breaks) just takes a toll.  Given the nature of this song, I felt it could work with a simple voice and acoustic guitar approach.  And honestly, if one of the few recording skills I learn to do well this year is produce a competent voice and acoustic guitar recording, then I’d say my 52 in 52 project was a success.  I still have a ways to go developing those skills, so with a good candidate like Right Before My Eyes, why not keep it simple?

As for the recording, I toyed with finger picking a variety of guitar parts with the capo at different positions on the neck and blending them in the mix.  But in the end, I went for simplicity, letting the song kind of sit out there bare bones.  That doesn’t mean I took it easy.  I played around with some techniques such as parallel compression, EQ and others trying to add some thickness and body to the guitar sound without making it sound unnatural.  I really wish I could spend a week as a fly on the wall in a professional studio, watching and learning.  That said, few things are better than simple trial and error.  And keeping the song’s production simple allowed more time for that.  In the final version, I doubled the acoustic part to give it some texture and panned the two tracks left and right.

And I think that’s it for Week 27.  I hope you enjoyed Right Before My Eyes.  On to Week 28 as we approach the end of the twenties.  Hard to believe.  As always, thanks for paying attention to my little DIY songwriting/recording adventure.  It means so much to me.  Have great week!