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Scott Songs: October 2018  

Song: Packing up (Atari of my dreams)

I remember being a DJ at KZUU in Pullman, WA. The new music every fall was the best. Maybe that's why this particular season has always been a sentimental time for making music. This new song embodies what I love about fall in many ways. It acknowledges change in my life - where I've been and where I am and that I have enough. Here's how it happened...

I recently retrieved the last of my belongings from a basement in Portland, OR. As I packed up these things I experienced utter filth, sweat, and rat shit. Lots of rat shit. I also experienced joy, sorrow, and happiness. Lots of it. I went through old letters, and memorabilia from old concerts I played. I packed up an extensive collection of Oregon license plates spanning over 100 years. I even salvaged the Atari 2600 from my youth (it still works FYI). I went through photos and I packed up cameras that took the photos. I gathered up my very first guitar as well as a trumpet case. When I opened up the case I thought now where in the hell is the trumpet? Things change... Things disappear... Things remain... 

Technical Specs         

Machine: Tascam 388 

Pre-amp: Art Tube Pre (the one with presets for about $75)   

Effects: Roland RE-20 Space Echo Reissue 

Microphone: Audio Technica 4033, Sure SM 57   

Rhythm: 1963 Gibson B 25   

Lead Guitar: 1991 Gibson Les Paul Standard      

Bass: 1970s Univox Beatle copy  

Drums: 1960s Ludwig Snare, off brand medium crash cymbal

Keys: Korg SV-1

Recorded and produced at home by myself. Mastered by Warren Gardiner at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS. Warren is a great engineer. He will do a great job on any audio project you bring to him - highly recommended!

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  1. Packing Up (Atari of my dreams)

Scott Songs: September 2018  

Song: The Ballad of Indy, Reggie, and the ancient cowbell

And then Lou Reed said, "Don't worry about the tempo. Just play." The cowbell held a sporadic groove and the lyrics were odd. I felt as if I was doing too much with too little. The band was drifting in and out. Everything was fuzzy. I said, "So Lou you want us to play along to this iPhone recording even though the tempo is floating between two floors of this warehouse?" That was the basic idea, although he didn't say it with words but with that deadpan stare. In the end I decided to go with it. I mean, how often has Lou Reed sucked so bad it was unlistenable? Well, OK, that's not a fair question. It was a standard length jam and it was all there on the voice recording. All the band had to do was play along and try to keep time. Lou plays a steady cowbell. I'll say that much. 

Technical Specs        

Machine: iPhone Voice Notes, Tascam 388, finished on Pro Tools First

Pre-amp: Art Tube Pre (the one with presets for about $75)  

Effects: Roland RE-20 Space Echo Reissue

Microphone: Audio Technica 4033, Cascade M 39 pair, SM 57    

Rhythm: 1963 Gibson B 25  

Lead Guitar: 1991 Gibson Les Paul Standard     

Bass: 1970s Univox Beatle copy 

Piano: Yamaha console piano

Drums: 18" Buffalo Frame Drum, 1960s Ludwig Snare, off brand Hi-Hats, ancient cowbell (possibly from my dad's childhood farm), egg shaker

Recorded and produced at home by myself. Mixed and mastered by Warren Gardiner at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS. Warren is a great engineer. He will do a great job on any audio project you bring to him - highly recommended!

Scott Songs: August 2018  

This month marks 8 months and 8 free songs I have shared. I have almost finished a whole reel of tape. Here's the story behind this month's cover song...

I was in bed, sick, a few weeks ago when I received a message from my friend Joe Salinas about contributing a song for a film project. He specifically asked for something 80s - a cover song. My ukulele was nearby so I grabbed it and went through some possibilities, sharing them via the voice recorder on my iPhone with Joe. I recorded clips from The Smiths, Go-Betweens, David Byrne, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Dinosaur Jr. Here's what Joe wrote when he heard a snippet of Dinosaur Jr's "Green Mind": "Holy shit. This is the one. Yes Yes Yes." So I set out to make a ukulele version of a totally rocking song with trademark J. Mascis mumbly lyrics and huge guitar solo. At the tempo that felt right to me, the song became over 5 minutes long. Too long! Way too long. So, I edited the lyrics (gulp... sorry J). Here's what I have to share with you.

