Thursday, January 1, 2015

6. Ballard

This is also one of my all-time favorites.  I didn't expect anything from this track, but it became apparent very quickly that it was going to be special.  I took the melody from the Norwegian folk song Per Spelmann and wrote lyrics more or less pertinent to Ballard.  Captain Obvious told me that places change over time.  Ballard has gone from a Scandinavian enclave rich in maritime tradition to a built-up suburb with pricey restaurants.  That's all very well and good, but what would someone, say, a ghost named Gunnar, think if he appeared in Ballard, say, on March 21st or so?  This is about that.

The pianist is the good-smelling Ty Bailie.  Johnny's studio doesn't have a piano, so we used a keyboard instead.  It does the job well enough, but there are exposed passages where it sounds totally fake.  We only needed two takes to get this in the can.  And it was fun.  Really fun.  Strangely enough, when I was prepping the tunes for recording, I seriously considered hiring someone else to sing every song on this album, such was my lack of confidence in my vocal stylings.  Listening to this tune, I have no idea why I would ever think that.  It's not that I sound like Pavarotti; no, it's that I can deliver a good performance, sing reasonably in tune and sound like myself.  Simple as that.  This rendition amazed me because I didn't feel capable of doing anything like this before I started.  And this version is not perfect by any means, but that's what I was trying for.  It's ragged, but it has life to it.  At one point, I almost started laughing, because we were both tripping over each other.  It's the rubato line about "delicious Rainier." But I pulled it back and we finished.  Throughout the take, things threatened to derail us, but we kept going and it all turned out OK.  I'm hoping that this song will also be a metaphor for my fortunes in the business.    

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