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New Original Song - Pawn Shop Guitars

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We had a recent thread about Townes Van Zandt. The Muse struck, for whatever reason, and a song was born 90 minutes later.

 

Pawn Shop guitars is a song about a guitar that had gotten pawned by his owner to pay for wedding/engagement rings. The new relationship goes down the tubes and she sells the rings back to the same pawnshop and re-purchases her old guitar. In the vein of Adele and Lucinda Williams, the breakup inspires some new music.

 

It's still in a rough form, especially with the vocal phrasings. I don't know why it's taking me so long to learn to sing. BUT, there is small improvement. I'll take what I can get. I am losing some of my shyness and am letting the voice come out much better.

 

I will either shrink the song of find a way to add some energy.

 

Pawns Shop Guitars

 

lyrics w/chords

 

[VERSE 1]

[C]They say a guitar can't play the blues,

[Em]until it's been pawned a time or two.

[F]Put up on some dusty rack,

[C]wonderin' if she'll [G]ever come back.

 

[C]And when he sees the light of night again,

[Em]only then will he know the pain.

[F]How she learned to make him sing,

[C]traded for a broken, [G]heartless ring.

 

[CHORUS 1]

[F]When he sang so loud and proud,

[C]lovers dreamed and [Am]poets cried out loud.

[C]he was left be[Am]fore sun-[G]rise,

traded when [F]new love caught her [Am]eyes. [G]

 

[VERSE 2]

[C]They hung him on the highest wall,

[Em]the brightest prize, for all to see.

[F]But nobody could make him sing,

[C]like that girl be-[G]fore that ring.

 

[C]But still the people stopped to stare,

[Em]as his heartache began to wear.

[F]One by one he watched friends go,

[C]as he was left alone to [G]grow old.

 

[CHORUS 2]

[F]When he sang so loud and proud,

[C]lovers dreamed and [Am]poets cried out loud.

[C]he was left be[Am]fore sun-[G]rise,

traded when [F]new love caught her [Am]eyes. [G]

 

[VERSE 3]

[C]She came back, just 'fore dawn,

with [Em]eyes cried dry, her new love gone.

[F]She sold the ring and took him down, saying

[C]"we got stuff to [G]talk about."

 

[C]They sang the songs they learned to sing,

of [Em]broken rings and broken strings,

[F]A love life built of straw,

[C]and promises gotten [G]pawned.

 

[CHORUS 3]

[F]When he sang so loud and proud,

[C]lovers dreamed and [Am]poets cried out loud.

[C]he was left be[Am]fore sun-[G]rise,

traded when [F]new love caught her [Am]eyes. [G]

 

[OUTRO VERSE]

[F]They sang the songs they learned to sing,

of [C]broken rings and [Am]broken strings,

[C]A love life [Am]built of [G]straw,

[F]and promises gotten [Am]pawned. [G]

 

[C]

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I really like these lyrics. Really nice perspective on a guitar hanging in a pawn shop. Giving it the human attributes of pain and loneliness grabbed my interest and it works. My comments are primarily dealing with the lyrics. I don't know or care enough about what gear is used while recording. Not because the gear isn't important, but because I don't understand it all.... [crying]

 

[C]They say a guitar can't play the blues,

[Em]until it's been pawned a time or two.--------Good way to start this story. Tells me who/what this guitar is and what its life has been.

 

[F]When he sang so loud and proud,

[C]lovers dreamed and [Am]poets cried out loud.--------nice line. Speaks volumes.

 

F]A love life built of straw,

[C]and promises gotten [G]pawned.-------a cool "almost rhyme" with straw and pawned.....and it says a lot. I try to avoid the easy rhymes and instead look for words that sound good together and "almost rhyme" words, but I don't know if I'd have thought of straw and pawned. Good one, my friend.

 

I also like the line about "him" seeing the other guitars being sold. And the verse where she comes back and says they've got things to talk about is real good. I'm kind of short on time at the moment, but I'll try to add a little more of my 2 cents worth later. ....Good stuff. Keep writing and your voice sounds good. Just let it out a little more. There are some good folks in here that can give you tips on using your voice and breathing.

