Week 33 - Generous Heart

So this week brought another birthday.  Before sitting down early last Sunday morning to start on the song, I did some brainstorming.  And just as ‘sweet time’ emerged as the front runner from the brainstorming sessions two weeks back, so did ‘generous heart’ this week.

As I began to play with some musical and lyrical ideas, the song just seemed to want to go in a more serious direction than the two previous birthday songs.  More ‘Forever Young’ and less Weird Al Yankovic.  Hopefully, my son doesn’t mind that he didn’t get a silly-ish one.  (Happy birthday Nick!)

I have to admit, while I started on this last Sunday, it was a slow start and I kind of had in my head the thought of keeping the production on this one simple.  Just focusing on fleshing out the lyrics.  And in having that thought, my little procrastinator devil kicked in for a few days.  But by my early Thursday morning session, I finally had a complete set of lyrics including a bridge idea.  I was still thinking simple, so I didn’t start recording anything until late Friday night.  And what I did in that session were the two acoustic guitars.  I went to bed thinking, ‘I’ll add some vocals in the morning, mix it and call it a week.’  (I hope that doesn’t sound like a flip decision.  It wasn’t.  It was just kind of confirming what had been my plan all week.)  But as these things go, it wasn’t so simple.

Woke up early Saturday and still had vocal recording as my priority which I did first.  However, as I thought about it, I really didn’t want to let this song go as another vocal and guitar track.  Not that there is anything wrong with that approach.  It’s just that I’ve told myself I’ll do more experimentation in the weeks and months ahead and I felt like I wasn’t doing that here.  And that’s when the experimentation began.

The first thing I added was a high arpeggiated guitar part.  I believe I had the capo up on the 10th fret.  (Yikes!)  Once that was in there, I played around for a while with my delay plug in.  That was a lot of fun, if also very time consuming.  Ultimately, I settled on a wash of a sound that seemed to work. 

Next came rhythm.  All along I had thought of adding a simple drum part, even just a basic kick drum.  It felt like it might add some nice propulsion to the track.  I started playing around with that and in deciding which beats and when, thought it might be cool to have some rhythmic delay going on.  Popped open the delay effect and the experimentation began again.  That’s when it clicked – Generous Heart and the kick drum heartbeat.  I ran with it.  My only issue was that in adding this rhythmically delayed kick so late in the game, it’s not as tight to the guitar tracks as I’d like it to be.  (Ideally, it would have been the first thing recorded.)  I did a bit of slipping and sliding but there was only so much I could do.  Hopefully, most listeners won’t hear the two parts fighting each other too much.  And maybe it’s not as bad as I think.

The final addition was a synth plugin.  It was some sort of string option and I used it to fill out the low/mids, counter the high guitar and give the song some weight.  Pretty straightforward (although auditioning various synth sounds is another big time consumer). 

Put it all in the blender, mix and out popped Generous Heart.  I hope you enjoyed it.  It was a fun one to put together.  I hope the production doesn’t interfere with the message.  It’s another one that got me a little misty during one writing session thinking about my kids and such.  We sappy songwriters.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read and listen.  You are all the best – you and your generous hearts!  On to #34.  Have a wonderful week!