New Organ mp3

December 19th, 2009 |

It seems like a lot of the musical software I buy does far less than live up to my expectations. The Native Instruments B4 organ software is definitely not one of them. This stuff sounds phenomenal.

I’ve been working on an organ part for a song called “Written for You” and I am really knocked out by the results. Check out this mp3. This is just the Wurlitzer piano, bari sax, tenor sax and the organ. The organ is pushed way out front so you can hear what’s going on.

The clip starts at the pre-chorus and goes into the final two choruses. Listen how the organ starts out clean and with a slow rotation in the leslie. As it builds into the chorus I crank up the leslie and the speaker distortion. Very cool. Very convincing.

Deadpan Boxfan

December 12th, 2009 |

I’ve started transferring some of my old four-track recordings into the computer so I thought I’d let you hear a little bit of them. The majority of these recordings are way too embarrassing for me to make publicly available but some of them are at least tolerable.

All of the songs from this era (1994-ish) were recorded on a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder. I didn’t have a drum kit at the time so I had to piece together the drum parts in a rather unorthodox way.

For the bass drum I used an old stereo speaker and hit it near the speaker cone with a mallet. For the snare drum I used a small Igloo cooler and smacked it with a drum stick. For the cymbals I used a trashy ride cymbal I had that had a huge chunk missing from it. I had to do each drum separately and then bounce them to a single track.

This first one is a song called Deadpan Boxfan. I wrote this song about my inability to sleep without a fan, really riveting stuff I know. In the intro you’ll hear my mom playing the accordion. All of the other noises are me. I particularly like the guitar work in this song.

Click here to download Deadpan Boxfan.

This next thing is the bridge to a song called Ichabod’s Farewell. The rest of this song is pretty strange but the bridge is really nice. I was completely fascinated with The Sundays’ album “Blind” at the time. I think this was my attempt at writing something similar to what they did on that record.

Click here to download the mp3.

New mp3 – Album Sampler

November 2nd, 2009 |

One of my readers emailed me today to remind me that I have a website and it’s starting to smell a bit musty.

I’ve been extremely busy recording for the past few months and for whatever reason have failed to give any sort of updates on what’s been going on. So I put together a small sampler of some of the things I’ve been recording.

On this mp3 the first clip you’ll hear is the sax trio from the bridge of “The Temptress”.

The second clip is the piano part (played by Jeff Lehman), guitar part, and Melotron part to “Wait Child Wait”.

The third clip is the Wurlitzer piano and the horn section to the chorus of “Written for You”.

The last clip is some of the strings (with the drums and everything else turned way down) to “The Groom and the Bride”.

Click here to download the mp3.

I hope you like it.

Sweet Hour of Prayer – New mp3 available

September 18th, 2009 |

Since I became one of the song leaders at our church I have learned many phenomenal old hymns that I had never heard before. One that really blows me away is “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” An absolutely beautiful hymn in every way.

I decided on the way home from work today that I wanted to record my own rendition of this classic tune. From the first time I heard it I thought it would sound great played in an old, lamenting folk style so that’s how I approached it on this recording.

I hope you like it.

Download the mp3 here.

Here is a wonderful, traditional version by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Stunning.

Piano Peace

September 6th, 2009 |

Recently Riley and I have been doing some rather interesting experiments with MIDI programming. I have been teaching him to create music using only a visual method. I open up one of my virtual pianos and then let him draw the notes on a MIDI grid. He’s tried things such as drawing a smiley face on the grid and then we play it back to see what a smiley face sounds like. We’ve also spelled out our names and then played them back. It’s been pretty fun. Some of the results were interesting and some were just a complete mess.

One of the short pieces we “wrote” sounded really cool so I decided to develop it into something a bit more coherent. I’ve spent a couple of hours on it the past day or so and it think it came out really nice. Check it out.

Piano Peace


August 21st, 2009 |

There is a song on my upcoming record called “Wait Child Wait” that desperately needs a Mellotron part in the chorus. The Mellotron is the keyboard heard in the intro to Strawberry Fields Forever and as luck would have it I don’t own one. Not only do I not own one I also don’t have anything that sounds even remotely similar in my collection of hundreds of keyboard patches.

Last night I went searching around the net to see if I could find anything affordable that might come at least close to emulating the Mellotron sound. After much searching through keyboard libraries that cost at least $150 I came across a Mellotron plug-in called Nanotron. And get this, it’s free.

After seeing that it was being offered for free I figured it would probably sound about as bad as all the other free libraries I’ve tried over the years. I was wrong. Very wrong. It sounds phenomenal. I can’t believe it.

I went and grabbed a MIDI version of Strawberry Fields and ran it through this thing and was left giggling with excitement.

Here’s a short mp3 of the intro played through the Nanotron.

The In Betweens

June 15th, 2009 |

My brother Taylor recently started his own website called The In Betweens.  His idea is to have a bunch of different people tell interesting or funny stories from their life. He asked me if I would do an episode. I agreed.

I just finished it and I’m hoping he’ll think it’s good enough to use. Since I don’t think his site and my site share much of the same traffic I figured I’d go ahead and post it here.

My episode is the story of the most embarrassing event in my life.

Download the mp3 here.

It’s Getting There

May 2nd, 2009 |

I’ve been working a lot lately trying to pull my sax chops back together and it’s starting to come back to me now. One of the main things I’ve been working on is Michael Brecker’s tune Itsbynne Reel. This has always been one of my favorite Brecker tunes. His writing blows my mind and his level of playing is completely unattainable by mere mortals.

I recorded myself playing along with the first minute and a half or so of this tune. It’s a long way from perfect but I thought I’d let everybody here what I’ve accomplished so far. Here is the sheet music if you’d like to follow along at home.

Click here to download the mp3.

Country Gentleman Sample

April 7th, 2009 |

I recorded a short clip of me playing Chet Atkins’ Fright Train (poorly) just so you could hear what the guitar sounds like. I played it through my old Ampeg Jet so there’s all kinds of hum and buzz but what’s the point of using vintage equipment if you don’t get the hum and buzz?

Here’s the mp3.

Here’s the rig.

Going To (fix the guitar in) Memphis

November 22nd, 2008 |

I’ve been doing some work on my thumb-picking the past few days. Specifically, I’ve been working on the main guitar part for my song Going to Memphis. I realized a while ago that there was a fatal flaw in the way I played that part.

I always thought that song felt really square and flat-footed but I never knew why. I figured it was probably due to the fact that the drums were programmed and just couldn’t swing like a real drummer would. But it turns out that wasn’t it. It was the guitar.

That song was the first song I’ve ever written that used that style of guitar playing so I was very new to it at the time. I thought it was pretty cool that I could do it at all so I was pretty thrilled with it back then. But now I’ve gotten a lot better with that type of playing and now I know why it didn’t work right.

The thumb part was playing half notes going from the root to the fifth. But to really be stylistically accurate it should have been doing quarter notes from the root, to the third, to the fifth and back to the third. That’s how the guys who really play that style do it.

So a few nights ago I decided to try and figure out how to do that. The chord voicings I used don’t really lend themselves very well to the new thumb part so it’s taken quite a bit of practice to get it right but I’ve at least got it in the ballpark now. It swings much better this way and feels much lighter.

Click here to hear the mp3. This is one pass through the chorus with the original guitar part and one pass through the chorus with the new guitar part.

Click here to download the full version of this song.