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Friday Song Lab – "Like I Should"

For the duration of the summer, I’m posting music written specifically for “Zeus” every Friday. Some or all of these songs will be included on my next release – “The Zeus Collective”, which will be available for free download upon completion.
I’m back on the saddle this week. Here’s a short, little diddy I’ve had bumming around for a couple of months and finally put to tape. It’s got an M.Ward feel to it, I think.

Similar to “The Weight of a Feather” before it, “Like I Should” doesn’t fit into the Zeus storyline at all, but I’m not picky about what songs and ideas land in my head. I’m just glad they do.
I always enjoy writing songs that incorporate the Travis picking style, even when it sounds like ho-down music ala the song above. The song’s in the key of B, so I use a capo on the fourth fret to utilize the G-chord shape.


(verse) B – E – F# – B – G#m – Eb7 – E – B … B – E – F# – B – G#m – E – F# – B
(chorus) G#Major – C#m7 – G# – C#m7 – F#7 – B7 – E – F#
You see that tonal switch from G#minor in the verses to a G#Major in the chorus? I thought you’d notice, you chord dork, you. I’m quite proud of it myself. Back when I started writing songs, I wouldn’t dare modulate out of key or throw something like a Gminor chord into a song played in Cmajor. My mode of thinking was: The minor third of G (Bb) doesn’t fit in the Cmajor scale, so why would it belong ANYWHERE in the song? This certainly threw restraints on my early playing, and only now have I begun experimenting in chord and key modulation within a song.
But I digress.
Other notes:

  • Recorded using Pro Tools. As I’ve stated before, one of my biggest gripes with Pro Tools is its dependency on high-end mastering software in order to get an optimal volume level out of my final mixes. GarageBand, on the other hand, gives me the freedom to crank up the master volume to my heart’s content, but the pre-amps are weak. So, I combined the two. I bounced my Pro Tools session to a WAV file, pulled in into GB and raised levels here and there. It worked alright, giving me an acceptable volume on my final MP3. Poor Man’s Mastering.
  • I mic’ed my practice amp for the first time with an SM-57, and the electric guitar parts came out great. I was convinced I needed an electric guitar interface, something like a Line 6, to get solid tones. Wrong. No wonder the SM-57 is the baseline standard for mic’ing guitar amps.
  • This is one of those songs that I went back and forth on whether I wanted a stripped down, guitar-vocal only track, or something more complete and full. In the end, I just couldn’t help throwing in more instruments to fill it out. I marvel at how an artist like Elliott Smith could make a simple solo-acoustic track seem so dense.