Kevin Conner - MY SONGS project

Click buttons below for quick link to the detailed workflow and timeline for each song.

8/7/22 – MY SONGS album to be released on the following music streaming services on September 4, 2022:

Spotify
Instagram
Facebook
Amazon Music
Deezer
ClaroMúsica
Anghami
Tencent
Joox
MediaNet
Apple Music
TikTok, Resso & Luna
Soundtrack by Twitch

Tidal
Saavn
KKBox
Qobuz
Kuack Media
iTunes
YouTube Music
Pandora
iHeartRadio
Boomplay
NetEase
Triller
Yandex Music

7/5/22 – MY SONGS CD is released – click here to listen or for ordering details.

SONGS with production notes and timelines (in descending chronology)

PLAY ANOTHER SLOW SONG

THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2022

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8, 2022

This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 6-8-22.mp3”

  1. I lowered the piano part in the prologue.
  2. I EQed the prologue vocal some more to try to match the quality of the main vocal. I ended up using Monday’s vocal session for the first part of the 1st verse to help match the prologue vocal.
  3. I backed off some reverb on the prologue vocal.
  4. I reduced the strings some more.
  5. I did quite a bit of blending/compositing between the two lead vocal tracks.
  6. I took the Real Guitar off the 2nd half of the 1st chorus and replaced it with low strings.
  7. I dialed back the Gretsch guitar in the instrumental.

TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2022

This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 6-7-22 B.mp3”

  1. I did a composite of Kevin’s two vocal tracks.
  2. I added the piano / vocal prologue.
  3. To the above prologue, I also added the string part with Ample guitar and Ample bass.
  4. I had to do quite a bit of EQing to try to match the prologue vocal with the vocal on the song – two very different-sounding recordings of Kevin’s voice.
  5. I remixed the entire song — bringing the levels down and backing off the string section.

SUNDAY, JUNE 5, 2022

This is mix: “Prologue just guitar.mp3”

Same guitar track as below, except without bass and strings—just solo Ample Guitar.

This is mix: “Prologue with strings and acoustic guitar.mp3”

Just playing around with Ample Acoustic Guitar, Ample Bass and Cakewalk SI Strings.

SATURDAY, JUNE 4, 2022

This is mix: “4 sample prologues.mp3”

These are four sample piano accompaniments for Kevin’s vocal prologue on “Play Another Slow Song.”

MONDAY, MAY 30, 2022

This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 5-30-22.mp3”

  1. I lowered the gain on Kevin’s vocal track and compensated by raising the volume and compressor output.
  2. I put a -1.0 dB limiter on the output bus of Cakewalk (Sonitus Multiband Compressor.)
  3. I lowered the Hammond in certain parts.
  4. I reduced the reverb on the drums.
  5. I muted the RealGuitar during the first 4 measures.

FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2022

This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 5-27-22.mp3”

  1. I fixed some timing and register issues with the acoustic bass (I also tried a couple other bass patches—but the acoustic works best for this song.)
  2. I put a volume envelope on the string section at the very end.

THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2022

This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 5-26-22B.mp3”

  1. I added strings at end.
  2. I put reverb on drums and lowered their volume.
  3. I touched up part of the string part on the chorus – lowered velocities on some notes from as much to 127 down to 65.
  4. Faded out the Hammond leading into the chorus.

TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2022

This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 5-24-22B.mp3”

I brought down the strings and put some automation on that track.

This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 5-24-22.mp3”

  1. I swapped basses – instead of SI Bass, I switched to the Acoustic Bass in Cakewalk TTS1 GM plugin.
  2. I worked up Drums On Demand drums and archived the EZDrummer drum track.
  3. I auto-tuned Kevin’s vocal to chromatic setting and used Bass/Baritone setting in Antares Auto-tune.
  4. I soloed piano and bass tracks and fixed a few more instances of the bass and piano not agreeing on root note.
  5. I added three tracks of Uncle Doug’s background oooo’s and ahhhh’s.
  6. I added Cakewalk SI string section to last chorus.
  7. I pared down the ending — so it’s just Kevin’s vocal and piano.

MONDAY, MAY 23, 2022

This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 5-23-22B.mp3”

  1. Brought the piano in right away after Kevin starts vocal.
  2. Changed RealGuitar from “Steel Guitar stereo” to “Steel Guitar (doubled)” – and mixed it lower for both 1st chorus and instrumental.
  3. Recorded Gretsch guitar for upper part of instrumental and ran it through TH3.
  4. Added Hammond Organ.
  5. I put volume envelopes on organ part.
  6. Extended ending by taking damper pedal cutoff on piano at end..
  7. I soloed the bass and piano tracks and fixed a few root notes that weren’t in agreement.
  8. How about Kevin’s vocal tacit at the very end?

SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2022

This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 5-21-22B.mp3”

  1. Added Kevin’s vocal
  2. Dropped intro and had vocal start song.
  3. Inversion changed to root chord in 2nd chorus.

MONDAY, MAY 9, 2022

This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 5-9-22.mp3”

  1. I chopped off the end portion [intro reprise], so Kevin will end on: “Long, long time . . ago.”.
  2. I added RealGuitar for the 1st chorus.
  3. I added bass and drums.
  4. I inserted an instrumental preceding the bridge.

SUNDAY, MAY 8, 2022

 This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 5-8-22 D.mp3”

I changed the E minor-second inversion chords to root position chords.

