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Thread: Freedoms Moon (1st new song post in a very long Time) Written by Jimmy Jack Whittaker

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    Default Freedoms Moon (1st new song post in a very long Time) Written by Jimmy Jack Whittaker

    Hey Guys and Gals,
    Its been a few years since I actually posted some new songs... so here goes...This song is written by a fantastic writer and friend Jimmy Jack Whittaker.I met Jimmy through George here while they were recording a CD at George's place called Thank God for the Amvets.I had the honor to play guitars,Bass and Piano(I played piano on the original version of this song) on that CD. Its the only CD that has my name on it.Jimmy has had at least 2 other artist also cover this great song.I had a vision of this song and felt like I had to give a Go,so here it is..
    All recorded on a D3200,mixed in the D3200,and mastered with T-Racks 24. All instruments and Vocals were done by me.This is in the works in progress because the Bass and Guitars were all first takes played with just a click(the lead was a first take played with all the instruments though).I will go back and redo these.
    Please,if you guys get a chance,put Jimmy Jack Whittaker in youtube and look at all the incredible material He has either wrote,performed or all of the above.He is a fantastic Artist and If I could I would recommend his song and video "Called"...IMHO:Phenomenal

    Also BTW:Thank You George for putting this song up for me and asking me to participate in the AMVETS project

    https://app.box.com/s/t0nrmzkem2j7hxcy0tvob4edsd90540z

    Thanks in advance for the listen my studiotrax Brothers and Sisters!
    Brian

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    Default Re: Freedoms Moon (1st new song post in a very long Time) Written by Jimmy Jack Whitt

    Hey Bri, First it's great to see you posting here again. I haven't had a chance to hear this over my main rig yet, but I have to say your version of Jim's song is one of my favorites for sure. He's really going to enjoy what you've done here. Jim is one of the best songwriter's I have ever met not to mention a great guy all around and most excellent friend. He's quite a picker too. Next time he's here I'm hoping you will be able to join us so we can work on some tunes together in person. I really can't wait to see what he thinks but again I know he's going to love this. Excellent work my friend!!
    ~Geo524~

    Dead last is greater than did not finish which trumps did not start.

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    Default Re: Freedoms Moon (1st new song post in a very long Time) Written by Jimmy Jack Whitt

    My Brudda George,Thank You so much for all the listens on this and especially all of your help over the years my friend! Your a wealth of knowledge and I try to listen and use everything you show me.Im not sure,but I may have been able to master this a little more.I was afraid of clip and squashing to death and the volume wars. I also think a better Bass track would help alot in terms of the Low end Mix.Ive been having to run a Fender Squire Bass direct into the Korg Pres and I dont think its cutting it.(That VTB-1 you recommended to me is fantastic for the price,I need to get this fixed or a new one ASAP!).
    The background Vocs to me were the hardest part.I spent a ton of time on them(did 3 part harmony then double tracked all of them again).
    Thank you again George,and Im curious how it sounds through your better rig.It sounds a little thin here through my work computer speakers and may just be mastering and EQing tweaks

    You Rock George Big Time and I really Hope Jimmy Jack Doesnt Hate what I did to his Nice song ME--Jimmy Jack LOLOL!

    Brudda Bri

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    Default Re: Freedoms Moon (1st new song post in a very long Time) Written by Jimmy Jack Whitt

    Hey Brian,

    Really powerful and touching song. You have done a nice job putting all the pieces of this together. I am not familiar with the original, so I get the benefit of listening to it "for the first time, as it is", the way you have done it. You are certainly a talented musician and engineer to be able to arrange and put all this together. I really like the powerful guitars in this song. Almost gives the song an orchestral feeling. Nice guitar chops too! They really come through nicely.

    My only suggestion is that I had trouble hearing the lyrics at times. You have a great voice and your intonation is spot on. But somehow, on my system, the vocal is getting lost in the mix at times "as they say". I guess two suggestions might be to 1) go back and visit the vocal track and push it up in the overall mix (or maybe better yet, pull everything else back a tad) so that it has more presence compared to the other instruments and 2) experiment with some EQ on the vocal track to try to bring it out more. Also, what I have read and from my own limited experience, sometimes you can improve the vocal track by actually working on some of the accompanying instrument tracks. For example, EQing bass and drums to narrow their sound and thereby freeing up space in the mix for other instruments or vocals. Or using a high pass filer on a lead guitar to cut low frequencies not needed for that instrument, but which might be muddying up things in the overall mix. You have a great voice, but I have trouble picking up the lyrics at times because the other instruments seem to be overpowering it.

