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Lee Shapiro

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  1. When I wrote "In 2020" (part 1), it was around February, just before all the bad stuff started happening (pandemic, choke holds, BLM, protests, riots, etc). So I figured if I wrote a song with 2020 in the title, it needs to include all that stuff that this year will be remembered for. So I wrote this "Part 2" to include everything since the first part. And just a warning, the song does tend to get political....more specifically, not so nice things about Trump. So if you're a Trump supporter, you might not want to listen to this. The lyrics are included at the bottom of the song page (of the link). Some of the lyrics are kind of hard to understand, which is a combination of me missing a couple of teeth and perhaps the need for better mixing/mastering. So I might take another go at that. Anyway, comments and critiques are always welcome. Thanks for listening. https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=14073335
  2. Wow, I'm blown away. Never heard a cover done so well by a single person. I'm a big Thomas Dolby fan and "One of Our Submarines" is one of my favorites from him. Not only did you produce a great sounding track, but even more impressive is the attention to detail and the ability to figure out all the random sounds in this song. This is a particularly difficult song to cover, it's not like a simple guitar/bass/drums song that can be easily duplicated. This is why I stick to mostly original songs, because I don't have the patience or the talent to reproduce a decent cover. Although Thomas Dolby and Rickie Lee Jones have been among my biggest influences in songwriting. And as far as your vocals, you are better than you think. Pitch correction software can only do so much, believe me I know. I use Melodyne Studio extensively on ALL my vocals and have never come close to how nice your singing sounds. Thanks so much for sharing, and I enjoyed "Blinded me with Science" as well. Keep up the great work and I'd love to hear you do "Radio Silence".
  3. Thanks Mark, I appreciate it. And yes most of the harmonies were constructed in Melodyne. Although I did record a second vocal track, mostly as "vocal doubling", but there were some harmonies created in that 2nd vocal track as well.
  4. Thanks Ed. As a bass player, do you have any feelings, good or bad, about EZ Bass? Something that has plug and play bass lines for various styles of music? I know for me, when EZ Keys came out, I didn't take offense, in fact it helped me learn some new chords and styles of playing keys. And I have a feeling that once the novelty wears off, I'm going to just go back to writing my own bass lines for my songs (which is one of the things I like doing most in the song writing process).
  5. Thanks Wookiee, I'm enjoying the hell out of EZ Bass. And the NI Session Guitarist - Picked Acoustic plugin sounds incredible, with lots of new strumming/picking patterns. I'm a keyboardist and could never quite master the guitar, but it's fun playing guitar parts via my MIDI keyboard and having friends say "When did YOU learn how to play guitar?" Thanks David, I'm always delightfully surprised when someone compliments my vocals, easily my weakest component. Thank goodness for Melodyne and all the other vocal efx.
  6. Thanks Bjorn. The EZBass was keyed off the piano part I made. I haven't tried keying it off the drums yet, but that's next on my to-do list. For me, one of my biggest goals, is getting a perfect blend of kick drum and bass, to where it almost sounds like one instrument. I'm still having trouble finding a really good bass sound from EZBass (something that will really punch through the mix), but I'm sure its in there somewhere. For years, my go-to bass has been Scarbee's Rickenbacker Bass. I've been able to create some great drum/bass sounds with it. But finding the right kick drum (From Superior Drummer) is also part of the equation. I just started using Melodyne 5 (I have been using Melodyne 4 Studio for years), at first I was a little disappointed with the latest version because I was expecting more dramatic improvements. The reason I upgraded was for the new chord feature. I thought it would be easier to create harmony vocals with my lead vocal track. I'm still trying to figure out just how the new features work. I should probably read the manual. LOL! Thanks for listening, and thanks for the feedback!