This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 5-8-22 B.mp3”

I changed the G-first-inversion chords to E minor-second-inversion chords.

This is mix: “Play Another Slow Song 5-8-22.mp3”

  1. This is just a piano guide track patterned after Kevin’s home demo “Play Another Slow Song demo.m4a” (see below.)
  2. This was made using VI.One’s “Chapel Black Grand” which I played live using the NP-V80 Piaggero as controller keyboard.

PLAY ANOTHER SLOW SONG | words & music by Kevin Conner

Chorus:
Play another slow song, take my breath away
Hold my heart and never let it go
Play another slow song, take me far away
I’m touch by what I cannot see, it was a long, long time ago

I’m somewhere that i shouldn’t be
It’s the middle of the night
It’s dark and I can hardly see
(If everything’s alright) [we’ve intentionally omitted this fourth line]

Then I heard a song you used to sing
It took me by surprise
It reminded me of what you said
And how you held me when i cried

Chorus

Bridge:
Too many roads not taken, answers I don’t have
But music brings me home again, it’s the one thing that will last

Chorus

This is “Play Another Slow Song demo.m4a”

Recorded by Kevin at his  home on 4/26/22.

MR. GRAY

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2022

This is mix: “Mr Gray 6-10-22 E.mp3”

  1. Put minimal EQ on Kevin’s lead vocal.
  2. Dialed back reverb on Kevin’s lead vocal.
  3. Switched compressors on Kevin’s lead vocal from Sonitus compressor to ProChannel with 4:1 ratio.
  4. Switched pianos from VI.ONE black grand to [put patch]
  5. Lengthened string release at end.
  6. Switched basses from acoustic to SI bass.
  7. Put Sonitus Multiband Limiter on master bus.

THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2022

This is mix: “Mr Gray 5-26-22D.mp3”

  1. Put autotune on Kevin’s voice.
  2. Cut the measure preceding instrumental.
  3. Took Elephant2 off main bus.
  4. Panned piano slightly to the left.
  5. EQed and brought up Gretsch tremolo, and panned it slightly to the right to counter the piano.
  6. Muted the Gretsch until the bridge.
  7. I brought up both the cello and viola.

SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2022

This is mix: “Mr Gray 5-21-22B.mp3”

  1. Added Kevin’s vocal
  2. Add bass
  3. Hmmm . . . where did the tremolo guitar go??

SATURDAY, MAY 7, 2022

This is mix: “Mr Gray 5-7-22 D.mp3”

  1. I added the F#minors.
  2. I added a viola part.
  3. I added Gretsch guitar w/tremolo to 3rd verse.

SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2022

This is: “Mr Gray demo 5-1-22.m4a”

Recorded by Kevin at his home on 5/1/22.

MR. GRAY | lyrics: Mark Haines • music: Kevin Conner
key: A / tempo: 108

Mr. Gray was a character, a carpenter by trade.
But the skill he had along those lines was not often displayed.
He worked just when he fancied and he was fancy-free.
So he took the jobs that caught his eye and let the others be

I recall he helped my Grandpa rebuild the kitchen porch.
They took it slow, with lots of breaks and stories back and forth.
My Grandma served their lunch outside. They ate it in the shade.
She said she’d never seat that man at a table that she’d laid.

Though Grandma always disapproved, my Grandpa was his friend.
They valued good companionship as life drew near its end.
They sat out in the Elm tree’s shade, so peaceful and serene.
The finest two old characters I think I’ve ever seen.

White stubble was his whiskers, brown nubbins were his teeth.
He had wild, bushy eyebrows with bright blue eyes beneath.
He smelled of beer and woodsmoke and dressed like some old bum.
His philosophy was simple; “I (just) take things as they come.

Mr. Gray was a character, a carpenter by trade.

This is: “Mr Gray demo 3.m4a”

Recorded by Kevin at his home on 4/26/22.

I WANNA GO HOME

SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2022

This is mix: “I Wanna Go Home 5-21-22.mp3”

  1. Added background harmonies.

MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2022

This is mix: “I Wanna Go Home 4-25-22.mp3”

  1. I aligned a few more kick & snare hits.
  2. I backed off reverb on drums – I thought it was sounding a bit indistinct.
  3. Instead of Elephant, I used Ozone > CD Master with Exciter and Widener. 

SUNDAY, APRIL 24, 2022

This is mix: “I Wanna Go Home C 4-24-22.mp3”

  1. I took the snare out of the 2nd half of the 2nd half of the second chorus (follow that?)
  2. I put a tom fill towards the end of the 2nd chorus.
  3. I mastered with Elephant > UltraSmooth +1.5 dB.

This is mix: “I Wanna Go Home B 4-24-22.mp3”

  1. I held off bringing the keyboard and strings in until the first bridge (signature guitar progression.)
  2. Everything else is put on hold until the final chorus.
  3. I put a linear fade-in on the keyboard part on the first bridge. The entrance had seemed a bit abrupt.
  4. I added Breverb reverb to drums.
  5. I added ride cymbal to the last half of the final chorus.
  6. I scaled back on the snare hits on the first half of the final chorus — then they come in on 2 and 4 of the 2nd half of the final chorus.
  7. I used Elephant2 for mastering in ACL. I used the UltraSmooth +1.5 dB preset.

SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2022

This is mix: “I Wanna Go Home B 4-23-22.mp3”

  1. I changed the EQ on the vocal/guitar track to cut a resonant frequency on the guitar around the open D string.
  2. I lowered the volume of the keys track.
  3. I panned the strings back to the center.
  4. I took the “smooth” preset off on the master bus and set the Sonitus Multiband compressor to default and just used a -0.5 dB limiter.
  5. Instead of the “Country” preset in Ozone, I used the “CD Master with Exciter and Widener.”

This is mix: “I Wanna Go Home 4-23-22.mp3”

  1. 4/22/22 – Added bass, keyboard and drums. Manually aligned parts to original, stereo vocal/guitar recording.
  2. 4/23/22 – added strings.
  3. Mastered in ACL and used “Country” preset in Ozone plug-in.

This is mix: “I Wanna Go Home – Kevin Conner.mp3”

This was originally recorded in 2009 at my studio. It was a live, stereo recording of Kevin singing and playing his Martin D-35 guitar.

CARRY ME

DOUG’S ARRANGEMENTS, MIXES AND NOTES
(song is in Eb and tempo is 72 bpm)

This is the original demo that Kevin emailed Doug on March 7, 2021.

11/16/21 – Kevy, I think your lyrics are just fine as is; but below are some unfiltered suggestions that have popped into my head that you may or may not find helpful.

  1.  “There’s a home I should be going to” (Ending with a preposition doesn’t seem very lyrical – could this be reworded?)
  2.  “My directions seem so pointless” (Is there a better word than “pointless” or maybe use a different wording for the same thought?)
  3.  “She would gently lay beside me // Lay her hair upon my knees?” Could these lines be re-written? My thoughts: 1) the repeated use of the word “lay” – actually in the first line, grammatically the word should be “lie.” 2) How does one “gently lay?” Wouldn’t that mean placing something carefully down? I do know what you’re meaning, but might there be a better way to put it?
  4.  In the chorus: “And it’s resting that I need” (is there a better word than “resting”? It’s a participle/gerund and maybe a one or two-syllable noun would be better, e.g. comfort, solace, peace.
  5. I understand the point of your bridge, but I’m wondering if it could be fine-tuned, e.g., “And maybe by tomorrow, my guiding star will reappear // And if I am to follow, there’ll be one that’s oh so clear.”
  6. It’s the final verse that concerned me the most – and again, I understand where you’re coming from. But can this be stated in a different way that isn’t so literal? And maybe part of my problem with “She walks away from me” is the tense – present. It’s as though we have two, very important things happening concurrently: Your imperative in the chorus, “Carry me” and the final verse, “She walks away from me.” 
I know how frustrating it may be to have someone suggest changes in something that probably came as an inspiration, but I’m just offering another set of eyes and ears for perspective. As I said, I think your lyrics stand as is and would be appreciated by listeners. So, the above suggestions are just my two cents worth.
 
Doug
 
PS. Below are the lyrics as I hear them. Let me know if there should be any corrections.

Carry Me | Kevin Conner

These days I seem to wander
Over dark and lonely streets
The buildings are torn down
And if they’re not, they soon will be

There’s a weariness that haunts me,
And I don’t know where it leads,
There’s a home I should be going to
But it’s somewhere out of reach

I don’t know how to ask for guidance
I’ve been spinning round and round
My directions seem so pointless
As I’m neither lost nor found

There are times to take a lover
Times to leave that love alone
But your heart won’t know the difference
When you’re far away from home

So Carry Me, Carry Me
I am tired, I am weary
And it’s resting that I need
Carry Me, Carry Me,
If you’re willing and you’re able
There’s a favor that I need,
Carry Me

[new bridge] And I hope somewhere, sometime, someday,
I will find that someone who’ll bring me home to stay

* [original bridge:] And maybe by tomorrow, the stars will reappear
And if I have to follow, there’ll be one that’s oh so clear

I’m in my years of golden slumbers
Where I try to be at peace
She would gently lay beside me
Lay her head upon my knee

Now my heart is filled with sorrow
And my eyes cannot believe
I’ve seen my last tomorrow
As she walks away from me

So Carry Me, Carry Me
I am tired, I am weary
And it’s resting that I need
Carry Me, Carry Me,
If you’re willing and you’re able
There’s a favor that I need . . .

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2021

On 11/17/2021 10:12 AM, Doug wrote:

 Kevy,

Oftentimes the interpretation of memorable lyrics is ambiguous – as with many of the Lennon-McCartney lyrics. I can imagine some well-intentioned friend in his inner circle saying to Lennon:

“Hmmmm, ‘yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog’s eye.’ I just don’t think that works, John. Just what are you trying to say? If you’re wanting to be writing a hit song, I think that imagery is just too disturbing. You might consider rewriting that line.”

So, even though one’s lyrics may be grammatically or logically flawed, a writer’s first instincts indeed may be ultimately the most-effective. But it doesn’t hurt to be open to suggestion.

Doug

* * *

On 11/17/2021 5:39 AM, Kevin (kkconner@mchsi.com) wrote:
Thanks for the comments. I will look into some of your suggestions
and see what I can come up with. Couple things: the line is Lay her
"head" upon my knee. I really like the line My direction seems so pointless.
I do want to make sense with my lyrics but also there is poetic licensing
that I think applies to song writing. Just quick. I will look into this further.
Thanks for the feedback.

