Luna – for ‘Roo
This is a light and airy song, reminding me of driving down Alligator Alley in Miami in an old rag-top MG.
The overall flow of this piece is based around repetitive measures for the main rhythm, then switches to a higher pitch based on the main rhythm theme, followed by a short bridge transition chord, next a Lead Solo overtop the main rhythm, and finally fading out to single picked notes from the main rhythm.
This instrumental contains a total of 10 chords, which are a grab-bag of major, minor, suspended, 6th, 7th, and 9th chords giving it a jazzy feel. The song was recorded live through a Focusrite Scarlet interface, with one effect from the VS2 FX-Chain in Sonar Producer X3. The Lead Guitar Solo utilizes a Lydian Augmented Scale, which makes it sound a bit like a saxophone.
This song began as a solo guitar score for the Classical Guitar, but evolved over time to the world of the electric guitar with full band accompaniment. It has a very surreal, almost Pink Floydish characteristic to it, though not intentional, I’m okay with that description.
What’s interesting about the lead solo is that it starts one beat ahead of it’s containing measure which, and although that would not normally be good practice it mimics pickup notes that typically begin before the start of the first full measure at the beginning of a score.
In contrast to pick up notes. it adds a certain tension to the beginning of the leading notes that begin the solo, and as the backing rhythm flows, the solo’s extended “hold and sustain” notes crossover measures then transitions to a blending of the solo with the rhythm which calms the tension into beautiful harmony. It is like the heighted passion of lovers who re-bond together; yet more intensity after a tense moment of difference or disagreement between the two.
This is a heavy driving instrumental rock song, ending and fading out during a long solo in E major making heavy use of full measure phrasing utilizing high and low open E’s for emphasis in the open, 1st, 12th, 15th , and 17th positions. I picked up the speed of the scales dramatically faster just before the fade out, and in retrospect I wish I would have extended that out a bit longer.
James Center Jam
- Originally Recorded: December 13th, 2019
- Brad Fulton: Keyboards, Strings, Drums, Sound Engineering and Mastering
- Keira Fulton-Lees: Rhythm on Manuel Rodriguez Classical Guitar and Lead Guitar on Schector Blackjack.
- Improvisation: The entire song was created ad-hoc and the ending lead solo was a one-take improvisation.
- Note: This recording is very special to me, as I had not seen my son in about five years since he moved to San Antonio, TX for work. We recorded this together during his visit and following a tour of the beautiful Christmas light display at the James Center Building, 900 E Cary St, Richmond, VA, and at the conjoined Omni Hotel, at the top hill of the Shockoe Slip, still paved in cobble stone since the 18th century.
- A Poem: That next night I also wrote the poem about my treasured Christmas tour with my son titled: Crossing in Waves of Blue
This is a simple melodic instrumental with a catchy string section. The song was composed, mixed, and mastered by my son, also a musician. He created and played all the instrument tracks except the lead guitar solo, which was multi-tracked and mixed down from his exported audio master.
This is a great example of how, unlike the old days, with today’s technology, musician’s don’t even have to be in the same room to produce music. In our case, my son lives in San Antonio, Texas, and I live in Virginia.
Yet, despite the 1,528 mile difference we can create music together, which is much more than the music, as it is an opportunity for he and I to bond. He means the world to me, and I for the most part, raised him myself as a single-parent.
I had this off-beat rhythm for many, many years, but I just could not seem to wrap my head around what time signature it was in. It was not until I was listening recently to a drummer lay down some backing tracks in 9/8 timing that I began to hear the triplets at the head the tail of the measure that I had missed all those years.
Once I had that, I knew I was headed in the right direction. With double time quarter notes as eights notes it was then easy to count the 9 beats per measure, each getting eight notes beats. Amazing drummer!
The Dance Man
Although this version is instrumental, there are lyrics to the song. I’m not a good singer due to my Autistic challenges with verbal communication. As well, the song has its roots in traumatizing physical and verbal abuse from my father when I was a child.
But, I worked through severe repressed PTSD over these attacks from my father with my therapist and now I think that I am at a place where I am over it.