Technical Specs       

Machine: Tascam 388

Pre-amp: Art Tube Pre (the one with presets for about $75) 

Effects: Alesis micro verb (the small one, rescued from my rat poop infested basement in Portland, OR)

Microphone: Audio Technica 4033, SM 57    

Rhythm: 1980s baritone ukulele that my mom gave me ages ago - still the best sounding uke I have ever played   

Lead Guitar: 1991 Gibson Les Paul Standard    

Bass: 1970s Univox Beatle copy

Misc: glockenspiel, old Ludwig tambourine with skin

Recorded, mixed, and produced at home by myself. Mastered by Warren Gardiner at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS. Please reach out to him if you are in need of mixing and mastering services. His rates are reasonable and he does excellent listening! 

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  1. Green Mind (Dinosaur Jr. cover)

Scott Songs: July 2018  

One thing this monthly blog has taught me is I can't be afraid to try things in a new way. I really let this song develop and I think it shows. Early in the writing process I listened through my iPhone voice notes for song ideas and came across the chord progression with some mumbling lyric idea... "you don't know and you won't..." I then sat at the piano and expanded the melodies I was hearing. I recorded what seemed to work well on the 388 and was about to sing it and said, "This really sucks." I forced myself to give it a month-long break but returned to it thinking, "It still sort of sucks but maybe it's just the way I am approaching it." I sent it off to my former collaborator, Peter Joseph Head, in Melbourne, AUS thinking he could do something magical with it. As it turned out, he didn't have time. So, I tried it again. Many key changes and lyrical edits brought me to something I thought was workable. It still needed perspective though, and I knew just the guy.

This recording marks the first collaboration with my friend Sean Lennon, who stopped by to play bass. I have watched and listened to Sean rock out in punk bands since my college days back in the early 90s. Sean was always in the best bands. I can picture him bobbing his head while working the neck of his bass as 50 or so college kids nod in approval. His bass line here provides the much needed foundation for this track. Keyboard lines and synth drums spring from his loping lyrical lines reminiscent of Disintegration-era Cure. 

Technical Specs      

Machine: Tascam 388, bounced to Pro Tools First and finished

Pre-amp: Art Tube Pre (the one with presets for about $75) - I am using 2 of these now as they work great for this application

Effects: Roland RE-20 (space echo reissue) - patched in as an effects send

Microphone: Cascade V57    

Rhythm Guitar: 1963 Gibson B-25  

Lead Guitar: 1991 Gibson Les Paul Standard   

Bass: 1992 Fender American Jazz bass, Tech 21 Sansamp Bass Driver Delux

Keys: Korg SV-1, Korg Nano Key synth and drum pads

Misc: egg shakers, old wooden tambourine, off-brand medium crash and hi-hats, off-brand floor tom with mallets

Recorded at home by myself and Sean. Mixed and mastered by Warren Gardiner at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS. Please reach out to him if you are in need of mixing and mastering services. His rates are reasonable and he does excellent listening! 

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  1. Worth a thousand words

Scott Songs: June 2018  

Song: Wendell Gee (R.E.M. cover) 

Photo by Christina Wenger

If you know my music then you can no doubt hear the influence of early R.E.M. in my melodies, chord structure, rhythms, etc. The band still brings me so much joy. I saw them on the Green tour in Pullman, WA. It was the first concert I ever drove myself to and I may have even gone all alone. I bought a shirt so ridiculously large that it went to my knees. I'm sure I wore it the next day.

This is such an obscure R.E.M. song that it took hearing a friend cover it for me to really listen to it. But, once I did listen to it, I felt like it was a song that I could have written had R.E.M. not discovered it first. The only problem is that I don't know who Wendell Gee is. Do you?