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I really like these lyrics. Really nice perspective on a guitar hanging in a pawn shop. Giving it the human attributes of pain and loneliness grabbed my interest and it works. My comments are primarily dealing with the lyrics. I don't know or care enough about what gear is used while recording. Not because the gear isn't important, but because I don't understand it all.... [crying]

 

[C]They say a guitar can't play the blues,

[Em]until it's been pawned a time or two.--------Good way to start this story. Tells me who/what this guitar is and what its life has been.

 

[F]When he sang so loud and proud,

[C]lovers dreamed and [Am]poets cried out loud.--------nice line. Speaks volumes.

 

F]A love life built of straw,

[C]and promises gotten [G]pawned.-------a cool "almost rhyme" with straw and pawned.....and it says a lot. I try to avoid the easy rhymes and instead look for words that sound good together and "almost rhyme" words, but I don't know if I'd have thought of straw and pawned. Good one, my friend.

 

I also like the line about "him" seeing the other guitars being sold. And the verse where she comes back and says they've got things to talk about is real good. I'm kind of short on time at the moment, but I'll try to add a little more of my 2 cents worth later. ....Good stuff. Keep writing and your voice sounds good. Just let it out a little more. There are some good folks in here that can give you tips on using your voice and breathing.

Thanks very much for listening to my song, the kind words and thoughts on the lyrics.

 

I keep a small list of thoughts, ideas and topics. That quote about a guitar unable to "play" the Blues unless it's lived in a pawn shop has been on that list a long time. Listening to some Townes gave me the idea to put it into a story such as this.

 

One other notion I had was to make sure this whole thing could also be a story from a guy's POV from an on/off/on relationship. That opened the whole thing up. eg - nobody being able to make him sing was equal to nobody being able to get the guy to participate in anything he otherwise would have loved to do. 'Everyone stopped to stare' was the notion that one's self sticking out like a sore thumb as the whole world can see the tragedy that they are going through. That didn't always work though. The reunion and the suggestion of subsequent strong period of creativity that followed was all singer-songwriter real world stuff. [biggrin]

 

Thanks again. Good fun, for sure. I'm looking forward to any other thoughts and/or suggestions anyone has.

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Hey Roy, Good stuff!

 

Here's a little feedback that I feel is from a 'song construction standpoint' and nothing about talent... you got talent, that's covered ;).

 

Anyways - really like the song, the lyrics, the story etc... except I had to make myself listen to it to get into the story. The music is good, but not dynamic. Your singing is good (you keep getting better as well!) but I feel there's got to be some sort of hook, or backing rhythm that grabs you and then get's you to listen... more separation between the verse and chorus

 

Just my thoughts, really like your stuff, would listen to it all day, but it if our goal is to draw in the passive listener, I do believe a hook is called for. No offense intended, and I'm the newest of newbies here - so flush if desired

 

br

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I love the lyrics! Really, really good. I like the melody too. I would like to hear this, following the subject matter, as a solo acoustic song. The lyrics are strong, so why not put them center stage?

 

Lars

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Thanks for listening, the compliments and the notes, billroy and Lars.

 

One line of thought I had when listening is the ending is too long. Too many choruses and such. However, if one is 30 seconds into the song and ready to string himself up instead of listening any longer....yeah, not good.

 

I noticed a lot of James Taylor's songs are short. For example, the JT album has 2 out of 12 songs over 3:35. Townes Van Zandt's Pancho and Lefty is 3:41. Mine clocked in at about 4:10 or so after I trim leading/trailing air.

 

(thinking out loud...) so when I combine lack of hook and length.... yeah, I see.

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OK, so fast-forward 2 months..... and in spirit of sharing the evolution of this song.

