Discover more from Matthew Moran: Music & Musings
Love Has Flown (Acoustic)
A song I wrote a few years ago
This may be a sneak-peak, or a nice acoustic demo, or a ready-to-release purely acoustic song. I keep promising myself to do that - get acoustic songs out into circulation.
I loved the word-play and story in this song when I wrote it back in 2020. I pulled it out about a week ago and, guess what, I still love it.
You may have gleaned that I am, at times, enamored with my own writing. Mind you, I am, at times dismayed at what I’ve let slip through the cracks of good taste and effective scrutiny as well. But, this ain’t one of those times.
The song was written in OPEN E tuning. I’ll share a little bit about writing, recording, and producing this recording below the song and lyrics.
LOVE HAS FLOWN © 2020 Matthew Moran This is what it’s come down to One box left for me & one for you As if we needed one more clue He’s waiting in your car That’s a wrap, the final scene The start, the end, the in between Let’s just call the memories Scars upon the heart Most mornings I’ve been sleeping in Can’t recall the reasons to begin I’m sure I’ll find my way again Tho, in truth, I have my doubts This world we built and then tore down I wander through, I stumble round Hardly recognize this lonely town A stranger on the outs --- Roll away that stone Question all I've ever known I guess it's mine to own Life in these tones of blue Let go of that me and you What else is there left to do Now that love has flown --- I’ll call this next phase, “letting go” Play the game, put on the show Smile so they never know The future that I saw That’s about the size of it Reviewed the facts, they still don’t fit The wins, the losses, and the split They don’t feel much like a draw --- Roll away that stone Question all I've ever known I guess it's mine to own Life in these tones of blue Let go of that me and you What else is there left to do Now that love has flown ###
There are times you write songs drawing on actual events and a current emotional state. I shared this song with a friend soon after writing it. They wrote back and asked if everything was okay with Deb and I.
Yes… everything was good then and is good now. Very few songs are directly auto-biographical and, a good writer should be able to delve into and draw from past emotions. We’ve all experienced joy and we’ve all experienced heartache and loss.
I was playing with open tunings and wrote the initial lines of the song…
This is what it comes down to
One box left for me and one for you
As if we needed one more clue
He’s waiting in your car
As soon as I wrote that, I knew I would complete the song. There aren’t many details but enough to paint the picture. Two people moving out of a place they once shared and a third-party to complicate things.
I dislike songs that over-explain. Too many country songs do that (in my opinion). The listener should be able to paint their own picture of the scene. Was a goodbye said? I don’t think there was a hug… though, I suspect both thought about it.
And there are no villains. No blame.. he (whoever he is) indicates they both built and tore down this world.
In any case, that’s what I like about the song. A lot of space for the listener to craft their own details and back-story.
What is open tuning?
Open tuning is where you tune your guitar strings to the the three notes that make a major or minor chord. If you did not press down any frets and strum all six strings, a fully-formed chord is played. [Footnote 1]
It can sound lush and leads to interesting patterns on the fretboard.
There are some performers who rarely tune their guitar to standard tuning. They exclusively use open and other alternate tunings. Other than using a rock and country tuning called, Drop D (you drop your low E string to a D), I avoided open tunings until I wrote a song titled, Marie, a few years ago.
For Love Has Flown, I was in OPEN D and put a capo on my 2nd fret. That makes the tuning OPEN E.
I recorded this using my Rode condenser mic. I’ve been recording things using my Shure SM57 in order to reduce ambient noise but recently moved back down into my office [Footnote 2], allowing me to reduce background noise a bit more.
Below is an image of my recording software - the guitar and vocal tracks. The guitar tracks are color-coded red. The vocals are color-coded green. You can see I’ve done a little “comping” - where I use the better sections of multiple “takes” to make a whole track.
When I find the section I want to keep, I lock it and make it bright yellow. It makes it easy to visually spot sections that I need to go back over.
I recorded two matching guitar - fairly straight-forward strumming pattern. I panned them left and right… a little EQ, compression, and reverb.
A single vocal track, doubled in the chorus. For the vocals, I tried something new. I applied some reverb but I EQ’d the reverb to cut out almost all the low-end and to reduce the low-mid tones.
Guitar and my vocals sit (live) sonically in the low-mids and mids. What this means is that those areas of the mix end up up crowded and muddy. Too many sounds competing for the space.
I was reading an article and then watching a video on vocal processing. In both, they suggested cutting much of your low-end (bass) tones on your vocal reverb. It makes a difference.
I’m working on understanding more about the production side of things.
That’s it - I’ll be back on Thursday with some musings. There’s a lot going on.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you.
Thank you for joining me here!
With Love and Gratitude,
October 9, 2023
A note for the Joan Baez aficionados… Yes, I know that there are other alternate or open tunings that involve more than the three notes that make up a major or minor chord. Shhh.. I’m keeping things simple.
It’s been nearly two years since I’ve been in my office. There is a significant reason for this. Hint: Someone’s addiction recovery has progressed in ways that deserve mention in a future article.