Technical Specs     

Machine: Tascam 388 

Pre-amp: Art Tube Pre (the one with presets for about $75)    

Effects: Roland RE-20 (space echo reissue)

Microphone: Cascade V57   

Rhythm Guitar: 1963 Gibson B-25 

Lead Guitar: 1991 Gibson Les Paul Standard  

Bass: 1970s Univox (Beatle copy)      

Keys: Korg SV-1  

Mixed at home by myself and mastered by Warren Gardiner at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS. Please reach out to him if you are in need of mixing and mastering services. His rates are reasonable and he does excellent listening! 

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  1. Wendell Gee (R.E.M.)

Scott Songs: May 2018  

Song: Buying up the greens

Last year at this time, I released my debut solo album called Little Tiny Things. It was recorded with some of my best friends down in Austin, TX. I know some of you have it and I know some of you helped me raise money to release it. Thank you! One such person was Benjamin Peddle. In fact, he helped at such a seriously high level that I owed him an original song. Well, one year later, here it is. I've finally delivered! Thanks Benjamin for allowing me to share it this way.

I referenced Alameny Farmer's Market, which is California's oldest market. It's a beautiful little spot close to my neighborhood here in San Francisco. The song features a reoccurring theme for me and that is the idea of getting lost. I think what getting lost means to me is simply having alone time completely free of outside distractions. It shows up frequently in my songs because when I write and record a song I am completely free and lost.

Technical Specs    

Machine: Pro Tools First  

Pre-amp: Art Tube Pre (the one with presets for about $75) and Focusrite Scarlett 18i8   

Microphone: Audio Technica 4033  

Rhythm Guitar: Danalectro 12 String, 1963 Gibson B-25

Lead Guitar: Danelectro 12 String 

Bass: 1970s Univox (Beatle copy)    

Drums: 1960s Ludwig snare and off brand floor tom with a mallet, medium dark crash cymbal 

Keys: Korg SV-1 (organ setting)

Misc: recorder

Percussion: Ludwig tambourine with skin 

Mixed at home by myself and mastered by Warren Gardiner at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS. Please reach out to him if you are in need of mixing and mastering services. His rates are reasonable and he does excellent listening!

If you would like to purchase the Little Tiny Things album digitally or on LP please visit my bandcamp page.

Lastly

I make these songs downloadable at no cost to you and I am proud of being a truly independent music artist. To keep this going, all I ask is that you share my music with someone you think will enjoy it. Please create a social media post and direct your friends to my website. Much appreciated, everybody.

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  1. Buying up the greens

Scott Songs: April 2018  

I chased a lead on the internet the other day to look at a guitar. It sure looked great and I was hopeful it would be a new addition to my sound. While it failed to make an impression on me, the owner did not. He had tape decks, 4-tracks, speakers, turntables - crazy stuff he said he found at flea markets. In fact, while I was testing the guitar, he was busy with a screw driver ripping into some sort of amplifier. While we were chatting I spotted some TDK cassettes still in the wrapper. I asked about them and he said, "They are my private stash and not for sale." I could understand this as cassettes are a bit difficult to find and expensive these days. He did say he had some he could give me though. He had about 60 cassettes that he picked up from a school for the blind. He said, "They seem brand new but on close inspection they all appear to have stories narrated on them, but I think just one pass so they should still sound OK." Well, long story short, I'm glad he gave them to me as I was in the mood to break out the Yamaha MT4X cassette 4-Track machine. 

Song: A reflection

Technical Specs   

Machine: Yamaha MT4X, bounced to Pro Tools First and finished  

Pre-amp: Art Tube Pre (the one with presets for about $75)   

Microphone: Audio Technica 4033 

Lead Guitar: 1991 Gibson Les Paul Standard through Fender Blues and Roland RE-20 echo 

Rhythm Guitar: 1963 Gibson B-25

Bass: 1970s Univox (Beatle copy)   

Drums: brushes on 1960s Ludwig snare and off brand German hi-hats, 18" Buffalo frame drum

Keys: Yamaha console piano  

Percussion: claves, Ludwig tambourine with skin

Mixed and mastered by Warren Gardiner at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS. Please reach out to him if you are in need of mixing and mastering services. His rates are reasonable and he does excellent listening!

