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Monday, May 9, 2011

Acoustic and electric

Today I worked on the song, “Walk With Me,” a heavy but melodic chant-like tune. The main form and words came to me in a dream last summer.

A week after I wrote the first draft of the song, I was on a workshop stage at the Home County Folk Festival in London with Don Ross on one side of me and the Sultans of String on the other. They were an inspiration, and as the set moved along, I decided to play “Walk With Me” and see what these giants could do with it.

I started it up and realized that my tubes were cooking in the summer heat and the amp rumbled with a rich distortion. At this point I’d only played the song acoustically on my National resonator, so this was something completely different.

Fortunately, the big distortion and the great players around me turned an already ominous tune into something immense. As soon as we finished, I knew I had a keeper—and a direction to take the arrangement.

What I loved about that live version was the acoustic sound of the resonator from the guitar itself, and the big distortion coming from the amp. To record it, I’ve decided to mic the guitar and an amp as well. The amp will be mic’d in a separate room so I can mic the resonator acoustically. At the mixing stage, we can balance these different inputs and create a rare, acoustic/electric mix. In fact, since the song starts gently and builds, we’ll probably bring the amplified signal in more as the song moves along.  

It should be interesting!

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