On 11/17/2021 11:46 AM, Doug wrote:

Hi Kevy,

Oh, I just remembered something I was going to add to yesterday’s comments:

On the LAST chorus, at the very end, what would you think of ending the song on the line:

“If you’re willing and you’re able
There’s a favor that I need . . .”

And omit the final “Carry me.”

Let the listener fill in the final words.

Doug

* * *

On 11/17/2021 6:05 PM, Kevin wrote:

I really like that! (Leaving off Carry Me) And your previous email. You're exactly right.
It doesn't hurt to make a suggestion. I just left you the new bridge on your
answering machine. Completely different. I hope you can kinda make it out. I like it. 

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2021

Kevin has written a new bridge for “Carry Me” and will be having Sean record the complete song this coming Monday (Nov 22) on his iPhone. Sean will then email me in the file.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2021

Sean and Kylie Goldberg recorded Kevin re-doing a demo of “Carry Me.” This version has the new bridge and omits the final “Carry me” at the end.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2021

During a phone conversation, I’d suggested to Kevin that he swap stanzas 4 and 6 (see original lyric structure at top of page) so that the “Now my heart is filled with sorrow . . . “ stanza precedes the first chorus and that “There are times to take a lover . . . “ stanza precedes the final chorus.

He said he’d give the change some consideration.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2021

In a phone message this morning, Kevin agreed to swap stanzas 4 and 6; so the new lyric structure is shown below:

Carry Me | Kevin Conner

These days I seem to wander
Over dark and lonely streets
The buildings are torn down
And if they’re not, they soon will be

There’s a weariness that haunts me,
And I don’t know where it leads,
There’s a home I should be going to
But it’s somewhere out of reach

I don’t know how to ask for guidance
I’ve been spinning round and round
My directions seem so pointless
As I’m neither lost nor found

Now my heart is filled with sorrow
And my eyes cannot believe
I’ve seen my last tomorrow
As she walks away from me

So Carry Me, Carry Me
I am tired, I am weary
And it’s resting that I need
Carry Me, Carry Me,
If you’re willing and you’re able
There’s a favor that I need,
Carry Me

And I hope somewhere, sometime, someday,
I will find that someone who’ll bring me home to stay

I’m in my years of golden slumbers
Where I try to be at peace
She would gently lay beside me
Lay her head upon my knee

There are times to take a lover
Times to leave that love alone
But your heart won’t know the difference
When you’re far away from home

So Carry Me, Carry Me
I am tired, I am weary
And it’s resting that I need
Carry Me, Carry Me,
If you’re willing and you’re able
There’s a favor that I need . . .

 * * *

On 11/24/21 12:35 pm, Doug wrote:

Hi Kevy,

Interestingly, the tempos for your original demo and the one you just recorded the other day are identical, 72 bpm (one’s normal heart rate.) How apropos for a song from the heart.

I did get your phone message earlier today regarding swapping those two stanzas. This is not like changing the chords or song structure, so there’s nothing set in stone. You’ll have plenty of time to ruminate about that swap before we do the vocals on the finished mix – you may decide to keep the original lyric structure . . . or, who knows, maybe even do some rewriting.

What would Allen Ginsberg say? (Or haven’t you watched the McCartney interview yet?)

Doug 

 * * *

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2021

On 11/28/21 10:25 pm, Doug wrote:

Kevy,

Just a quick update on “Carry Me.” Today (Sunday, Nov 28,) I’ve been working up a fairly literal version of your piano part – with all the pauses and syncopations, etc. I might have it ready to post sometime tomorrow (Monday.) It’s not going to be too exciting to listen to, but it’ll be a guide track. I’ll put a copy of it on the web page for you to listen to. You can make sure that the chords are all correct and that the pauses are the lengths you want them.

I’ll eventually use that track as a guide to build the arrangement around. And, as I’d mentioned before, I’ll work up some type of piano intro which probably will be a little longer that what you currently have.

All for now.

Doug

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2021

 

This audio file, “Carry Me 11-29-21.mp3”, is my transcription of Kevin’s original piano part. This is a guide to be sure I have all the chords, song structure and rhythms right before moving forward with the final arrangement.

My transcription of Kevin’s piano part for “Carry Me”

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2021

I changed the Gmin7 chords at the beginning of the chorus to Eb (first inversions.) I also added an Eb (first inversion) preceding the bridge.

Also, I changed the instruments from the Yamaha NP-V80 general MIDI sounds to VI.One samples using Kontakt. Plus I worked a bit on the drum track.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2021

1. Added piano intro
2. Added low strings
3. Fine-tuned drum track

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2021

  1. This is “Carry Me 2 12-3-21.mp3”
  2. New bridge section
  3. Took drums and strings out of the 3rd verse.
  4. Modified piano part immediately preceding the bridge.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2021

Kevin has decided to go back to the original lyric structure (below) retaining two notable changes:

1) the “hanging” line at the very end “There’s a favor that I need . . .”

2) the modified lyric for the bridge: “I hope somewhere, sometime, someday . . .” to conform with the new bridge arrangement.

