It’s done.

In the coming weeks I’m going to share a lot more about how I wrote, recorded, and produced ‘Songs I Owe You’.

The important part is that I’m speaking I the past tense about all of that work. Which means I ACTUALLY FINISHED MY FIRST RECORD.

I started playing guitar around the time Clinton played his sax on late night. 1992 for anyone keeping count. 26 years. I didn’t have goals when I started. I really loved music, and didn’t take to piano (so much). But there was a very old Kay archtop acoustic guitar that sat beside the couch of my childhood home. My Grandfather left it there, for reasons i may never know. But at some point I started to drag that unwieldy thing across my lap and recognized that there was great power in it’s rusty strings.

26 years later I still get a little jolt of electricity in my brain every time I pick one up.

I’m so thankful for my musical path. This album is the culmination of many years of learning the instrument, learning about songs and writing and performance, and the final piece of the puzzle: production.

In a way, production is just finishing. And finishing can be hard to do. This project has taken me well outside of my comfort zone in terms of skills, abilities, and confidence in my end product. I had to remove the options and paths that had previously ended in “no album” many times before. I think this is where I learned the most lessons, where the juice was well worth the long hard squeeze. Part of this was committing to the release date before starting.

In doing so, I became very accountable to the project: I had to finish because I promised you.

Stay tuned for more details about the process for this record.

I hope you can make it out to a show sometime soon to grab a copy and have a chat about music!

Best,

j

Arranging and a few words on process.

Since my last post, I’ve made decent progress with the record. I’ve learned a metric tonne about production, and Ableton. I’m having a total blast… But mannnnn this is tough work sometimes.

It takes a good deal of perseverance against my instincts to just throw ideas away for being shit. It’s usually instinct that causes me to record an idea in some way: a gut feeling says “Don’t lose this Jarek!” And quickly I press record or i grab a pen. Some of these ideas are awesome. The guitar part for ‘Take Me Away’ is from the demo track I recorded for that song, without much editing (I cut the start or the track down). The recording process produced a few such gems.

Other parts had to be re-recorded multiple times, or they are composites of multiple takes, and heavily edited (very few vocal passes happen without a clam, or a bulldog snore sneaking through).

As this project came together and songs neared completion of the recording process, I found that some of the tracks lost their magic to me. After wanting to hide them away from the world for a week or so, I decided to persevere and make them into something I didn’t cringe at. I wanted to walk away from 2 songs completely, due to frustration with the overall package, and some of the choices I made recording.

But I didn’t. I stayed the course. I tried some different creative techniques to re-arrange guitar parts. I cut entire tracks, I cut single transients, I cut stuff that wasn’t 100% necessary and stripped them down. These tracks are now more interesting to me than they were, and although they’re not my fave 2… the process of perseverance that kept them alive is one that I so sorely needed to learn.

If nothing else, this experience has helped me recognize the flaws of my writing process, and the pitfalls I wasn’t able to climb out of to finish, previously. More on these in another post.

So as it stands, we’re at 6 tracks for the album. 2 need some more vocal work, and the rest are currently being mixed.

I’m going to get working on some liner notes for you, and with a little time I’ll share more about my process for this record.

I’ve already started planning my sophomore release… I can’t let all of these hard-won lessons go to ether! Hopefully I’ll be able to manage a little more writing for you during that one, but I make no promises.

Take care of yourselves,

J

Songs I Owe You

I’m working on a new collection of music. And by new, I mean my first. Ive written a ton of stuff over the years. But most of it has been lost with technology or format upgrades. I’m also great at finding excellent reasons why my procrastination is justified.

Anyway, I’ve a few new strategies to get things completed; basically I need to keep moving forward every day, even if by a seemingly small amount.

What’s still being debated down at headquarters is the extent to which this effort will be broadcast here, on the interweb.

Some of these are older songs, some are more recent. All are ones I’ve had written and just never got around to doing anything with.

But I’m right into some new software/hardware that is helping me get from idea to recorded version of that idea faster than ever before. This seems like the right set of material to get down into ones and zeroes, in order that those of you who’ve supported me all these years can listen wherever and whenever, should you choose. I’m so very thankful you’re still waiting to listen.

So, I’m going to start releasing some stuff. Warts and all. For you. Songs I Owe You.

Best,

Jarek