Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The acoustic guitar of happiness

A couple of years ago, toward the end of a coffeehouse gig, I asked the friends who'd come out to see us if they'd like to hear a sad song or a happy song next. One of them piped up, "You have happy songs?"

I've acquired a rep for musical angst. Though there are several reasons for this, my theory is that listeners' impressions would be different if I played guitar rather than keyboard. It's entirely possible to write cheerful songs on piano and depressing ones on guitar, of course. But all things equal, there's something so much more optimistic about the acoustic guitar sound.

Ron the Drummer has never been convinced. As far as he's concerned, you create the sound you want with whatever you have at your disposal -- period. And I have to admit, we've been able to pull off a lot of "guitar songs" without a guitar.

* * *

A year and a half ago we recorded a demo of "Everybody Knows About Me" to raise awareness about CFIDS/ME. The song is pretty damn depressing. Drew Raison, who produced our album a few years back, mixed it down for free, and he's been putting down other instruments to flesh it out, make it sound more professional, less demo-ish.

Last I heard, Drew had found a guitarist willing to help us out. The session had gone well. The guitar track was beautiful. Drew decided not to use it. Beautiful or not, the sound was just wrong. It was ... too happy.

For some reason this amuses me.

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