Long time, no see! I'd like to think that there's a good reason for my lack of posts of late, but there really isn't. After all, we're all busy, aren't we?
Anyhow, a quick update from me about what's been going on as of late in the official world of Michael Lawson Official.
As many of you know, being an independent solo artist without a working band is like living on a desert island. Its TOUGH, especially for the ole pocket book.
So, even though I had 8 tracks in the hopper by mid 2021, it took me another year to get the money together to mix and master the tunes. Spencer and I finished the mixes of the four songs on Captain Americana at FAME in Muscle Shoals just about a year ago.
We then finished the mixes for the new EP Champions in the Spring of 2022. The EP was mastered by the venerable Randy Merrill which by itself was pretty damn cool!
This summer I had the fortune of shooting videos for three of the tunes on Champions. Giving IN is the first single and video. Sweet Carolina and This is My Life will follow up later in the Fall.
Each of these songs are a bit unique in that they each represent departures from how I normally write songs. I'll start by offering a couple of thoughts about Giving In and then I'll write another post about the other songs as they are released.
As I've noted before on the IG, most of my song ideas begin with some sort of vocal melody that then typically runs into some sort of chord pattern that leads to something else. But when I wrote Giving In, I had been hearing a lot of the Lumineers on the radio. And I was always super impressed and struck by how incredibly emotive that guy's voice is. And I thought to myself "man, I'd love to have half of that vocal character in one of my tunes."
So, one day, I sat down and tried to push the upper register of my voice with the goal of trying to get the kind of modulation that you hear with the Lumineers. I started a loose jam with a Dsus pattern that starts the song and then started singing the melody for the 'giving in to my love' refrain almost immediately after I added an EM/G chord progression to the Dsus. The main body of the song came together really quickly after that.
Once the verses had been written I then started working on the "Hold on, Sail On, Belong Part" which also came together really quickly. But at that point, I wondered where the song should go since the song didn't have a chorus. Those who listen to my songs know I am ALL ABOUT trying to write those choruses.
So, I made the decision to demo the tune on the spot, albeit without the intro part because I hadn't written it yet. I laid the main vocal down in a way that sounds a whole lot like the studio recording. But then, feeling a bit brave, I started to play around with a stack of harmony vocals. And after I did that, I listened to the playback and started to think "Fuck, this song might be pretty fucking good."
In the end, I think the song turned out to be quite wonderful and beautiful. Brad's piano part is beautiful. Jimbo's bass is subtle and impeccable and Will and Justin just killed their parts. I think its the only song I've written as an adult that doesn't have a chorus. But I think the release and the refrain are powerful enough to give the song the kind of resolve it needs to make a lasting impression on those who hear it.
And the video turned out pretty well thanks to my good buddy Charlie Abernathy WHO IS AWESOME!
Best wishes to all of you for a safe and wonderful fall season. The next post will be about the tune SWEET CAROLINA which I happen to think is one awesome rock and roll song.