Carry Me | Kevin Conner

These days I seem to wander
Over dark and lonely streets
The buildings are torn down
And if they’re not, they soon will be

There’s a weariness that haunts me,
And I don’t know where it leads,
There’s a home I should be going to
But it’s somewhere out of reach

I don’t know how to ask for guidance
I’ve been spinning round and round
My direction seems so pointless
As I’m neither lost nor found

There are times to take a lover
Times to leave that love alone
But your heart won’t know the difference
When you’re far away from home

Carry Me, Carry Me
I am tired, I am weary
And it’s resting that I need
Carry Me, Carry Me,
If you’re willing and you’re able
There’s a favor that I need,
Carry Me

[bridge] I hope somewhere, sometime, someday . . .

I’m in my years of golden slumbers
Where I thought I’d be at peace
She would gently lie beside me
Lay her head upon my knee

Now my heart is filled with sorrow
And my eyes cannot believe
I’ve seen my last tomorrow
As she walks away from me

Carry Me, Carry Me
I am tired, I am weary
And it’s resting that I need
Carry Me, Carry Me,
If you’re willing and you’re able
There’s a favor that I need . . .

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2021

  1. Added nylon-string guitar part
  2. Lowered bass guitar
  3. Panned piano slightly to right.
  4. Panned nylon-string guitar slightly to left.
  5. Added tambourine to last chorus.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2021

  1. Added Storia III acoustic guitar.
  2. Cleaned up timing on nylon-string guitar track.
  3. Lowered volume level of bass.
  4. Removed nylon-string guitar from bridge.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2021

This mix, “Carry Me 3 with Kevin’s vocal 12-17-21.mp3”, was done after Kevin had left the recording session. What I did:
1. Aligned, trimmed and pitch-corrected harmony vocals.
2. Cloned Kevin’s lead vocal and put on separate track with pitch correction.
3. Changed vocal reverb on Kevin’s lead vocal.
4. Changed compressor or Kevin’s lead vocal.
5. Edited out extraneous noises on vocal and harmony tracks. 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 1, 2022

This mix is “Carry Me 1-1-22.mp3.”
1. Added Doug’s harmony vocals
2. On first chorus, cut out harmonies on “Carry me” and left the “response” oooooo’s.
3. Did a minor tweak on the nylon string guitar track – brought out a “sixth” lick on final verse right after “lay her head upon my knee.”

SUNDAY, JANUARY 2, 2022

This mix is “Carry Me 1-2-22.mp3”
1. Mixed down the “response” oooo’s on the first chorus.
2. Added low strings (cello, viola and violin) on final refrain in the last chorus.
3. Added bass slide to low Ab at fadeout.
4. Used different reverb on lead vocal.
5. Used Ozone 3 preset “CD Master” during mixdown to mp3.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 2022

This mix is “Carry Me B 1-6-22.mp3”
1. Fixed pitch correction artifact on “There are times to take a lover” at 1:05.
2. Fixed vocal attack on “Carry me” at 1:53.
3. Extended the fadeout slightly.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO DANCE

THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2022

This is mix: “Would You Like To Dance 11-1-21 6-9-22 C.mp3”

  1. Kevin redid the opening line “I don’t know if you knew this” on Monday, June 6, 2022.
  2. I recorded the NP-V80 live string part to a WAV and added Sonitus surround effect.
  3. I brought down the lead guitar part at the end from 5.9 dB to 5.0 dB.
  4. I fixed some bass notes that were cutting off prematurely due to the preceding notes being slightly too long.

11/8/21 – Kevin said Kristin informed him that Hillary Lindsey may be interested in this song.

Final mix of “Would You Like To Dance” done on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 (Doug’s note: We thought this was the final mix at the time!)

  1. Adjusted placement of guitar solo at end as in the previous mix it was slightly ahead of the beat.
  2. Automated the guitar solo panning slowly from left to right.
  3. Rebalanced harmony vocals and replaced the third occurence of the “Dance” harmony part, with an earlier one (cut and paste) which was more in sync.
  4. Extended the fade an additional 6 seconds (from previous mix) to accomodate credits in the YouTube video.

Mix of “Would You Like To Dance” done on Tuesday, November 2, 2021.

  1. Touched up the bass track
  2. Brought up the background vocals
  3. Brought up the new piano part at the very end (right after guitar solo)
  4. Got rid of a “blip” in the guitar solo
  5. Delayed entrance of the high strings at end until the 2nd repetition of the chorus
  6. Did a longer fade
  7. Ran track through eMastering service

Mix of “Would You Like To Dance” as of Monday, November 1, 2021.

Changes and additions:

  1. I redid the lead guitar solo at end because the preset I’d used (#22) on the Mustang LT25 had too much reverb and sounded muddy. So, I switched to preset #2 (Silky lead) and that sounded much better. 
  2. High strings added at end with the Yamaha NP-V80 keyboard.
  3. I added acoustic guitar (Yamaha Storia III) on final chorus through to end
  4. Added vocal harmony part
  5. Additional piano part (M-Audio Key Rig) at end starting at fade-out
  6. Nylon string guitar part brought up in the mix.

Mix of “Would You Like To Dance” as of Saturday, October 30, 2021.

This mix has the harmony vocals “tightened up.” They’ve been aligned with attacks and releases synced up. I’ve also added my vocals as a third part on the harmonies.

I’ve held off with the harmonies until the 2nd repetition of “Do you want to dance” at the end, because I’ll be adding some acoustic guitar starting on the first “Do you want to dance,” and I want the “build” to gradual at the end – one thing at a time.

