Catching Up With Old Friends

Recently I caught up with an old friend of mine Jeff Smith whom I had lost contact with for about 8 years.

When we finally caught up it was lovely to discover that there was none of the awkwardness or guilt that sometimes comes with a reconnection with a good friend after a long time apart, we just picked up where we left off and interacted as if we saw each other yesterday.

Besides fulfilling a need to reconnect with an old friend, I contacted Jeff to let him know that a song we wrote together way back when called “Billboard Angel” was going to be part of the next SCALA CD release.

I can’t remember how Jeff and I first met but what I do know is that he’s an amazing guitarist, studio engineer and an all round nice guy with unique perspectives on life which make for great conversation and for writing really good songs.

It’s through reconnecting with Jeff that I’ve become really inspired to get stuck into my home studio setup and start recording my songwriting ideas again, something I very thankful for.

I want to finish this post today with another example of a song that Jeff and I wrote. It’s called “Groove With You” and it touches on the concept of two people who just can’t seem to connect fully even though they adore each other. I just love the funkiness of the song.

Enjoy!

Groove With You
© 2001 (C. Stewart / J. Smith)

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Peace,

Corey :)

CD Project Update #10 – Sailing Into The Great Unknown

I know it’s been just over a week since my last post and with recording on hold because of Anthony being on tour for a couple of weeks (lucky bugger) I thought I’d take the opportunity to outline what’s been happening.

Last Wednesday’s recording session saw electric guitar overdubs completed on “Half Hearted Man” and “Back Of My Mind” which made the day a long, slow process.

I’m surprised how drained I felt at the end of the session (and I didn’t even pick up the guitar once).

There have been times of late where I felt that all the songs should’ve been recorded live in the studio at the very beginning but then I listen to the finished takes (especially the finished version of “Billboard Angel”) and I’m reassured that the decision to do everything separately was the right one.

What I am realising is that this CD is going to take much longer than I anticipated and I don’t know how to feel about that. Do I have the patience needed to see this through? I was kind of hoping that the CD launch could coincide with my birthday in January but I’m not so sure now.

Hmmm, all this sounds like I’m perhaps getting cold feet or, having second thoughts about the whole CD project.

Not at all… I think I’m feeling the venerability that almost all songwriters feel when creating something that will project their innermost thoughts and feelings out in the real world for mass consumption.

It seems that now that a finished CD is becoming more and more of a reality with every recording session, I’m becoming more and more aware that I’m sailing into uncharted waters of the great unknown.

In essence, this CD is pushing me way out of my comfort zone and that scares the hell out of me.

This is a question I pose to anyone who has done this before:

  • What has been your experiences with recording your CD?
  • Am I going mad here or, is what I’m feeling normal?
  • Is there any advice you can give me?

Please let me know what you think as I’d love to hear from you all about this but in the meantime I better start learning how to swim in case I get thrown overboard.

Peace,

Corey :)

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SongDare #3 – Exit Music (For A Film) (Radiohead)

This song was requested by BT Cassidy who is is by far the biggest Radiohead fan that I know :)

Enjoy…

This song presented some challenges for me, especially trying to decipher the timing in the “Breathe, keep breathing” part of the song. I think I nailed it pretty well though however, I do love the darkness this song portrays through its lyrics and tonality.

The original version of this song is so very haunting and its my hope that I can retain some of that in this version.

Let me know what you think.

Peace,

Corey :)

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My First Concert – Sting, Memorial Drive 1985

The Dream of the Blue Turtles
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I remember the Dream Of The Blue Turtles concert as it was yesterday.

A group of about 5 of us stayed over a friends place who lived close to the venue the night before to ensure that we got a good position in the lineup. As it turned out, at 8am the next day we were the second group in the line.

The whole day was full of taking in turns going into the city and hanging out listening to music on a cassette player (now I’m showing my age here). The air of anticipation became thicker and thicker the closer we got to showtime.

When the gates eventually opened there was a mad rush to the front. I managed to position myself front and centre of the stage… It couldn’t get any better than that.

Hunters and Collectors were the support band for that night and they had just released their landmark album “Human Frailty” that same year. They were fantastic but of course all eyes and ears were waiting for the main act. Sting and his band of Jazzmen.

When it was time for Sting to start there was a roar of applause from the capacity crowd and by this time anyone who was sitting on the ground were standing.

First to appear on stage was drummer Omar Hakim who kicked things off with an incredible drum solo that seemed to last forever but it was probably around 10 minutes at the most. WOW!

Then, Sting and the rest of band graced the Memorial Drive stage and proceeded to blow everybody away for the next 2 hours. At this stage any thoughts I had in my mind that music wasn’t going to be a permanent part of my life were gone.

For me this concert represented the closest thing I have come to a religious experience and after the final note was played I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and today I’m still doing that.

Peace,

Corey :)

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My First Record – Jeff Wayne’s “War Of The Worlds”

Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the...

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I don’t watch that much television but one of my favourite TV programs going around at the moment is RockWiz on SBS.

On the show, every participant on the program is asked one of two questions as part of their introduction.

