HOW IT FELT WHEN YOU WENT AWAY – PART 1

My title is from my song "More Than You Know. I read revised lyrics at my son’s funeral in 1992, but composed this song when I was 19.

My title is from my song “More Than You Know. I read revised lyrics at my son’s funeral in 1992, but composed this song when I was 19.

Below are links to stories and audio for my song:

Story behind MORE THAN YOU KNOW-PART 1

Story behind MORE THAN YOU KNOW-PART 2  

Playing guitar at Kulak's

Since meeting with my editor, Carol, I haven’t felt like rewriting my audio book introduction. I plan to soon and especially look forward to writing about my song garden.

I simply love that beautiful metaphor. I really do consider myself to be a “song gardener” and my garden of music just keeps growing. Any stress in my life, becomes my fertilizer!

As I continue to improve, I am intimately acquainted with my garden. There are older plants that I know hold the potential for even more exquisite blooms. Sometimes new seeds begin to poke through and excite me. All of the “song plants” are alive for me – growing, changing and developing.

I wrote this exactly two years ago while in a waiting room at the hospital where my father was.

I wrote this exactly two years ago while in a waiting room at the hospital where my father was.

“Less is more”

My guitar playing has really improved. It’s not actually because I’ve practiced more. It’s because I have learned a lot about recording and editing. I have discovered how to erase those loud guitar squeaks that cut through an arrangement and annoy me. I prefer to have less to erase, so this has resulted in my simplifying chord lines and being more careful with my fret changes while playing.

Discovering new chord lines for some of my songs has been fun. Recently, I updated my arrangements for “Hang On” and “Alabaster Seashell.” First, I changed the key and tempo. Then I recorded my guitar into those gorgeous arrangements in a new way.

The metaphor to my life came into play with less is more. Sometimes it’s worth changing an old way. Perhaps a long time ago it worked, but my willingness to change has led to improvement. Simple and sweet is my new guitar playing concept!

I share below some recent examples of my guitar playing added into these revised arrangements:

ALABASTER SEASHELL guitar/karaoke-Copyright 2014 by J Unger

HANG ON guitar/karaoke-Copyright 2014 by J Unger

In addition to recording guitar, I’ve continued to sing new vocals for many of my songs. Editing vocal recordings is time-consuming, but very rewarding.

I’ve noticed that I’m not really improving technically as a singer anymore – in fact, I can share that I’ve definitely regressed! When I sing fully using my vocal chords, the sound is a bit harsh so I prefer singing breathier again. Certainly, practicing and exercising my voice would probably make a big difference.

In my small apartment, I’m inhibited from singing. My oldest son is a full-time student with attention issues. Whenever I sing, he asks me when I’ll be done so he can “get back to studying.” I practice singing in my car and it’s not that pleasant for me.

For the last few months, I have had little desire to perform and no longer attend open mics regularly like I used to. My reason is because it adds pressure for me. I’m far too emotional and vulnerable at this time in my life and my eyes hurt. So I’ve chosen to use my emotion as a beautiful addition to my recordings instead.

I love my recent vocals because I hear a huge difference – my songs have so much more feeling. It’s clear for me that I’m not thinking about my technique and instead I’m enjoying reaching into my heart to feel the words to my songs.

Blue Butterflies

“Surfing the emotional wave”

I looked at the time and was glad that Darrin’s studio was so close to my house. I was sure I could make it there in five minutes.

I took off my shoes and eyeballed the microphone. I could tell exactly where the mic should go after so many sessions of singing there. It seemed like the stand was little higher than usual. Darrin adjusted it and went back to sit at his computer behind the glass.

I put on my headphones – I only used one side because I always needed to hear my own voice. And the volume of the playback (karaoke) had to be just right or I tended to over sing.

Darrin’s voice came on loudly into one ear. “What song are we doing today?” he said sweetly.

I told him I needed a bunch of takes for my older version of “More Than You Know.” I was going to finalize my vocal from six months earlier, but after listening to it I decided I could sing it better.

Darrin replied, “No problem – give me a second.”

I closed my eyes and waited. Soon the arrangement was playing. I wished I had given myself more time to warm up.

My first two takes were very pitchy; it was usually that way for me. Nothing was wasted though because on the first takes I usually did better with the low notes.

Then on the third take, Darrin said, “That was nice. Let’s get another one just like it.”

It happened on the fourth take. I always try to feel my song. Emotion is something I consider golden. It can never be replicated the same way and happens when I have a true connection with my words.

There is one problem with emotion, though. It can grip the vocal chords and shut off singing completely!

I would describe it as surfing. I’m waiting for that wave – searching for it is hopeless because it swells up without warning. So I float along while being ready to catch it when it comes.

Sometimes the wave appears gradually. It builds and I can feel my body take off with it. Soon I’m riding that wave. I need to get off of it quickly if it’s too big. On rare occasions (maybe only a few times) I’m late and I wipe out!

It happened on that fourth take when I was singing the words of: “How it felt when you went away.” At that moment, I was reliving how it felt when Jason died.

And the wave was not a swell in the distance this time.

It was a monster that slapped the word “away” right out of my mouth. I tried to continue singing but my vocal chords were tight. I grabbed a few breaths as I tried to come up for air. The solo followed and I was weeping instead of singing. Eventually, a few minutes later I was able to sing again.

Darrin waited before beginning the next take. For the next two takes, I stopped surfing for emotion because I had plenty of it.

Rose Red Left

Late at night when I was editing, I knew I couldn’t use much of Take Four. A lot of it was blank. But the line of “how it felt when you went away” still held a golden moment for me.

This song gardener celebrated her new vocal for an old song blooming in her garden again!

I’m actually going to share those 37 seconds of my emotional Take 4. Click the blue link below to play audio:

Emotional Take 4 of MORE THAN YOU KNOW

Playing guitar at Kulak's 2

This link is to read more about my song: MORE THAN YOU KNOW

More Than You Know funeral lyrics  copy

This is the actual page of lyrics I read at Jason’s funeral.

© 2014 Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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