Also, I’d added an electric guitar part at the end using my Gretsch G2655 through a Fender Mustang LT25. There are a couple more things to add at the end (acoustic guitar and high strings) plus a couple bass notes need to be fixed.

Mix of “Would You Like To Dance” as of Sunday, October 24, 2021.

This mix, “Would You Like To Dance sans melody 10-24-21.mp3” has an updated piano intro with added “Big Blue” reverb. Also drums have been tweaked (fine-tuning along with added “Big Blue” reverb) as well as minor changes to the piano part at very end.

Mixes “Would You Like To Dance” as of Saturday, October 23, 2021.

This track, “Would You Like To Dance sans melody – 10-23-21.mp3” is the arrangement I’m thinking might work well for this song. Keep in mind that this is unmixed, and there will be a lot of refinement involved with the existing parts.

This track, “Would You Like To Dance w melody 10-23-21.mp3” is the same track as “Would You Like To Dance sans melody – 10-23-21.mp3” (above) except with a guide melody track.

Click above to listen to “Would You Like To Dance 1B 9-25-21”.

9/25/21

Kevy,

Above “Would You Like To Dance 1B 9-25-21” is a first-draft arrangement just to see if I have all the chords (and structure) right after we’ve tweaked the original demo.

As we continue to refine this mix, I’ll post subsequent arrangements and mixes on this page.

You have a couple ritards leading into the choruses on your original demo, and I will eventually put those tempo changes in the final mix. But for now, I just want to make sure the structure and chords conform to your new lyrics, etc.

Remember, the chorus is repeated twice at the end and then the third time just sing, “Would you like to dance . . .” and then a lead guitar will come in and play an instrumental during the long fade.

Doug

Re-edit of “Right In Front Of Me” as of Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

9/7/21

Kevy,

Since I believe “Would you like to dance” is a much stronger hook than “You were standing right in front of me”, I’ve positioned “Would you like to dance” as the chorus with the hook line repeating in line #3 of the chorus.

I’ve saved “You were standing right in front of me” as kind of a bridge at the end of chorus #2, and that line appears just once in the song.

You might consider re-writing both the lyric and melody of the 2nd line of the chorus to avoid repetition, e.g.:

“Would you like to dance to the music,
[new line here to avoid repetition]
Would you like to dance to the music,
This song has always meant a lot to me”

And at the very end of the song, I’d just sing the chorus once; and then sing just the single line “Would you like to dance” during the first chorus repetition (on which you’re now hearing your vocals.) Then the rest of the chorus (and third chorus repetition) have just an instrumental with a slow fade.

Below are the lyrics re-structured to follow the edited demo. And remember, although you’re hearing yourself singing the chorus three times at the end, the finished arrangement would be just ONE sung chorus at the end (with the single line, “Would you like to dance” at just the beginning of the 2nd chorus repetition.) The two, successive choruses at the end would be essentially instrumental with slow fade.

Confused yet??!!

Fat Doug

Click above to listen to re-edit of Kevin’s original demo for “Right In Front Of Me.”

Original demo of “Right In Front Of Me” as of Monday, August 23, 2021.

This is the original demo of “Right In Front Of Me” that Kevin emailed to me on August 23, 2021.

Kevin and I subsequently worked on the arrangement (see above), and the tune was eventually retitled “Would You Like To Dance.”

Would You Like To Dance | Kevin Conner 2021

I don’t know if you knew this
The first time that we met
I should have turned around
And walked away

We talked for just a moment
Made pleasant conversation
But I don’t believe
You even saw my face

I said “So long” and turned away
It was time to go
But your hand tugged on my shoulder
So I looked back, and you asked

Would You Like To Dance to the music
This song has always meant a lot to me
Would You Like To Dance to the music
This song has always meant a lot to me

There were more times spent together
It gave us time to talk
But mostly we just listened
To our hearts

It’s funny when you listen
And the words are carefully chosen
You know what’s been inside you
From the start

And good things happen to good people
Or so the story goes
And I believe it’s happening to me
And so I asked

Would You Like To Dance to the music
This song has always meant a lot to me
I took her hand and then it started
To open up my eyes so I could see
You were always right in front of me

Would You Like To Dance to the music
This song has always meant a lot to me
Would You Like To Dance to the music
This song has always meant a lot to me

Would you like to dance . . .

Instrumental and fade

CARRY ME OUT TO SEA

"CARRY ME OUT TO SEA"

written by Mark Haines and Kevin Conner

Lyricist Mark Haines.

FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2022

This is mix: “Three song comparison 6-3-22.mp3”

