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A Fifty-Dollar Cowboy Hat

 
       
 
Dec 03, 2018, 08:49 PM

Just a demo of a thing I was writing over the weekend. Sorry about the quality

https://soundcloud.com/user-804172376-210408674/a-fifty-dollar-cowboy-hat

 
     
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Rhys Fraser Joined Jan 30, 2018
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Dec 04, 2018, 11:04 AM

Hey, Rhys, I think this is really good. For some reason it made me think of Tracey Chapman, probably the delivery where sometimes you run two lines together. Love the lyric.

The chorus is kind of similar to the verse melodically, but that didn’t seem like a problem to me. If you wanted to vary it a bit more, you could try this.

I’ll be broke tomorrow
But now I’m fine [hold the note on now for 3 beats and go up with your voice on fine]
I’ll cross that bridge tomorrow
Once I know I survived [go up with your voice on -vived]

Your style is to pack a lot of words into each line, and that works fine. If you changed that you wouldn’t be you. Also, it’s in vogue right now (Ed Sheeran). However, it also provides the opportunity to make the chorus something different, holding notes and allowing space for the music.

I would change this line…
Smiling like as if I’m alive

to…
Smiling as if I’m alive

Not only is it grammatically correct, but it fits the melody better and is easier to sing.

Lastly, I would get rid of the “good ol’ jack.” Seems like everyone in a song drinks Jack Daniels. Make it a different drink to give the singer more personality.

Just my two cents, which is probably about what it’s worth :)

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Dec 04, 2018, 09:07 PM

Hello Rhys,

Ok, you finally hooked me.  Your style is beginning to grow on me, and I believe this piece is pretty good, especially being a weekend shot to boot.  I agree with Gavin’s suggestion “Smiling as if I’m alive”, however I would seriously consider keeping “good ol jack”.  I also like the solo, simple but oh so smooth, fits well.  Thank you for sharing, good luck and best wishes,

Speak soon,

Music is an international language, say it with a song.

 
     
Deacon Joined Aug 30, 2009
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Dec 05, 2018, 02:18 PM

Hey Gavin and Deacon,first off, thanks a ton for a kind words and critiques. I appreciate how you two (andother folks on here) are so positive and constructive with your critiques. Makes it really easy to share things when you’re still unsure. I tried re-recording if with “and a smile, singing as if I’m alive” as the last line of the chorus. It still may be too long/clunky, but it conveys my intended point. In the original lyrics I should’ve written it as ‘smiling like “as if I’m alive”’, as I was intending it to convey a sense of wonder at the idea that I’m alive at all, tying it into the whole positive attitude towards being broke thing. Tried it with “a thirty dollar bottle” instead of “thirty bucks of good ol’ jack” and I’m still not sure which I prefer, in all honestly. Also changed “once I know I’ve survived” to “if I survive tonight” which I think just generally comes across better. Glad ya liked the solo Deacon, I was really proud of how that one turned out! The re-recorded solo doesn’t flow quite so well, but it’s alright. I’ll get a better take of it when I’m in the mindset to. Anyways, thanks again guys. The updated demo is posted below if you’re interested in listening/critiquing the edits. Once again, always appreciate the feedback, cheers guys!

https://soundcloud.com/user-804172376-210408674/a-fifty-dollar-cowboy-hat-1

 
     
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Rhys Fraser Joined Jan 30, 2018
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Dec 05, 2018, 08:54 PM

Hello Rhys,

Hey, I like the lyric changes in the second cut, however I prefer the vocals and guitar work in the first cut, please let me explain.  I am drawn to your songs because of the raw effect of your vocals, they are real, down to earth, not doctored.  I noticed that you sang parts of the chorus on the second cut slightly higher than the first, no big deal, but the first sounded better.  Your guitar work is very close on both cuts however the solo does differ slightly, the first does seem to flow better.  Some folks prefer to listen to radio ready songs, (exact, precise, totally in key in every aspect), and most songs should be presented in that way.  However, some songs need to sound real, as if the listener were sitting right in front of the musician/singer, unplugged unmastered, unadulterated, and in my opinion this is one of those songs.  Probably many will disagree, but this is what I like about your style.  Good luck and best wishes,


Speak soon,

Music is an international language, say it with a song.

 
     
Deacon Joined Aug 30, 2009
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Dec 06, 2018, 01:07 PM

Hey Deacon, honestly I completely agree. The first is a better take, in that it definitely sounds better. I need to practice it more so I can keep it consistently sounding like that. Glad ya liked the lyric changes, that’s in my mind the most important thing. I’m going to keep tinkering with it, but thanks again for the feedback, it definitely helps! Talk soon

Cheers

 
     
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Rhys Fraser Joined Jan 30, 2018
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Jan 19, 2019, 06:41 PM

Hi, Rhys!

I’m completely agree with Deacon, I think that the main feature of this song is your voice, very unique, casual, and sincere.
It sounds very well in “1 + 1” format. 

I think it can be your visit card if you treat it carefully.

It seems to me that you are hurrying a bit while playing the guitar. It can be a bit slower, more profound.

Very nice composition, thank you for sharing!

 
     
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Alexey Zhabinsky Joined Aug 01, 2018
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Jan 20, 2019, 03:49 PM

Hey Alexey, thanks a lot! I’m really glad you enjoyed it, and I really appreciate you taking the time to offer such kind feedback. I think I do tend to rush my guitar playing a bit, definitely something I’m working on. Thanks again!

Cheers

 
     
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Rhys Fraser Joined Jan 30, 2018
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Jan 20, 2019, 05:49 PM

Thank you :)

One my favorite artists is Leonard Cohen and he said that it took many years before he found his own voice. But know it is recognizable and he is famous for his voice timbre and his manner.
I think you could go this way as well.

Best wishes,

Alex.

 
     
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Alexey Zhabinsky Joined Aug 01, 2018
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Jan 20, 2019, 08:12 PM

Thanks again, Alex! I re-recorded this today, I think it’s a bit better than the last take if you or anyone’s interested

Cheers

https://soundcloud.com/user-804172376-210408674/a-fifty-dollar-cowboy-hat-2

 
     
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Rhys Fraser Joined Jan 30, 2018
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