My guitarist, Dave, and I got together last night to work on some new material. For someone who is a bit of a control freak like me, it’s not easy to invite someone into your head-space. Don’t get me wrong, I went into this excited and happy to have someone to collaborate with and to bounce some ideas off of. And I would say that it was a rousing success.
It’s just that I sometimes need to take a deep breath and remember that the essence of my songs is mine all mine but that the details are up for interpretation.
I think that my album was successful because I put my songs in the hands of people who I knew were talented and let them work their magic. It’s my plan to do that with all of my new material as well. I think that the major difference is, with Beer and Pie, we were working on songs that I had been singing for up to eight years. These songs were mine. Their very essence was infused with me.
These new songs? They’re babies. Young, weak, impressionable.
This is where you have to tell yourself that you can either sing the songs as written and hold onto them tighter than a nine-fingered hobbit. Or you can let go a little bit and ask the people who you know have mad skills to add their voices to the choir. Sure, it means sharing a little… But I tend to enjoy my desserts a little more when there are two spoons involved. Maybe the songs will be 80% me and 20% my band, but they’ll be, like 1,000% awesome.
And that’s what counts.
The songs themselves, you say? I’m so glad you asked.
We took my two new songs that I think are my strongest (so far) and we changed them up a little bit. Added a couple of bridges. Reworked the chord progressions so that they were a little more interesting. Added in some space. It was nothing earth shattering, but I sometimes feel that songcrafting is all about the subtleties. The difference between a good song and a great song is sometimes just a few notes, a couple of words and some extra syllables.
We can’t all take, “Scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs, my baby’s got a nice pair of legs” and turn it into “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.” But some of my favorite songs on Beer and Pie started off as my least favorite. And all we had to add was something like seven guitar parts.