  1. There are three songs here as per the order of the final sequence of the album: “Only You”, “Carry Me Out To Sea” and “Fire In The Restaurant.”
  2. This MP3 compilation consists of two, new mixes done (6/3/22) “Carry Me Out To Sea 6-3-22.WAV” and “Fire In The Restaurant 6-3-22.WAV” (I have also posted the mp3 version of each of these mixes on this page.)
  3. The issue was that Kevin felt the vocal on “Carry Me Out To Sea” seemed a bit higher than the vocal on the preceding cut (“Only You.”) Upon checking the Audio Cleaning Lab project, it did appear that the vocal on “Carry Me Out To Sea” was stronger in the 700 Hz to 1 kHz range.
  4. Kevin also mentioned that he still thought the vocal on “Fire In The Restaurant” seemed a little low. I speculated that the piano might be masking some of the vocal — especially in the first verse. So, I panned the piano off center to 35% right to counter-balance Guitar 1 which is at 35% left.
  5. I also rebalanced the vocal harmonies on “Fire In The Restaurant” as I felt my top part stuck out. So, I brought the harmony vocals more to the center and lowered the volume of my Harmony 3 (top part.)
  6. I brought up the Hammond after it’s initial entrance (I felt it had been swallowed in the mix.) But it went back to the previous volume after that 2nd verse.
  7. I raised Guitar 1 on the measure immediately preceding the instrumental to emphasize that 9-chord. 
  8. On “Carry Me Out To Sea”, I removed Elephant2 with preset UltraSmooth +4.5 and replaced it with Ozone preset “CD Master with Widener & Exciter” but I deactivated all the modules except the Parametric EQ and Harmonic Exciter. I boosted the EQ at 7 kHz and 12 kHz and notched out 150 Hz to clean up the track — without the EQ the track sounds dull. Before in ACL, I’d used ACL’s EQ to touch up the song, but Ozone is much more exacting.
  9. Due to the boosting of the EQ, I noticed some sibilance towards the end of the song, so I went in and sliced that very narrow chunk and put another instance of Ozone’s parametric EQ and notched out that high frequency to attenuate the sibilance.

FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2022

This is mix: “Carry Me Out To Sea 6-3-22.mp3”

  • For details on this mix, see the notes directly above for “Three song comparison 6-3-22.mp3”

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2021

12/11/21 – I added an English Horn part plus tweaked the string part. Also saved project as a WAV for YouTube video.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2021

CARRY ME OUT TO SEA
lyrics Mark Haines | music Kevin Conner

I live in the Middle West at the edge of a great, wide plain
Where the rolling hills turn green in summer, and the rivers run with rain
My dad’s dad and his dad too, they worked the good, green earth
But my grandfather’s grandfather was a sailing man by birth

And it’s a far, far cry from where I am to where I want to be
So, put me on a sailing ship and carry me out to sea

I’ve loved the life, I’ve loved the land; but my hands are caked with dirt
I long to sing the sailors’ songs and wear the cap and shirt
Sometimes I fall to dreaming in the middle of the day
The clouds sail by above me, and the cornfields fade away

And it’s a far, far cry from where I am to where I want to be
So, put me on a sailing ship and carry me out to sea

Kevin Conner guitar/vocal recording of “Carry Me Out to Sea” done at Bird-On-Fire Recording.

I WANT TO BE WITH YOU

SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2022

This is mix: “I Want To Be With You – Ozone.mp3”

  1. Compressed this file slightly.

SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2022

This mix is: “I Want To Be With You.mp3”

  1. I edited out a “fudged note” on the acoustic at 1:39 by copying and pasting a spot later in the song that corresponded to the same spot in the refrain.
  2. Using Audio Cleaning Lab, I declipped five spots in the file that had clipped.

CRY, CRY, CRY

TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2022

This is mix: “Cry Cry Cry  5-3-22.mp3”

  1. I cut one “Cry cry cry” at end of first refrain.
  2. I cut second to the last harmony “Cry cry cry” at the end of the song.
  3. The length has been trimmed from 2:57 to 2:51. 

SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2022

This is mix: “Cry Cry Cry 4-30-22.mp3”

  1. I took Kevin’s vocal that he did on [insert date] and imported it into my [insert date] project which already had background vocals.
  2. I aligned my background vocals which consisted of four tracks (two vocal harmony tracks, my original lead vocal and a bass vocal track.)
  3. I “mixed and matched” various elements from my original vocal tracks and aligned them to Kevin’s phrasing.
  4. I added two effects buses to the Master bus: a delay bus and a doubler/reverb bus. I added effects sends to all the vocal channels.
  5. I tweaked the Sonitus Compressor settings for all the vocals.
  6. In ACL I used the “CD Master with Widener and Exciter” preset in Ozone.

ONLY YOU

FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2022

This is mix: “Only You 5-27-22B.mp3”

  1. I altered note values for both the doubled trumpets and bari sax parts—made their articulations a little more crisp.
  2. I added Gretsch electric lick to two spots in first and second verses—where it goes I, IV, I, V.

SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2022

THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2022

This is mix: “Only You in synch 5-5-01.mp3”

  1. Yesterday I’d added Gretsch guitar part for the instrumental – which didn’t seem to work. So, today I added a dual trumpet track (octaves) and a bari sax track – all in unison with the guitar part which I like.
  2. I added a delay preset to all of the three parts in the instrumental.
  3. I’d edited Kevin’s voice yesterday due to some timing issues.
  4. Today I dialed back on the reverb and delay on Kevin’s lead vocal.
  5. I mastered this in ACL with Ozone plug-in using the “CD Master with Widener and Exciter” preset. I set the Volume Maximizer to -2.0 dB.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 4, 2022

TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2022

This is mix: “Only You in synch – Key Rig – brass.mp3”

This is mix: “Only You in synch Ample guitar.mp3”

This is just the Ample guitar soloed in the above selection.

CALIFORNIA BOUND

SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2022

THE POOH SONG

SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2022

This is mix: “The Pooh Song.mp3”

  1. This was ripped from Kevin’s 2009 CD that was recorded here live using two, SM81 mics in X/Y configuration.
  2. This will be the final songs on Kevin’s “My Songs” CD.

