The music producer, and sometimes engineer at the Nashville recording studio Nashville Trax and the over-the-Internet song demo service Play It Again Demos is Bill Watson. Mr. Watson brings years of experience with song structure, lyrics, arrangement, recording and production to your project. He will choose the perfect session quality Nashville musicians and pro session singers for your song.
He’s known for taking a songwriter’s rough work, no matter how sketchy it is, and transforming it into something amazing. Check out our samples, hopefully you’ll agree.
“I certainly hope you choose our services because I know we can do far more with less for you than any other service out there, but even if you don’t I wish you much luck in your musical endeavors. And far more important, may you find peace and happiness in this life and beyond.”-Bill Watson
To write a lyric successfully, the music framework it will sit on must be accounted for. Lyrics aren’t poems. Lyrics are restricted by elements poems aren’t, elements that are part of music. This post is intended to get you thinking properly and give a concrete tip or two you can use, by no means can we completely explore this topic here.
The biggest restriction on a lyric will be the measures (a.k.a. bars) each line has to exist in.
In 4/4 time there are 4 beats to a measure. The typical 4/4 song has 4 bars to a phrase, so 16 beats, and the beats are evenly measured. Let’s pull up:
Click at the top of the circle to fill the dot above “92” and it will begin to click at 92 beats per minute. That’s a medium tempo, not real fast, not real slow.
Count along each time it clicks. 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4.
Every 4 beats a new measure begins. In four bars of music those 16 beats are exactly how long your initial phrase should be. If each word gets 4 beats you could write four words total each receiving 4 beats: How about “I don’t know you.”
I don’t know you
1- 2- 3- 4, 1- 2- 3- 4, 1- 2- 3- 4, 1- 2- 3- 4
You are writing whole notes. Whole notes get 4 beats.
For the next phrase let’s use half notes, each word receiving only 2 beats except on the word “very” where we’ll give each syllable only 1 beat, so they are quarter notes:
and I do not like you very much
1 – 2 – 3 – 4, 1- 2- 3- 4, 1- 2- 3- 4, 1- 2- 3- 4
As you can see, unlike poetry where lines can be free form, music tends to impose restrictions that are mathematical in nature. Using an x to represent a measure, typically music in 4/4 looks something like this:
Introduction: x x x x
Verse 1: x x x x / x x x x
x x x x / x x x x
Chorus 1: X X X X / X X X X
Vere 2: x x x x / x x x x
x x x x / x x x x
Chorus 2: X X X X / X X X X
Bridge: x x x x / x x x x
Chorus 3: X X X X / X X X X
Chorus 4: X X X X / X X X X
If you chart out a basic diagram of the song format then start the click at the appropriate tempo you can write to it, ensuring the lyric will sit nicely in the music once it’s written- b.e. watson
We’re finally getting around to the tracking of Tom Hogan’s (a.k.a. Steve Zodiak, his fictitious online name) “The Darker Side of Love” which was the subject of a previous post. It took a while to make some pre-production decisions and get the financials in order.
Love the tune! Uptempo contemporary country with a female vocal and lots of bgv’s. It’s “The Works” level demo ($1,200) so it’s also getting drums, bass guitar, two guitar tracks, fiddle, mandolin and harmonica with the harmonica and fiddle trading licks on the solo section. Steve said, “Make it Rockin’ Country!”
No one has to ask me that twice, LOL. Charts are complete and we’re ready to cut rhythm tracks on this bad boy.- b.e.
10-12-13 Update: Here’s the finished mix.
1 lead vocal track
2 harmony vocal tracks
10 Drum kit tracks (10 separate tracks with each drum microphone getting a separate track, kick, snare, top head, snare bottom head, etc.)
1 bass guitar track
2 split acoustic guitar tracks, panned wide
2 chorused clean electric guitar tracks panned wide
1 distorted rhythm electric guitar track
1 harmonica track
1 fiddle track
1 steel guitar track
1 mandolin track
The Darker Side of Love is © 2013, Tom Hogan, used by permission of the songwriter. If you’re interested in recording this song please let us know and we’ll forward your request to the songwriter and music publisher.
Tom’s comment on 11-17-13: “Thanks for all you’ve done. I’ve nothing to say but good things about the “Darker Side of Love” project.”
How do you like that harmonica work? It adds a lot, eh? And that awesome fiddle trading licks with the harmonica on the solo?
How would you like to be pitching work of this quality?
I can happen! Send us a copy of your working rough mp3 at firstname.lastname@example.org and request a quote today!
Tim ordered “The Works” level demo ($1,250.00) which is a full band demo including lead, harmony and background vocals, a 6 piece band including doubling of tracks where warranted, mastering, and radio ready mix. It comes with a limited release license for up to 10,000 copies to be sold, either via download, CD or other means.
I loved Timothy’s rough and I’m excited to get started!
What happens in pre-production? This is the time production notes are made, the songwriter’s notes are reviewed, the arrangement is created and Nashville Number Charts are written. It’s also when the singer and musicians who will be on the session are chosen.
If I hear flaws in the song’s construction, be it in the lyric or in the music, I’ll shoot out e-mail(s) to the client noting the perceived problems and possible fixes. I realize that what I see as a problem may be something the writer did intentionally and wants to keep, which is perfectly okay.
Common problems resolved at this stage are:
- Extra bars that aren’t needed
- An odd number of bars that need to be evened out so that portion of the song doesn’t feel “left footed.”
- A line that is so wordy the singer won’t be able to squeeze it all in without sounding unnatural.
- A chord choice that doesn’t fit the progression or the melody.
- A melody that isn’t supported by the chords.
- Tempo slightly faster or slower than ideal.
- Weirdness. I can’t explain this exactly other than to say songwriters, left to their own devices without input or guidance, often do strange things, especially in the lyric. For example, they may write a complete song built on a concept that, unbeknownst to them, could also be taken another way they never thought of. Can you spell “sexual innuendo” and place it in parallel to a normal lyric in a sweet old ladies’ gospel song? Not the best idea to let that out in public, she needs some gentle guidance.
Or sometimes a song is just plain weird beginning to end: “What Does Santa Give Huskies for Christmas?” comes to mind. Perhaps there are some questions we just don’t need an answer to. Gentle. Guidance.
I don’t address things like pitch issues, tone or musical ability of the singer and players on the rough. If the songwriter making the rough version had perfect pitch, great tone, could play at session quality and do great arrangements what would they need us for? I expect those elements to be pretty raw, just send in the best rough you can muster. I’ll review your song, not how well you perform it.
Jesus will judge you someday, it’s not my gig : )- b.e.
Is Songwriter’s Market 2014 showing the long tooth?
At one time Songwriter’s Market was a useful tool for pitching songs to publishers and record companies. But things have changed in the songwriting world. Times have changed.
Many songwriters complained about Songwriter’s Market 2012. According to most, it was badly in need of updating. One buyer revealed that most of her 2012 submissions came back unopened and undeliverable. Most comments on various retail sites are negative.
Songwriter’s Market 2013 had little updating from 2012 so if anything, it was even less useful.
What has changed since the early days of publication?
Songs are more in demand, not less. At one time there were three major TV networks, major motion pictures, PBS and radio. If your songs weren’t played in those places you weren’t making much money. Now there are far more outlets. Look at television alone: Hundreds of channels, most of which use music.
Internet websites, radio and Internet advertising use vast amounts of music already and use is increasing as the Internet changes from older users with large desktop systems who prefer reading words, to a younger demographic using smaller devices that prefers music and pictures. Music helps sell.
There are newer, universally accessible and arguably better ways to get exposure for an act than there were when Songwriter’s Market began publishing. YouTube, Facebook, etc. weren’t available fifteen years ago.
It’s possible the editors have become lazy in updating Songwriter’s Market listings. But regardless of the reason for the decline, it’s still a very useful book for researching music publishers and other music related companies. You can get names, e-mail addresses and more to help you start establishing contact.
But purely as a mechanism for marketing songs it has been coming up short for years now.
Does anyone care to comment on the usefulness of Songwriter’s Market 2014? -b.e.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NASHVILLE September 6th, 2013 — Play It Again Demos has been selected for the 2013 Nashville Award in the Recording Studios category by the Nashville Award Program.
Each year, the Nashville Award Program identifies companies that enhance the positive image of small business through exceptional service to their customers and our community. These companies help make the Nashville area a great place to live, work and play.
The Nashville Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Nashville area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to outperform their competitors and provide long-term value for their customers.
This is a Play It Again Demos client project: gospel piano and vocal demo with female lead and harmony vocal ($250 for a piano/vocal plus $65.00 for harmony/bgvs = $315 total).
I feel blessed to have the opportunity to produce this beautiful, heartfelt worship song for a lady named Heather who is wheelchair bound and convinced God is going to let her walk again.
Do you believe in miracles? Please pray for Heather.
Don’t dismiss it. We had a mini-miracle occur at one of the churches I attend a couple weeks ago. A member lady’s father was rushed into surgery at a local hospital, died and the nurse came out to tell her there was nothing they could do. (Later, the surgeon said sewing together what was left of his aorta was literally like sewing two pieces of wet toilet paper together, they couldn’t do it.)
A team was still working on the father but it was a legal formality. The daughter started frantically texting church members asking for prayer, saying her father had died on the op table but the doctors were still working on him. (I was not at the church but did get the texts).
As the pastor told it the following Sunday, the husband, who happened to be at an event at the church, received the text, and asked all present for prayer. The entire church hit their knees. Soon a text came in saying his father in law had revived. Three times he flatlined. Three times his heart started again, each time after a prayer request was texted by his daughter and the church prayed mightily until the next text came in saying he had revived.
He’s alive today. The doctors are dumbfounded, They can’t explain it as medically as it was simply not possible.
Coincidence? IMHO Just Jesus doing His thing.
That’s not to say every prayer evokes a miracle but I do believe Paul Stookey had it about right when he paraphrased Matthew 18:20 in The Wedding Song: “Whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name, there is love.”
That’s one of the most beautiful lyrics ever written I think: The Wedding Song Lyric Thought provoking intelligence and simplistic innocence working in parallel. I’m not positive the human mind can create that alone.
He is love. Gather, pray and He will be there. The serendipity for we mortals is how that love plays out-b.e.
P.S. Update: The song is now tracked. You can listen to the before and after versions here!
I saw this on TBN last night and just have to share it, it’s a hoot! Watch as college students majoring in various sciences are tripped up by simple questions about God, evolution and creation.
Here you can see their pied pipers (college science professors) stammer and draw blanks when asked to name one example of true Darwinist Type-To-Type Evolution.
I suppose that’s because there are none. It’s not that there’s scant evidence for anything beyond adaptation confined within a species, there’s zero evidence:
It’s a little scary this is an example of the “best and brightest” our colleges are producing. No surprise though, how can wisdom be injected into the equation when the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and atheists are doing the teaching?
I don’t agree with the tactics employed, I’d prefer to see the love of Christ on display rather than intellectual combat but the video is still educational and a blast to watch because it’s a microcosm of the decades-old situation of scientists and creationists talking past each other. Creationists can’t understand how the “proven fact” of macro-evolution can have no observable evidence and scientists don’t understand what God has to do with science or why creationists use phrases like “it’s adaptation, not evolution” that have no meaning in scientific circles. “Evolution is evolution, period,” they say. If adaptation occurred, it’s also evolution, therefore evolution is a fact beyond debate.
The battle is over Genesis. Christian children are taught in their homes and in Sunday School that God created everything, including creating man in His image. Then in public school (why are they there to begin with, public school attendance being the very definition of child abuse?) they’re taught something that contradicts their parents and their Sunday school teacher. Often, the conclusion resolving that dichotomy is that the Bible is not truthful; that evolution is a fact; that man was not created by God in His image. They’re taught man evolved from a fish that became a small furry mammal, that became an ape that turned into man, deal with it. “Look,” they say, “Here are some illustrations to make this progression easy to see.”
It’s easy to pull the wool over the eyes of children. It’s easy to plant the seeds that will help shake their faith someday.
Like everyone else I was taught Darwinist evolution in elementary school and accepted it until 2002 when I met someone who didn’t believe in it. I was incensed! How can you not believe in evolution when it’s proven fact, I argued? I initially thought their position was at once ridiculous, unintelligent and untenable. Three days of intense debate and research later I began to realize The Theory of Evolution had gaping holes in it and was, in fact, obviously false. I published and sold a paper on that research for a few years and made a lot of money, but unfortunately, it didn’t drive me closer to embracing Christianity at that time.
Besides the flaw in the way The Theory of Evolution is being taught, I discovered dozens of discrepancies in the Theory itself, two of the more glaring flaws being:
1) Adaptation within species occurs often, but Darwinist species-evolves into-new-species evolution? There’s not a shred of evidence for it. Yet macro-evolution is taught as if it’s a proven fact, using adaptation, a.k.a. micro-evolution, as the evidential basis. Of course the scientist says, “micro-evolution IS evolution, therefore The Theory of Evolution is scientifically sound and valid as stated.”
Basically, scientists demonstrate adaptation within a type then postulate, “It’s never been observed and there’s no evidence but over long periods of time, over millions of years, these micro changes obviously must lead to types becoming other types because nothing else plausibly accounts for the variety of types.”
Try God? I choose to put my faith in Him. Scientists, however, don’t have that choice, they must invest their hope, belief and faith in time passing; science does not allow supernatural explanations. Scientists may believe otherwise privately, but in a scientific capacity they must “believe in evolution.” God isn’t allowed into the equation so evolution is the best remaining explanation.