    I am no expert by any means and this is just my opinion. I think these are things that will not be improved by mastering, but are more likely addressed during the mixing process. As far as mastering goes, I think you have plenty of loudness going on, yet you still have good dynamic range.

    That said, I think this is a really nice job on a great song. Hats off to you sir for excellence is musicianship, engineering and production!!! Job well done. Looking forward to hearing more soon!!
    Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar; save perhaps two. - Frederick Chopin.

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    Default Re: Freedoms Moon (1st new song post in a very long Time) Written by Jimmy Jack Whitt

    Thank You so much for listening Jim and also for the great advice! The vocs are the toughest thing for me. I think its a combination of confidence in my voice and trying to get it above all the stuff I always have going on.I think your fixes are spot on too in terms of the EQing my individual instruments.Im just trying now to get what Low pass and High pass filtering is and how I should use it.I do understand the idea that it opens space for other frequencies to fill.Thats about as much as I know

    Thank you Jim for the listen and for the time you spent helping me with your great response! Its so valuable to me! Thank You!

    Brian

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    Default Re: Freedoms Moon (1st new song post in a very long Time) Written by Jimmy Jack Whitt

    Yes sir! It's like a holiday...a new song post from the Ronkonkoma Rocker!

    What a great job, my friend! Awesome. I listened to this a few times (on good AKG cans and decent 2.1 computer speakers). You are so friggin' talented! The drums sound great (what are you using for drums...are you playing a kit, and what was your capture and effects process?). Of course, the guitar work is stellar...I love the tone on your solo (again, if you don't mind my asking, what are you using to get that tone?). Both the cans and the speakers I used are not the best for judging the low end in a mix. I thought you played the bass part really well (can't believe it's one take to a click track), but it could probably use a little more energy in the mix.

    Overall, your mix is terrific...it really sounds like you took great care to make each instrument and vocal track sound just right. I did get a sort of "wall of sound" feel, which I think is appropriate for a powerful, dramatic song like this. Maybe a little EQ carving (and/or some minor reverb tweaking) might open things up a bit, but that's such a subjective thing, and it really sounds right "as is".

    The T-rackS mastering sounds fine. I'm like you, I want mastered songs to get that nice volume level boost without stripping the dynamics...and in this case, it sounds like you have succeeded (although it's hard to tell without comparing it to your pre-mastered mix).

    As for your vocals, I remember (back in the day) you didn't have as much confidence in your singing as you did with your playing, but this song clearly puts an end to that. You've got a great voice...and the bkg. vocals are "Eagles-quality" (the ultimate complement). You certainly don't need me for that anymore.

    Now...about the vocals in the mix. It could be my aging ears, but I had a bit of a difficult time making out the lyrics...even when the backing music is low, and the volume and quality of your voice is perfect. Could it be a processing thing (is there a chorus or some other effect on the vocal?). Maybe it's just an enunciation thing (there are many great singers that sometimes "swallow their words" a bit...I wish I could describe it better than that).

    Jim made some good suggestions, and like him, I am no expert. I do think the mix could benefit from just a touch of EQ. From what I have read and learned recently, here are some very basic EQ things that can help a mix:

    1) For Kick and Bass Gtr., if you tend to prefer the "rock" approach, which places the bass below the kick (fatter bass, punchier kick), you would leave the low frequencies for the bass (mainly in the 45Hz to 250Hz range), except to cut out some in the 75Hz to 100Hz area, which is where you would boost the Kick. You may also want to roll off the Kick from around 50Hz and lower (use a HPF if you have one) so it doesn't try to share the low end with the bass.

    2) For all guitars, keys, strings and vocals, rolling off the lower frequencies (anywhere from 100Hz to 250Hz and down...yep, a HPF) can help open things up a bit by reducing mud. This was hard for me at first (actually still is) because this low-end cut can make the solo'd tracks sound a little thin...but it really does work for the overall mix.