1. What was the first record you ever bought (or was bought for you)?
2. What was the first concert you ever went to?

Today I’m going to deal with my first record… It was Jeff Wayne’s “War Of The Worlds”

My Auntie (Mum’s sister) got the double LP for me for my 9th or 10th birthday because every time I went over to her place I would take her copy of War Of The Worlds and put on some headphones and spend all night night listening to it over and over and over again while looking through the extensive album notes and pictures.

I still have the album even now, it’s a treasured part of my music collection.

The War Of The Worlds album captured my imagination and it really influenced my musical leanings as the album turned me on to the concept of orchestral music (I didn’t start studying music until I got into high school).

I found this video of the introduction and the first piece of music (The Coming Of The Martians) performed live and conducted by the composer himself, Jeff Wayne

Man, what a gig to be part of.

I must say… Richard Burton still has the best speaking voice EVER.

Peace,

Corey :)

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SongDare #2 – Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)

This song was requested by Stewart Cook who is one half of an enterprising duo along with John McCall that run the Live ‘n’ Local Open Mic at The Metropolitan Hotel every Tuesday night so if you’re in Adelaide you should check it out. It’s Awesome!

Anyway, here’s the video. This is for you Stewy!

I found this song particularly challenging to pick off because of the detuned nature of the guitar arrangement. I hope that my standard tuning acoustic guitar version does some justice to this great song.

Peace,

Corey :)

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CD Project Update #9 – Mixing The SCALA Exclusive Song “Billboard Angel”

I just wanted to thank all of you who passed on feedback regarding which song should become the “SCALA Exclusive” release. I’ve now finally decided and the winner is Billboard Angel.

As Darren wasn’t able to make it to the studio to do his guitar parts yesterday I took the opportunity to finish off the vocals, minor tweaks and final mix-downs on the song.

I now have a CD of the final mix of Billboard Angel for me to review over the weekend and it sounds fantastic. I’m very happy with how the song has turned out.

Billboard Angel is a song that I co-wrote with a dear friend of mine and amazing instrumentalist/studio producer, Jeff Smith. The song is about a man who falls in love with a picture of a woman on a sexy billboard hence the title of the song.

The concept of the song was Jeff’s idea which demonstrates beautifully his off the wall sense of humour.

Doing the vocals was a bit touch and go at the beginning as I hadn’t properly warmed up before attempting the take but after a few run-throughs and a hot lemon and honey drink to help the vocal chords along I was able to complete the vocal tracks and do some harmonies in the bridge section.

Personally, the mixing process is a fascinating one for me to witness but one where I have no real clue as to what really goes on. My hearing is not that flash at the best of times so it’s wonderful to have Anthony’s ears working on the job at hand.

With every session I’m learning something new. It’s back to overdubbing electric guitars and keyboards next Wednesday.

Peace,

Corey :)

Guy Carrying Guitar Case On Elevator Envied By Everyone On Elevator, Imagines Guy

Onion 2

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This is so funny and at the same time so very true.

I’m sure there’s been a time in every (male) musos life where a similar situation like the one in the article below has occurred.

Personally I know a few musos like this. Do you?

Guy Carrying Guitar Case On Elevator Envied By Everyone On Elevator, Imagines Guy | The Onion – Americas Finest News Source.

PS: Thanks Michael for turning me onto this article :)

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SongDare And Other Video Projects

Picture of a canon video camera.

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Ever since I wrote Pomplamoose & The Covers VS Originals Argument in late July I’ve been mucking around around with my Canon video camera, working out how to use it and, at the same time, trying to work out what my promotions and marketing angle for me using video would be.

Obviously my first step is to put my own songs onto video. I really do think that for me, video is going to become an integral component in my online music marketing however, I’m also going to take a leaf out of Pomplamoose’s book and start experimenting with playing covers.

Why not? There’s a couple of ways I’m going to do this.

First of all I’m going to start a video series on this blog called I Wish I Wrote That where I pay homage to the songs and songwriters that have inspired me throughout my life. It’s where I can show you through video who my musical influences are and it will also give you an opportunity in sharing with me your musical influences as well.

I’m looking forward to some fascinating conversations from this…

Secondly, I’m starting an ongoing series of videos where I play any song that is requested of me, from you. The concept is called SongDare and it’s an idea that has been running through my head ever since I started seriously playing covers either as a soloist or with bands professionally, about 5 years ago.

The concept is very, very simple.

You request a song, and I mean any song, no matter how bizarre or beautiful it may be, and if I can play it just by using my voice and an acoustic guitar, I’ll video it and put it up on YouTube and embed the video on this blog.

As well as putting my own songs onto video, SongDare is something I’m really excited about.

It’s always amazed me the diverse range of songs that people would request me to do for them at my cover shows from Duran Duran to Meatloaf to Garth Brooks to Beyonce. I do love a challenge and SongDare gives me a chance to have a go at playing anything and everything.

So, I now open it up to you.

Contact me with your request and I’ll do my best to learn it, cover it and put it on video for you. When your song is ready to be put online I’ll let you know and send you through the YouTube link. I’ll personally make sure that I put your name in the credits.

Which means YOU get instant bragging rights.

Remember, your SongDare request could be your favourite song or, a song that you’d think would be hilarious to watch me attempt to play.

All I can say is bring it on… I dare you!

Peace,

Corey :)

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