The lyrics are very personal, perhaps too personal to really ever add them to the song but the chorus goes like this:
Don’t let them carry you away
In the end, I’ll be your friend
I’ll be right here when it ends
When I speak about my friend I am talking about the Moon. I had a telescope during those bad times and was obsessed with the Moon (and still am). This is what the Autism Experts refer to as a “Special Interest.”
Somehow, The Moon’s perpetual presence and soul warming glow would just give me a place of solace. I was so engaged with the Moon, that in all reality she was my only friend – and she was always with me, as my friend when it ended.
To this day, I am still enamored with the Moon and see her now as then, I go back to where it began, still alone in my room, still she my only friend. I can always to this day count on my beloved glowing friend to be a source of hope and inspiration.
¹ Post-rock is a form of experimental rock characterized by a focus on exploring textures and timbre over traditional rock song structures, chords, or riffs. Post-rock artists are often instrumental, typically combining rock instrumentation with electronics. The genre emerged within the indie and underground music scene of the 1980s and early 1990s
Power of Bass
This is a but of a blues-based number with a jazz-like hook added to give it something a little extra. The guitar solo is in the classic blues style, heavily influenced by the great B.B. King. It’s short, but sweet.
For multi-tracking, mixing, and mastering, the Digital Audio Workstation software that I have been using for many years is Sonar X3 Producer. One might think that after as many years as I have been using this software I would have mastered it by now. But honestly, I have no desire to. I like keeping things simple, utilizing just the basic track layering, and I record everything I do live.
You see, it took me many years to move into the Digital World of Audio engineering, as I was still stuck back in the days when a group of friends/musicians just simply got together in somebody’s borrowed basement or garage and jammed free-form, bouncing ideas off each other in a social form.
Nostalgically,those days are gonea. Today, you can do it all yourself, never having to worry about the arguments that often transpired in those free-form jams that caused one or another to leave the band, leaving us then too often one or more players short of a band!
I have four guitars. A Schecter Blackjack, a Manuel Rodriguez Classical Guitar, and a Happy Dog Guitar built by a Luthier in rural Aylett, Virginia, which is modeled after a Gibson1957 J-45 design.
Doug, the Luthier, made only 10 of these beautifully designed guitars and I have one of them. When I bought this guitar, it was a find of a life time, as I found it in a Goodwill Store in Richmond, Virginia and paid only $35 for it. I’ve seen them listed on Reverb.com for $849.00 or more.
Finally, I also have a Yamaha FG-Junior JR1 3/4 scale guitar that I use for playing certain classical scores that require long left hand stretches (I have small hands. Not creepy Donald Trump hands! Just small hands as most girls do!)
I use a Yamaha THR Modeling AMP, which looks like a small tool-box but supplies a powerful punch and built in interface to the DAW. I sometimes use a 2-Channel FocusRite Scarlett straight in, and maybe add a soft-synth for effects. I use an M-Audio Keyboard, and a Shiit MAGNI Heresy Headphone AMP/DAC, and finally a great pair of Beyerdynamic DT-770 closed back over-ear headphones that I had customized with it’s own input jack, since the originals are hard wired and prone to breakage.
For micing the Acoustics, I use a classic Shure SM57. They just can’t be beat.
This is quite a perky instrumental. This was the first song my son an I collaborated on. He had the song nailed down pretty good on an acoustic guitar. I listened to it every morning as one of the tracks in my autistic routine wake-up playlist.
An idea struck me one day that is would sound better with an electric accompaniment to the acoustic, so I created some unique chording in a jazz style up-stroke shuffle rhythm. I imported his master file into my DAW and added a multi for the rhythm track. Worked out great, and we were off and running!
Hoppin’ the Walks
This is a basic rock sound with an interesting lead-in and -lead out making use of basic rock sequences and chord riffs along with contrasting dissonant chords. This instrumental just screams for a singer like Jagger as much as the the lead screams a blistering perfectly matched Lead Solo after the first verse. It’s Rock n’ Roll and I like it…Like it !
¹ Wikipedia contributors. (2020, July 16). Post-rock. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:33, July 29, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Post-rock&oldid=967982189