Sunday, January 24, 2010

After a Cold

After I fight off a cold (or suffer through a cold), it always takes a while to get my voice back in shape. This winter has been especially bad for colds and congestion. I've been working a lot of night shifts (almost exclusively night shift, actually). That alone makes me more likely to get sick, but on top of that I've been sleeping in the basement (so my wife and kids can go about life normally while I sleep during the day). It's colder in the basement, so I'm more likely to get congested.

I finally started to bounce back from the latest round of congestion, and recorded a tune while trying to get my voice back in shape. It's the Carter Family's "Keep on the Sunny Side":

There's still some work to do, obviously. I'll record it again when I practice it some more and get over the cold some more. Recording this tune was interesting from a flatpicking standpoint. I recorded the rhythm guitar in singing first, then went back to overdub the lead guitar.

The first couple of times I tried to record the lead guitar, I ended up with some stuff that didn't sound quite right. I was putting some licks in that didn't really fit with the song. Bluesy licks and flashy licks...I wish I had kept some for a bad example, but I recorded over them before I thought about their demonstration value.

I had to step back and re-think. Instead of just letting my fingers go where they want (as if on auto-pilot in a jam session), I had to consider what makes the song appealing to me and then change my breaks to fit with that. The things that make "Keep on the Sunny Side" appealing to me are its pretty melody, its sunny disposition, and its upbeat message. So I tried to play pretty, sunny, upbeat breaks and leave the Riceolian licks for some other tune.

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