 

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  1. A reflection

Scott Songs: March 2018  

Song: Jump (Van Halen)

I don't do a lot of covers. When I do I make every effort to have fun with them and make them my own. I will be honest with you and say flat out that I loved Van Halen back in the day - at least any album with David Lee Roth - and like many, I felt betrayed when Van Hagar became a thing. So why this song? Well, I was just surprised by it one day.

I often play this simple chord progression in C major so that clients I work with can experience successful music making using pitched instruments - xylophone, pentatonic marimba, Hapi Drum (sort of a steel drum), etc... To add some interest I might switch briefly to A minor with a descending bass line that eventually goes back to C major. There are hundreds of songs in the clinical repertoire of a music therapist using this chord progression. At some point this morphed from Harry Belafonte's version of "Jamaica Farewell" into a cover of "Jump." I knew all the words from my childhood and was pretty solid with the melody. I found that it worked well with this basic chord progression. And it was fun.

Technical Specs  

Machine: Tascam 388, bounced to Pro Tools First and back to the 388 for more tracking 

Pre-amp: Art Tube Pre (the one with presets for about $75)  

Microphone: Audio Technica 4033

Lead Guitar: 1991 Gibson Les Paul Standard through Fender Blues with a Comptortion pedal for overdrive 

Rhythm Guitar: La Patrie Concert (nylon)

Bass: 1970s Univox (Beatle copy)  

Drums: brushes on 1960s Ludwig snare and hi-hats

Keys: Korg SV-1 (organ setting w/ rotary speaker), Yamaha console piano 

Percussion: old wooden tambourine with drum stick

Mixed at home and mastered by Warren Gardiner at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS. Please reach out to him if you are in need of mixing and mastering services. His rates are reasonable and he does excellent listening!

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  1. Jump (Van Halen cover)

Scott Songs: February 2018   

Song: Love Creepin'

As a music therapist I get the pleasure of working with many different populations. One such group lives in residential care and they have various forms of dementia. I discovered I could hold their attention and spark creativity in their lives by making up stories (very tall tales) usually centered around themes of family, fun, and love. These are not songs per say but rather... and then what happened? improvisations. I usually support their ideas with familiar songs and facilitate live music making with various percussion instruments such as tambourines, drums, and xylophones. After one of these days, I left work with this nugget of an idea. 

Technical Specs 

Machine: Tascam 388, bounced to Pro Tools First and back to the 388 for more tracking

Pre-amp: Art Tube Pre (the one with presets for about $75) 

Microphone: Cascade V57, Sure SM 58 

Ukulele: much beloved hand-me-down baritone from my mother back in the 1980s - no brand but a gem 

Lead Guitar: 1991 Gibson Les Paul standard through Fender Blues with a Comptortion pedal for overdrive

Rhythm Guitar: same Les Paul, same amp, Rocker Box vibrato pedal

Bass: 1970s Univox (Beatle copy) 

Drums: Buffalo frame drum, 1960s Ludwig snare and hi-hat with, brushes on hi-hats and sticks on snare w/ wallet for dampening

Keys: Korg Nano Key2, Yamaha console piano

Percussion: old wooden tambourine, wind chimes

Mixed at home and mastered by Warren Gardiner at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS. Please reach out to him if you are in need of mixing and mastering services. His rates are reasonable and he does excellent listening!

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  1. Love Creepin'

Scott Songs: January 2018 Oz addition  

My good friend Warren Gardiner mastered "Everybody Knows This Year." Warren is a terrific engineer down in Melbourne, Australia. He and I worked on several projects over the years and I am happy to be working with him again to bring more quality to this Scott Songs Blog project. Please feel free to download and enjoy this improved version of "Everybody Knows This Year."

If anyone is in need of great engineering work (mixing and mastering) please reach out to Warren here

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  1. Everybody Knows This Year (mastered)