I’ve decided to set a goal for 2018 to officially write, record, and release an album. The best way for me to help achieve this goal is to document my progress.
So step one is to set some constraints and ground rules.
1. It should consist of recently written music
I’ve been writing music, more or less, for the last 15+ years. It ebbs and flows. Most of it no one has ever heard, and a lot of it I don’t even remember. I’m also at a different place in my life both personally and musically. So to include a song I wrote fourteen years ago about hating high school doesn’t make sense.
However, I realize there is some merit to including music from my past. It’s part of what got me to where I am. But for this project, it’s not something I want to do.
So I’m setting an arbitrary “within the past year” rule. This rules out most everything except the last few songs I’ve written (Unglued, No crying in baseball, and Jet Lag), since I didn’t do much writing in the past five years.
2. It should sound like a coherent album
My tastes in music change frequently. My tastes in music I write tends to also change just as frequently, if not more. I enjoy experimenting with writing in different styles. But this album needs to be a coherent collection of songs.
The styles can vary slightly, but should all have the same tonality and feeling. I want it to be apparent that the same person wrote all of it.
3. It will be a full band
For a mellow, singer/songwriter mostly acoustic album there needs to be some fantastic lyrical talent involved. I’m not super confident in my songwriting abilities. Making the songs into full band arrangements helps relieve some of that pressure for me.
The one caveat here is that I will be almost entirely dependent on drum tracks. I can put together arrangements for multiple guitars, bass, vocals, and harmonies, but I have no drumming experience. I also don’t own a drum set.
Some other benefits of a full band arrangement is it will stretch my mixing and mastering skills with a larger number of tracks and it’s easier to bring to the other guys in my existing cover band if we decide to start playing originals. No to mention it’s fun for me to rock out to.
4. It should sound professional
Even with technology today, it’s relatively easy to get a good sounding recording. But there is quite a bit of skill involved in getting a really professional mix. I’ve been digging a little into it recently and there’s a lot to learn.
My previous recordings sound alright, but there’s definitely work to be done. They just don’t have the same pop and clean sparkle pro recordings do. I don’t want it to be over-produced, but certainly should be able to hold up being played alongside professionally produced albums in a playlist.
This is something I’m going to be learning along the way and really excited to learn about.
So that’s what I’ll be working on this year. I’m planning to update progress as much as possible and would love to hear from anyone interested in following along.