Posts Tagged ‘sticks’

Song 23: “Dressed in Rags”

by on Monday, August 24th, 2009

Here is Song #23 – You can stream it by clicking the little PLAY button, or download it by right-clicking the title:

CJ Bargamian - 23 Dressed in Rags

23 Stella fretThis song is the result of me really wanting to finally use a little guitar part that I’ve had in my head for a while now. I’ve never been able to make a full-length song out of it, so I figured that this was the perfect opportunity to clear it out of my idea pool.  Not much to say about this one except that I used my Stella acoustic guitar for the primary track, and then all I added after that was vocals and percussion; I used metal sticks and slapped my hands on my jeans for the rhythm (special thanks to the Campbell sisters for that little idea).

Instruments used:
Acoustic guitar (Stella)
Metal sticks

Down the road is a man
Whose face I can’t stand
His sadness is evident
He dresses in rags
And his wife is a hag
He has nothing to live for now
But he wakes every day
Just why he can’t say
I guess he just feels compelled
To sit on the street
Depress the people he meets
By telling how down he is

Song 10: “In the East”

by on Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Here is Song #10 – You can stream it by clicking the little PLAY button, or download it by right-clicking the title:

CJ Bargamian - 10 In the East

10 AccordionI’ll be the first to admit that my main motivation in writing this song was to use my accordion. It was one of the instruments I have lying around that I had managed to not yet use in this project, and I missed it!

I picked up the accordion and noodled around until I had 2 very basic parts that worked well together. I hit the record button and played a simple repetition of the two parts, with no clear idea of vocal melody or anything else really. The accordion part was very slow and a bit of a dirge – I then sat down with my ukulele and came up with a much more upbeat shuffle to go over it. The result was a much more lively tune. I also added a little ukulele solo melody over some parts, and then some percussion with a tambourine and some metal sticks – the tune ended up being much more Latin American than I had expected.

Last was the vocal track. Due to the kinda western feel of the music, I opted to write about how I’ve always loved the west coast and really hope to get back over there soon – for a visit at very least. When I sing “San Francisco” in the chorus, I’m really referring to any western city and not just that one in particular. Although it is my favorite, I chose it for this song simply because it has the right number of syllables. 🙂

Instruments used:
Baritone ukulele
Metal sticks

On my way to the coast
I was distracted by mountains
And I found myself
By and by I could not
Get by, to my destination
And I lost myself
San Francisco, you will just have to wait
I will see you again someday, but I
Have unfinished business in the east
For now I have to stay, you see
When I get to the coast
I will jump into the ocean
And I will lose myself
For the love of god
I have to get back soon
And I will stay this time

Song 02: “Coffee Mug”

by on Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Here is Song #2 – You can stream it by clicking the little PLAY button, or download it by right-clicking the title:

CJ Bargamian - 02 Coffee Mug

02 Coffee ThermosEvery weekday, I carry a coffee thermos thing with me to work. I have developed a silly little habit of banging on the thermos as I walk to and from the parking deck; each day I try to make a new rhythm by smacking different parts of the thermos. As I was about to start work on yesterday’s song, I went to the kitchen to make coffee…and I saw the thermos on the counter and was instantly reminded of my weekday habit. I grabbed it, headed into my home studio, and a new song began life with a thermos rhythm as the foundation.

First, I banged around on the thermos until I found a nice simple rhythm I liked. I set a click track at a good speed (my sense of timing kinda stinks when it comes to percussion – just ask my bandmates!) so I could maintain a consistent tempo, and just recorded that rhythm for as long as I could before my hand got sore from hitting the aluminum. That turned out to just be a couple of minutes. Once that was done, I picked up a couple of metal rods (leftovers from some shelves I built a few months ago) and banged on those in a slightly different rhythm.

Now I needed some melody. I picked up my Stella parlor acoustic and luckily an idea came pretty quickly – I think it ended up being in B minor or F minor…I can’t remember right now. Anyway, once I had the two alternating acoustic guitar parts (one strumming, one picking on low strings), I started to hear a higher complimentary melody that might sound good on a ukulele. I fiddled around until I came up with the high ukulele part, and recorded it.

The vocals were kinda an afterthought – I had one more melody in mind, but no lyrics at all…so I just sang gibberish and mixed it to sound as though it was coming through an old AM radio. Also worth noting: any stray rhythmic sounds in the background are likely due to the laundry I had running in the next room…my dryer is kinda loud.

Instruments used:
Baritone ukulele (1950’s, no name)
Metal sticks (from old shelving unit)
Coffee thermos
Acoustic guitar (1940’s Stella parlor)