Monday, January 28, 2013

Song #323 of 9999 - I'm Down by Frank & Jeff

Song #323 of 9999 

Title: I'm Down
Artist: Frank & Jeff
Year: 2013
Album: Beck's Song Reader, Songs 1-10

Yesterday, I delivered track one of the ten-track recording of new Beck songs Jeff and I produced over the holiday break in December of 2012. Tonight's track features Jeff on lead vocals and guitar while I am (happily) relegated to backing vocals and organ.

One of the things I found interesting about this ten-song collection is how well-suited the songs were to our respective styles and how easy it was to figure out which songs were "Jeff songs" and which were "Frank songs." Which leads me to more discussion about the process we used for learning the songs. 

Before we recorded a note, I spent the morning making reference recordings of each song on my iPad. In most cases, this involved me singing with an acoustic guitar, occasional keyboard lines where they were written and working out backing vocals specified by Beck. Even at this stage it became obvious to me which songs were suited for my voice and which were suited for Jeff's and it also appeared there was some real thought put into the order of the songs by Beck. (I encourage you to listen to all ten songs in order once they're posted—it works really well as an album!) It was at this point we made the decision to record the songs as they were presented in the book and it became apparent we would likely be alternating lead vocals throughout.

"I'm Down" presented the first musical challenge as almost all of the keyboard lines you hear are scored in the sheet music. What made them particularly challenging is that I was using a two-octave keyboard and had to keep adjusting the octave setting! Regardless, the focus of the song should be on Jeff's great lead vocal track and Beck's fine lyrics.

See you tomorrow with track three!

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