FIRE IN THE RESTAURANT

FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2022

This is mix: “Fire In The Restaurant 6-3-22.mp3”

  1. Kevin had mentioned that he still thought the vocal on “Fire In The Restaurant” seemed a little low. I speculated that the piano might be masking some of the vocal — especially in the first verse. So, I panned the piano off center to 35% right to counter-balance Guitar 1 which is at 35% left.
  2. I also rebalanced the vocal harmonies on “Fire In The Restaurant” as I felt my top part stuck out. So, I brought the harmony vocals more to the center and lowered the volume of my Harmony 3 (top part.)
  3. I brought up the Hammond after it’s initial entrance (I felt it had been swallowed in the mix.) But it went back to the previous volume after that 2nd verse.
  4. I raised Guitar 1 on the measure immediately preceding the instrumental to emphasize that 9-chord. 

SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2022

This is mix: “Fire in The Restaurant 5-22-22.mp3”

a. Fixed bass line
b. brought up lead vocal
c. added harmony vocal on chorus
d. took piano down
e. Put drum ending on
f. took out guitars on 3rd verse
g. brought Hammond solo up
h. brought harmony vocals up

SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2022

This is mix: “Fire In The Restaurant 5-21-22.mp3”

  1. Added Kevin’s lead vocal
  2. Added background vocals
  3. Added piano

SUNDAY, MAY 8, 2022

This mix is “Fire In The Restaurant 5-8-22.mp3”

  1. I raised the level of the Hammond in the instrumental from 0.0 dB to +2.0 dB.
  2. I raised the first lick of the slide guitar in the instrumental by +1.0 dB.
  3. I lowered Guitar 1 (chunky rhythm) during the instrumental by 1 dB.

SATURDAY, MAY 7, 2022

FRIDAY, MAY 6, 2022

This mix is: “Fire In The Restaurant B 5-6-22.mp3”

  1. I imported the five tracks I generated in BIAB into Cakewalk.
  2. Then I loaded the BIAB file into RealBand and generated a slide guitar solo track.
  3. I imported the solo track into Cakewalk and sliced and diced it until I found sections that fit into the instrumental section.
  4. I mastered the project in ACL using the Ozone plugin with “CD Master with Widener and Exciter.” I set the Loudness Maximizer at -2.0.

This is “Fire In The Restaurant Kevins demo 5-6-22.m4a”

Kevin re-wrote the lyrics yesterday and then further refined them by updating the 3rd line of the third verse and also the 2nd line of the third chorus.

FIRE IN THE RESTAURANT (updated lyrics) | words & music Kevin Conner

1. There’s a fire in the restaurant, the place is going to burn down
My heart has never felt this way, I don’t hear a sound
I know she wants to dance with me, there’s a fever in my soul
When I hold her close her eyes meet mine, it’s time to rock and roll

2. The first time that I saw her, I couldn’t look away
Her eyes were soft and tender, I didn’t know what to say
Something’s burning somewhere, my mind, my heart they’re gone
Just take what she’s been giving you, it’ll last your whole life long

Chorus: There’s a fire in the restaurant
Makes me want to shout
There’s a fire in the restaurant
I hope it never goes out

[Instrumental]

3. As we sat down that evening, I ordered two more drinks
She smiled, took my hand in hers, and asked me what I think
I don’t know where she’s going, there’s a spark that’s heating up
She took me in her arms and said, I’ll never give you up

Chorus: There’s a fire in the restaurant
Makes me want to shout
There’s a fire in the restaurant
I hope it never goes out

There’s a fire in the restaurant
Of that I have no doubt
There’s a fire in the restaurant
I hope it never goes out

Below are the original lyrics Kevin submitted to me on 5/4/22.

FIRE IN THE RESTAURANT | words & music Kevin Conner

1. Somewhere I heard a scream, don’t go down that street
Somewhere I heard a scream, ’bout to make my night complete
Somewhere I heard a scream, still standing on two feet
If you can’t hear the screaming what good are you to me

2. No one came to help me, I guess I’m on my own
No one came to help me, I’m lost and all alone
No one came to help me, I really don’t want to go home
If help is all you’re looking for you only need a phone

Chorus: There’s a fire in the restaurant
Makes me want to scream and shout
There’s a fire in the restaurant
Who’s going to put it out

[Instrumental]

3. There’s a fire in the restaurant, the place is going to burn down
There’s a fire in the restaurant, the toast will finally get brown
There’s a fire in the restaurant, it’s time for me to leave town
If you don’t feel the fire you’re like a circus with no clown

Repeat chorus

THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2022

This is mix: “Fire In The Restaurant – revised chorus_Render.m3”

  1. I added an F# chord at the end of the chorus.
  2. I added another chorus (same structure as chorus #1) right before the final chorus (which has been left the same as the first version.)
  3. I took out the instrumental section the heavy 2 and 4 snare backbeat (that first appeared in the first chorus.)
  4. I added the 2 and 4 backbeat on the 2nd and 3rd choruses. 

WEDNESDAY, May 4, 2022

This is mix: “Fire In The Restaurant – Amplitube – 5-4-22.mp3”

This is a slide guitar style blues. This is the mix that both Kevin and I prefer.

This is mix: “Fire In The Restaurant – TX – 5-4-22.mp3”

This is a Texas blues style.