I love doing hymns. Love it. I am probably butchering them. If so, I do apologize. I certainly mean no disrespect to the writers, or for that matter, the intent of worshipping our Lord. God alone deserves our utmost respect, reverence, love. God alone is worthy of our entire selves. I personally think the writers of many old hymns were writing from that perspective – complete adoration of our Lord and Savior. I can’t say that about many contemporary Christian songs these days….
So I came up with this idea to do my own little renditions of some older hymns. I’ve been thinking of this for some time. Actually DOING this came on when I upgraded my studio. I am no longer using my Korg multi-track system, I moved back to Cakewalk’s Sonar product on a PC – Sonar X3 Producer to be exact. It is – SO cool….
So I thought I’d run through some of these songs, as an exercise to re-learn how to use Sonar, and learn some of the add-ins to the product (Addictive Drums and Dimension Pro are a couple products I toyed around with on this one for example). My “hope” is each one gets progressively better in recording quality.
I’ve been playing around with the song “I Surrender All” for a couple years. I was toying around with the arrangement, when I came upon this one, which I love. It’s a bit different than your normal rendition, I hope you like it.
I included four versions of the song – the final mix, my iPhone demo recording, a demo I did in 2012 (different rendition), and the original demo I laid down with Sonar. Some notes on each one, in reverse….
the 2014 Demo – I laid this down, as my first attempt with Sonar. I actually kept the vocal track, tweaking it a bit, for the final one. I love the rendition, but you can hear the buzz in my old guitar. What a heartbreaker – the neck is separating from the body…. I had to replace the guitar, but I still have it. I am hopeful someone can repair it some day. I love that guitar. It’s an old Epiphone acoustic, from the 70’s I think, that my wife bought me for my birthday a couple years back. Sounds really sweet, minus the buzz you hear on this recording.
Anyway, just my vocal and guitar. Stripped down (as are most renditions on this record).
The 2012 Demo – This was a rendition I played around with a couple years ago. I was going to do a full band version, either record it or do at church. But never got around to it. I like my new version much better, but thought I’d include this one as well. Recorded with my Korg mult-track, just vocal and guitar.
The iPhone Demo – I recorded this one immediately after stumbling upon this rendition. I didn’t want to forget what I came up with. I do that a lot, just lay down little parts, or songs, or words, or riffs, with my phone. Very rough sounding, but you get where this started.
The Final Mix – This is it. This is me learning how to use Sonar X3 and some of it’s cool features. I used Addictive Drums for the drum track, with a MIDI controller (My keyboard actually). Drums are slightly off time, because I first laid down the guitar to a click – and I don’t play very well to a click track (I hope to learn, as I think I’ll be using it often for recording now). But it gives it a sort of “sloppy basement band” feel – which actually fits my recording style anyway. I’m the master at using high tech stuff to make low-tech recordings. It’s how I do!
I also used Dimension Pro to get the strings and organ sounds. Yes, there is an old organ on there, just buried.
Bass was run though a cool fuzz pedal, into my channel strip.
Guitar was my Epi Dot, into my BlackStar head and I “think” that cabinet? I can’t remember now, maybe I used my Marshall cab? Anyway, I used my Rotovibe pedal to get the warbly sound.
I added tape emulation, analog console emulation, etc, to try and “warm up” the song. Mostly doing what I see others do in their blogs and videos.
Anyway, I like the final product. I hope you do as well. And I would love to hear any comments – drums are too quiet, too loud, bass is missing, mix is crap, etc – anything you might think would help me in the future.
Thanks much! And here is the link: