Tales from the Mancave

Tales from the Mancave

Update: 2018-02-26 – removed Stony Ground. Will be reworking this.


Yet another solo piano album in the works! Yay us!

So…this one will focus more on songs that were written waaaaaay back in the late 80s and early 90s.

  1. First example is an arrangement of Londonderry Air (also known as Danny Boy).
    I know…not my own song, but I had to start somewhere!!
  2. Second example is where I’m going to let you folks in on my “process” a little bit. The song is called “Stony Ground” (original title: “Stony Ground Hearers”). It is a latin fusion jazz tune. So why am I putting it on a “solo piano” album? Glad you asked! Firstly, this tune was originally written on grand piano (as a solo piano tune), but then the other day I was messing with it and decided to “produce” it as a full blown latin jazz arrangement. It will be the last track on this album (similar to how Mancave Strut is a fusion jazz tune that is the last track of Tales from the Green Room). By being the last track, folks can simply skip it if they want to listen to an entire album of “solo piano”. But I include it as a bonus track to hopefully entice you people to look for a future fusion jazz album named “At My Old School”. Stony Ground *and* Mancave Strut will both make an appearance on “At My Old School” as the last two tracks (again, so fans can skip them if they want). Based upon my experience so far (both with the Yamaha Tyros 5 as well as the various “virtual” instruments within Sonar such as Addictive Keys, VB3 (B3 organ), Lounge Lizard (Rhodes and Wurly), and various free analog synthesizer VST’s), I am going to go on record here by saying “At My Old School” will absolutely ROCK (er…FUSION) your socks off. Some REALLY cool stuff coming out in the next year or so. That’s a promise!
    Now…I told you I would let you in on my “process” for this particular song. Here goes:
    Here are the notes I sent myself (to my private email) on what to “fix” with the current version of Stony Ground. Once the song if “fixed”, all of these notes will disappear as will the version below that represents where I’m at TODAY:
    a. Give thought to an intro:
       Wind howling…somehow give the idea of wind swept stony ground. Fade in the existing track against the wind (so you don’t hear the intro clicks).
    b. Give thought to replacing the piano part with Addictive Keys steinway grand piano.
    c. Remove the dang hand claps from the drum track…dangit!
    d. Echo the main melody with something (analog synth? Octave piano?), especially when the horns come in. This will help the melody make it through at the end when more tracks are playing (or use automation within Sonar to raise the volume of the grand piano track towards the end).
    e. Fix the freaking ending piano. Even if it means re-recording the entire part (or just record the last section on another track). I love how the Steinway samples on the Tyros 5 aren’t looped, so they die out. Cool accidental thing but it totally “fits” this song.
    The Rhodes is damn-near perfect. Geez that is an amazing sound. If you’re being REALLY picky, give thought to recording the Rhodes into Sonar completely dry and use Sonar based phaser effects (tempo-synched) *OR* try using the Line6 M5 stompbox phaser (as a separate track that you can then A/B through the Yamaha studio speakers). If you can tempo-synch the phaser on the M5, do that too…the phaser should phase in and out according to the tempo of the song. This will act as “glue” to help meld the drums/bass/rhodes together.
    g. Geez this track is cool. Give thought to including it on Old School just because it’s so dang cool (plus include Mancave Strut on Old School as well…maybe the final two tunes?).