You Do More Posted by The Loose Hinges (Kris McCarthy, Ron Gomez, Eliot Houser) December 8, 2014

You Do More
The Loose Hinges
Live in the Living Room
November 15, 2014

 

One Fifth At A Time Posted by The Loose Hinges (Kris McCarthy & Eliot Houser) November 10, 2012

One Fifth at a Time
The Loose Hinges
Session in the Field
November 3, 2012

 

Anna Marie (revisited) Posted by Eliot Houser February 15, 2011

Attached is a later version of Anna Marie. The last file I uploaded was a barebones guitar/vocal arrangement. This next rough draft features an upright bass (played by Mark Miller) and drums (played by Dave Harrison). Both cats played beautifully and very naturally to the original accoustic guitar that I recorded to a click. The interplay between the instruments feels organic and not forced. Sometimes, when the rhythm section is recorded after the fact, the outcome doesn't groove or doesn't sound organic. That is not the case here. I especially love the Ringo-esque entrance on the toms halfway through the first verse and the way the bass does double time on the last verse.

Also featured is an out-of-tune electric guitar that I played without much thought and some surprisingly-in-tune chimes that the wind played with even less thought. These wind chimes hang outside the backdoor of my studio and on the night that we were recording the bass and drums the wind was really blowing. When you listen to the middle section you can hear the howling and gusting. It seems lonely and beautiful and I love the effect it has on the song. You can hear the wind chimes all by themselves at the end of the song.

At this point, all I really need to do is re-sing the vocal and mix it. Maybe I'll replace that out-of-tune guitar too, but these days I feel less concerned about making sure everything is in perfect tune. Getting the vibe and personality are more important. I'll keep you posted.

Over and out from Nashville,

e

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2nd Rocker Posted by Eliot Houser December 15, 2010

This tune is another rocker Rick and I came up with last week. Again, no lyrics but at least a solid working arrangement. An inkling of this song was first visited back in October when Rick was banging away on an accoustic and me on a Wurlitzer. As I am wont to do, I was recording the idea onto my iPhone, which has become indispensable to me for capturing ideas in the moment. I literally have hundreds of such ideas on my phone, most of which I have yet to listen back to.

So, last week, I knew we had some things that we had captured on my phone, so I went sifting through all the stuff that I recorded back in October and found something we wanted to flesh out. So I picked up the electric again and started playing the parts. Next I came up with a new part because I thought the arrangement needed more interest and somewhere else to go. This is the part that begins and ends the song and might very well be the chorus. Again, I recorded the electric to a click track and then Rick immediately laid down the drums afterwards. The reason we don't record our parts together during these sessions is that it is faster to do them separately, especially when the arrangement is still in flux. However, once a song has an established arrangement and lyrics, I much prefer to record together as a band.

The next post will hopefully feature a working draft of lyrics which will do the moniker 'Dumb Rock' proud...

Over and out from Nashville...

e

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Can You Feel It Posted by Eliot Houser December 11, 2010

This is a song that I wrote last Friday, December 3rd, with a little help from my friend, Rick Schell, during one of our speed writing sessions. Speed writing is a song development process that requires you to make decisions quickly (because they are usually right) and to move on to something else if you get bogged down or run into a wall. There are no lyrics yet but I have an idea for a chorus that uses the rather cliche refrain 'Can You Feel It?' Hey, if it's worked before, no need to reinvent the wheel--damn, there I go again.

In this very raw form, Rick is playing drums and I am playing guitar and bass. The process for writing this song involved me plugging into a loud amplifier and coming up with 3 or 4 complementary parts or riffs. It's a process that I use quite often. Once I've found something I like, I usually take the most compelling riff and then declare that one to be the chorus. All the while, I'm usually searching out melodies and lyrics that may or may not stick. A strong melody is important, but on a chorus it's essential. Then comes the arranging, which is taking the other parts and building them around the chorus in an interesting way. Sometimes it's cool to start a song on the chorus, as is happening in this arrangement. However, most of the time it doesn't work, and it makes a stronger statement to make the listener wait for the chorus.

So after coming up with an arrangement, I started to cut the electric guitar to a click (metronome) set at about 130 beats per minute. However, Rick suggested we speed it up, so I amped up the speed to 146 bpm. He was right--the faster tempo gave the song more urgency. After I recorded the guitar to the click, Rick recorded the drum track, and then we drank some more beer and started working on a new tune. Instead of losing momentum writing lyrics (which did not seem to be immediately forthcoming), we thought it would be more fun and productive to move onto composing another tune. So that's what we did...and the next post will include this other song and describe our process

Concerning 'Can You Feel It?', been working on the words and the next audio update will have at least a working draft of lyrics.

e

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Anna Marie Posted by Eliot Houser December 11, 2010

I thought I might send some work in progress that will demonstrate how I go about composing and producing. This could be posted on the website and as I bring the songs to completion, I could send audio updates with an accompanying aesthetic rationale for my decisions.

This first song, Anna Marie, is a song I wrote about 5 years ago, but forgot about. I have reworked the arrangement a little bit and just recorded it this past week. Right now it is just accoustic guitar and vocals, but the way I hear it in my head, I could either make a grand statement by adding piano, upright bass, and strings, or I could make it a little more eclectic and intimate by adding bass, accordion, and percussion. The next update should reveal which way I go.

This song is the most romantic song I've ever written. It incorporates the idea of earthly love in a spiritual context that makes the tangible ethereal. So, from a production standpoint, it needs a light and unobtrusive touch.

More heavy-handed songs to follow.

e

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