 

This song got under my skin. Some key arrangement decisions notwithstanding, this should have sounded much differently than it came out. After a few weeks of bashing my way through this mix, I took a step back and examine my whole music-making situation. I've spent much of the past two months deep down into rabbit holes that included room acoustics, monitor design and placement, how I use drum software and very basic mixing fundamentals.

 

In line with that, I removed a huge hutch that was in between my monitors, removed and reinstalled audio treatment and replaced monitors. I did redo my vocals after the audio treatment was back up and in better places. Still some work left, but on the right track. You'll hear the minimal difference in vocals overall, but the difference in the untreated vocals was huge. Lots less processing needed to be done.

 

I got my new monitors in Tuesday and spent much time breaking them in and getting the best position I can in my small studio room. The differences are astounding. I can hear so much more than previously. The old monitors in the new position opened up so much that it quickly exposed areas of deficiencies they themselves had.

 

Yesterday, I adjusted the mix I had in place. The proper thing would have been re-mix from ground up, but I wanted to get an idea of the nature of my mistakes. They were easily revealed. Thinks I had never heard before.

 

And so, the listening tests. (small arrangement differences 2nd to 3rd, more instruments 1st to 2nd.)

 

First post from a couple months ago. First Posting

Second post after room adjustments. After Room Adjustments

Third post from last night's bounce. Most Recent

 

So, listen to the most recent song for 10-20 seconds somewhere around 2-1/2 minutes in. Then listen to the first song in the same spot. Then back. That, come to find out, is why the room matters.

Edited by PatriotsBiker

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First post from a couple months ago. First Posting

Second post after room adjustments. After Room Adjustments

Third post from last night's bounce. Most Recent

 

So, listen to the most recent song for 10-20 seconds somewhere around 2-1/2 minutes in. Then listen to the first song in the same spot. Then back. That, come to find out, is why the room matters.

 

 

Nice evolution, definitely hear the differences between the two, the second sounds a whole lot crisper, can make out the instruments much more. Wish I had the patience to evolve :)

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I'm no expert on recording or gear, but it sounds good to me....

 

And what a great job of writing! You have some really good lines in there. My only beef (other that the fact I didn't write it) is that it might benefit from some editing/tightening. But that's just me. YOU are the one who needs to be satisfied. This is more country than most of the stuff on "country" radio these days.

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Thanks guys, I appreciate the comments and the listening tests. It's been an interesting excursion.

 

David, I absolutely agree with your assessment of editing/tightening. Along those lines I'd add pace and flow to the list. By default, that would include length, too. It's about 4:10 now if I trimmed the beginning and end properly. Depending on final arrangement, I'll be at either 3:25 or 3:45.

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Thanks guys, I appreciate the comments and the listening tests. It's been an interesting excursion.

 

David, I absolutely agree with your assessment of editing/tightening. Along those lines I'd add pace and flow to the list. By default, that would include length, too. It's about 4:10 now if I trimmed the beginning and end properly. Depending on final arrangement, I'll be at either 3:25 or 3:45.

 

I'd also stick the word "neon" in the line, "And when he sees the neon light of night again...." The "light of night" confused me, but stick the word "neon" in there and it makes sense to me, because guitar-slingers spend time in neon-lit bars.

 

Or not. Nobody has ever paid me for songwriting advice....

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I'd also stick the word "neon" in the line, "And when he sees the neon light of night again...." The "light of night" confused me, but stick the word "neon" in there and it makes sense to me, because guitar-slingers spend time in neon-lit bars.

 

Or not. Nobody has ever paid me for songwriting advice....

I like it! Thanks! :)

 

The original intention with seeing the "light of night" again was sort of an ironic play on words. It may have been inspired by the only line from T.S. Elliott's, the Wasteland that I remember - "April is the Cruelest Month". (Or was that Kafka's line?) Admittedly, it's probably a little on the dark side. The down and out guitar is so far into a state of despair that the site of day does nothing more than drive him deeper into his funk. He comes alive only at night - as much as he will come alive. I guess that is quite a lot of responsibility for a few words. [biggrin]

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