  7. A quickly composed "test" song to showcase some new virtual instruments. (I wrote the "junk" lyrics in under 5 minutes.) Some of the new virtual instruments added to my arsenal include: Toontrack's highly anticipated EZ Bass, Toontrack's Rooms of Hansa Drumkit (with rototoms and octaban toms), NI Session Guitarist - Electric Sunburst Deluxe, NI Session Guitarist - Picked Acoustic Celemony's Melodyne 5 Studio (just released new and improved version) All used in this composition. This Is Only A Test
  8. Thanks Steve, much appreciated. Maybe it's because I've been listening to a lot of Petty lately (Live Anthology), or maybe it's just that nasal Dylan/Petty thing I have with my vocals. 😁
  9. Thanks Tom. All of the instruments used are virtual instruments, which is why some things might sound a bit synthy. For the lead guitar I used Orange Tree Samples, Evolution Infinity guitar.
  10. Thanks for listening and your comments, I appreciate it. I'm working on a remix, and I'll check out that glitch you mentioned and see if it can be fixed.
  11. Hey, thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it. And I'm glad you liked it. I get the most interesting comments about my vocals. I'm not a good singer by any means, and rely way too much on Melodyne. But I've gotten a variety of comparisons on my vocals from Dylan to Tom Petty. And I've written several country-rock songs where I just naturally start singing with a "cowboy accent". So I think some of that snuck into this song. Which is odd for a Jewish boy from New Jersey...transplanted to Washington State. Thanks again!
  12. This song was probably rushed too quickly into posting it publicly. There are quite a few layers of instruments, which I tried to find a place for them sonically, but some instruments didn't come through as clearly as I would have liked. So I guess you can consider this a first draft, since I'll probably go back and remix it. The song is a continuation in a long running theme of expressing memories, regrets, feelings and wishes. I often go to this place, and this time I gave it a name... "Geetar Street". Thanks for any comments, suggestions or critiques. Geetar Street
  13. Thanks again for all the great feedback. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Here's a little "inside scoop" about writing this song. I've always been a huge fan of Rickie Lee Jones (not Chuck E's in Love, but her other stuff), particularly her Pirates album. I love the dynamics of her songs, they go from quiet and mellow, to a louder and catchier beat, then back to quiet and mellow. Listen to any of her songs on Pirates and you'll know what I mean. With a few exceptions, I always attempt to write songs with those kind of varying dynamics. I try and stay away from normal "verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, etc" types of song constructions. But I don't usually succeed. In fact most of my songs usually end up nothing like what I originally envisioned in the RLJ style of writing. But THIS song came pretty darn close. It's one of the few songs I wrote that actually ended up sounding like I planned. You can hear a little RLJ in the piano parts and percussion specifically. So I'm pretty happy about that. The other thing about RLJ songs are her lyrics. She writes about friends and places that are very personal and tell a story. Kind of mysterious because you don't really know who or what she's talking about, but she also has a special way with her lyrics that paint a picture you can see in your mind. This song also attempted some of that but it was really the music that succeeded better than the lyrics. One quick example of RLJ lyrics. In her song "Living It Up" on the Pirates album, one verse goes: You might meet me tomorrow As all the lights are blooming green And you're feeling a little lonely, A little sad, a little mean. If you ever drove in Manhattan, and stopped at a traffic light along a long straight avenue, where you can see all the traffic lights for many, many blocks. They are synchronized and timed to turn green one after the other, with 2 or 3 seconds delay. So as you look down the avenue you can watch the lights as they all "bloom green" one after the next. Just a little example of her clever and picturesque way of writing lyrics. Again something I often try to emulate. Sorry for the LONG post, but thanks for reading it. And thanks for letting me share what often inspires me!
  14. Thanks Steve. Yes the process of writing the lyrics and recording the song is very therapeutic. And when it's all done I feel like a lot of weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Especially when I'm feeling overwhelmed with what's going on in the world and in my life, it seems the only way I can get through it sometimes is to work it out in a song.
  15. Thanks Tom, I appreciate it. In some movies, there's sometimes a scene of a live band heard playing in another room. It's got that distant, echo-y sound. I like that sound (but obviously not exactly for a finished track) Anyway, I tried to recreate that sound for the drums. I use Breverb - the preset is "Drums -> Alive" It duplicates that live band sound. I set it at about 50% for the drums. Although sometimes less if I want to have the kick drum and bass guitar sound really punchy. I find a happy medium. Oh yeah, and I use Superior Drummer 3. Also mixed in is NI's West Africa percussion.
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