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A Brand new Choir

Awesome Voices is a brand new choir that I've just started up in my local town of Alstonville. We've had one term so far and the general feeling is that it's awesome! Numbers for the choir have been between 20 - 35 singers, people of all ages! My nine year old daughter Jessica and her friend Harry are regulars, and I've even had my five year old son Ewan singing along as well! The general repertoire I'm working with is a number of community choir style A Cappella arrangements as well as some Gospel style stuff plus one or two of my own arrangements.

Another great sesson with Al Park

Yesterday I had another great sesson with Al Park. We sat down to his PC music station and worked on tightening up the midi string sounds for my song "Sweet Lady Life". After my last session with Al, I had thought that we'd completed this one already, but I got home and discovered that the midi strings were not adequately aligned rhythmically to the original audio file of the song.

Great session in the studio with Brad

Had another great session in the studio with Brad tonight. I booked the studio from 5.00 pm to 11.00 pm and went in with as many instruments as I could carry! I took my new bass, plus my Cort 12-string guitar, a Tanglewood mandolin, a bag of flutes & whistles, etc., plus my old Bas GT-5 guitar effects processor.

I didn't really have much more of a plan than - play a bass line for "One Day Soon" - a thoughtful contemorary piece with a pick-me-up chorus - and have a look at adding some flute parts to "Lucky".

TopCat studio with Brad

Just back from a recording session at TopCat studio with Brad.We had about six hours and in that time I took in my new bass and re-did the bassline for Starlight - a contemporary/acoustic-rock story-song about a young lady called Sally and her journey away from abuse toward hope. Lot's of guitar in this one, and multi-layered vocals.

Another bass guitar

Guess what? I bought myself another bass guitar this week as my previous guitar - a Tanglewood 5-string bass - was very old and the action (the height of the strings above the fretboard) was way too high! I tried to adjust the neck truss rod, but there was just no more play in the truss rod available, and so the action remained VERY high (we're talking about 1 full centimetre above the strings! Basically unplayable!)

Had another session with Al today

Had another session with Al today. We had a final look through the string arrangements for Sweet Lady Life, a ballad which I loosely based on the Streets of London by Ralph McTell. The combination of piano and strings works well and I intend to couple this with multi-layered vocals, including a sort-of call and response harmony similar to that which Simon and Garfunkel use in their version of Scarborough Fair. It'll be lovely when we're finished with it!

Men Wot Sing at Blackheath

Last weekend myself and the boys from Men Wot Sing - my totally awesome blokey entertainment group - made our way via plane, train and automobile to the beautiful town of Blackheath, two hours west of Sydney, in NSW. The occasion was the annual Blackheath Choir Festival - a wonderful event, held over a full weekend, showcasing a collection of some of the best choirs around. It was our third appearance in this festival - although Men Wot Sing has not sung there for about three years!

Great session with Al Park

Had a great session with Al Park today, at Byron Bay, working on tightening the midi string and wind arrangements for Merlin's Song.

We incorporated the recorder and flute parts I recorded at Top Cat Studio on Sunday and overlayed them with the midi arrangements. The result was excellent! Great sounds, and a great feel. The midi samples and the recorded audio worked very well together, each complimenting the other and combining to create a wonderful accompaniment for the song.

My voice is LOVING it!

Since my last blog entry, I've been using a headset microphone for all my lessons and it's gong so well! My voice is LOVING it! The vocal fatigue is disappearing and I am able to sing those tricky higher notes that eluded me for so long when my voice was tired. I'm enjoying the newfound strength in my voice so much that I'm even writing and performing again! I've also decided to start up a new choir in my home town of Alstonville, and so Awesome Voices has recently been born!

I've started back recording in earnest!

After a couple of months away from the studio for holiday's, schoolwork, etc. I've started back recording in earnest! Last week I took a drive to the Coast and sat with Al Park to work on some of his wonderful midi string and woodwind arrangements for the songs - Merlin's Song and Seesaw Marjorie Daw. These songs are coming along so well - they are nearly ready for inclusion in the studio and any work we need to do on them now is basically just some minor tweaking!

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