2) Present day observable data demonstrates the exact opposite of the basic tenets of evolutionary theory. Radical anomalies that appear in a population, no matter how useful, disappear over time, they do not assimilate. In other words, babies born with two heads don’t turn into a branch line of two headed humans, the progeny of two headed parents typically have one head. (In spite of the fact we all know two heads are better than one, (LOL!).
There are no isolated branches of humans that have some radical difference from other humans such as a third eye in the back of the head; a third arm; a prehensile tail growing from their abdomen; fins, wings, or anything similar and useful that would show they’re evolving into something other than humans.
Do some mathematical calculations on the prevalence of mutation, the prevalence of adaptation and a world population of over 7 billion people, then please explain why there aren’t dozens, if not hundreds of branches of the human species evolving into something non-human.
False circular reasoning is common to all atheists. They reach incorrect conclusions because they’re unable to think outside the box of misleading information they’ve been fed by their pied pipers. They are allowing themselves to be led off the cliff of sound thinking because “wisdom begins with a fear of God.” (Psalm 111:10).
They don’t believe in God, therefore their logic skills and ability to reason erodes. It dwindles to the point long pauses, blank stares and stammering is displayed when requested to dive into the ocean of deeper logic instead of wading in the shallows they’ve confined themselves to.
More falsified missing links and data altered to fit agendas are coming. Technology is at a point where a scientist willing to be deceptive in pursuit of fame or in pursuit of an agenda can manufacture a convincing fake. It took scientists over 40 years to conclude Piltdown Man was a hoax. Just two years ago we found out the top two scientists studying Global Warming data didn’t like the fact field data wasn’t supporting their conclusion that the world was warming, falsified it, and were caught only because their hacked e-mails were made public.
The recently released correct original data reveals the world has been cooling for the last 15 years yet the atheist/leftist faction of the scientific community spouts nonsense as they attempt to save face. “Global Warming is still occurring, it’s just in a cooling phase, the heat is possibly being stored in the deepest part of the oceans.”
Hmmm. So it’s still warming, it’s just that it’s cooling?
How do you spell “convoluted logic?”
Par for the course. Remember, this brilliance originates from atheist and agnostic minds turned to mush who believe in Darwin while rejecting The Holy Bible, even when Bible prophecy about Israel comes true before their eyes. Even when this morning’s news headlines regarding Damascus sound like prophecy straight out of Isaiah 17.
How did someone who had little education, was Facebook deprived, and likely never ventured more than 50 miles from their place of birth write prophecy 2,500 years ago knowing that Israel, Damascus, etc. would even exist in the future let alone figure prominently in the daily news? How could they possibly know and correctly predict Israel would cease to exist, come back into existence, then become the absolute center of world events?
It couldn’t possibly be because the biblical prophets were dialed into a God called Jesus? A God who walked the earth in the flesh. A poor man and a handful of nearly destitute followers who created a tiny ripple in the fabric of history that became a mighty wave and only grows in intensity as time passes?
A man who was born to nearly penniless parents and never achieved much material wealth or official title, yet has influenced this world like no man born before or since? The man who forever turned logic upside down with the most profound statements ever spoken? The God-man Jesus, who the majority of past world history has revolved around and nearly all of it to come will? Could it be the biblical prophets were dialed into that dude?
Nah, that’s just too stupid to believe, huh? I bet you’d need some proof of that. “Exactly what sign would you believe?” He asked 2,000 years ago.
Jesus walked the earth, we know that. It’s independently confirmed even by secular writings of the day. It’s even confirmed he was crucified. Was he a lunatic, a liar or exactly what he claimed he was? Was He God in the flesh, who came to save us and demonstrate His love for us by satisfying the demands of ultimate justice with His mercy?
Here’s a clip of former evolutionist and biology professor at Tulane University, Dr. Richard Lundstrom, describing his remarkable conversion from atheism to Christianity as he realized that evolution is not supported by the latest discoveries in the various fields of science and it wasn’t supported mathematically. He no longer felt okay about duping his naive students with the half truths and lies necessary to teach The Theory of Evolution in total, as proven fact:
Even the head of the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins, MD, PhD, converted from atheism to evangelical Christianity! He says that DNA strands mapped for the project have a pattern that could never have occurred by chance, a creator had to be involved! As he studied them and realized exactly what he was seeing, the former atheist spontaneously began to worship.
Want wisdom? Open your Bible to Genesis 1:1 and read daily until you reach the last verse of Revelations- b.e.