    3) To help vocals stand out, you can cut anywhere from 2kHz to 3kHz from guitars, keys and strings (whichever frequencies you find that are "covering" the vocal)...again, this won't help the sound of solo'd instrument tracks (this cut is not necessary when there are no vocals). I guess you just try to find a "happy medium" to get vocal clarity without stripping the life out of the instrumentation. Vocal track clarity can also be improved with a boost in the same 2kHz to 3kHz range that's notched out from the instruments. Also, a gentle boost to the vocal track in the 12kHz to 15kHz range can help improve vocal ambiance. These are all fairly wide ranges...the lower frequencies in these ranges tend to apply to male vocals.

    As is the case with all things in recording, these EQ suggestions are NOT a one-size-fits-all solution. You have to trust your ears because every track from every mix is different.

    Many here will find it comical that I'm sharing some info on EQ...I'm only learning about it myself. There are so many brilliant folks here who really know this stuff, and hopefully they will stop by and comment.

    It is so great to have you posting songs again...sharing your talents with us. Keep 'em coming, my Long Island brother!
    Bobby C
    "...That's just my opinion. I could be wrong..."
    Dennis Miller

    Gear: A mic, a mouth...and a Korg D1600Mkll

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    Default Re: Freedoms Moon (1st new song post in a very long Time) Written by Jimmy Jack Whitt

    Bobby,This means the world to me man! Honestly,when I started singing the song and doing the background vocals last weekend,I literally said out loud in my studio "OK man What would Bobby C do".Then I went for it..I know I sound like a broken record,but your vocals inspire me to try to be better,youve became like my Idol( the guys in my warehouse here,will atest to that!)..Like Ron stated in a reply to one of your last 2 songs,you have truly set the bar at studiotrax for your vocal Prowess.Also,when you did the vocals for the 2 Songs you helped me with(These I will be putting up next along with The Who Classic "The Dirty Jobs"),I truly got to hear what vocals are supposed to sound like.Especially hearing them all by themselves..I used this when I sang these by muting everything out other than a Piano and Bass,basically just for pitch,so I could truly hear what Im singing(That elusive 1st note I always miss and stopping and starting right on time to help make them Vocs sound Big).This was so helpful in my "approach" on how to get a better solid vocal... This was from the wavs you sent me years ago,they were flawless
    Thank you so much for this,and the great Tips you have just brought up.1)I never thought of Bass actually being beneath the Kick,Brilliant analogy and I understand this 100%! 2&3)Another Great Point and what Ive been doing is cutting off the high end and the Low end(On my Rhythm Guitars) a little,soloing them..notice Im losing a bit of the UMPH and kinda putting em back to the way they were..not helping a Mix at all!I really have to do this and leave it,come back the next day with fresh ears,and really hear the difference,Im sure it will add space.Same with my Keyboards,especially something like the B3 sound,Its the same frequency as a heavy rhythm guitar.All mush after all the Layering of tracks!
    About the actual Captures and recording,The Drums are recorded with a NADY Cheapo mic set that Greg(Tubeman) got for me.I really cant afford good mics so I asked Greg to keep an ear out and he found these for me(THANKS GREG!)I do use a Shure57 for my snare though..I just make sure I dont see clip and then just blast the song out..Fix it in the mix type thing
    Guitars are the Shure57 mic,Gibson LP or my Fender Strat through a Mesa Boogie Mark 3 through a 2x12 Cab.Just one mic and my amp really isnt too loud(On this song,these were also the original playing to a click track.I try to get as much of the song done in 1 night,then get the drums down,and then go back and clean everything up
    My vocal mic is a MXL2006.For this tune,its directly in the D3200.I do own a VTB-1 Mic Pre which is GREAT,but it took a spill off my monitor and now hums like the dickens.

    Thank you so much for the EQing help and the nice PM's.Like I said,Your chops as a Vocalist and engineer/mixer is making me better in everyway.Just knowing You and George makes me better in everything I record and play! Thats Priceless and I cant Thank you enough...OK,1 more time Thank You for everything you have done for me Bobby!

    Keep them tunes coming neighbor! I truly look forward to them!
    Brudda Bri
    Last edited by Mr Boogie; June 10th, 2015 at 05:54 PM.

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