And here it is- the end of the line. I can’t believe we’re already through all 14 days of my Rock’n’Roll Christmas celebration! Remind me to never do this again.
Today’s song is my original Christmas tune, “Christmas Morning”, that I wrote back in high school! I personally think every artist has ONE good Christmas song in them. And, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure that I’d ever be able to come up with another one as catchy as this one, so I don’t think I’m going to try!
I recorded this song for the first time back in 2004 for our Christmas album, “Our Christmas Gift To You”. At the time, I was just getting used to playing the guitar and recording with my digital 24-track. I had basic microphones, too. Now, I have a Cab Clone to record my guitars, various tube amps, high quality mics, compressors, preamps, and…the same 24 track mixer. But, if you’ve heard both versions, you can really tell a big difference. I’ll probably end-up recording this again in the future after my equipment gets even better!
My wife Becky helps me sing on this tune, too. I was going to have my brother Mike help out, but he was sick when he came home for Thanksgiving, so he couldn’t sing on it. Next time, though!
I hope you’ve had as much fun reading and listening to these Christmas songs as I have making them. It’s a pretty big accomplishment for me to do all of this while being so busy otherwise. I hope I can maybe just do one song a year from now on, just to keep me into the recording process. Enjoy “Christmas Morning” and have a Merry Christmas!
Welcome to the Laptop Sessions for Tuesday! Today, I bring you yet another new band to the Sessions. Well, it’s not a “new” band by any means, but we’ve haven’t done them before: The Temptations!
This song is also in contention for the longest song title award. I’ve always liked this song, but for some reason it moved its way quickly up my list when I thought of it one night and learned how to play it.
Temptations songs are a bit harder to do, like the Beach Boys, because of their usual harmonies, but it’s fun to take a song that has so much more production and make it into a solo performance. That, in my opinion, is what makes the Laptop Sessions so unique.
Over the next few weeks, it’s going to be my focus to do as many new bands as possible. I still have a couple of songs in the reserves to get to first, but look for a wide array of new artists to come!
I was so disappointed to find that Monday’s video wasn’t a Beatles song- myself and my fellow Acai Berries had an all-new Beatles video ready to go to keep the streak alive, but now I guess I’ll save it until next week. It’s a cool one, too, so be sure to check back!
Onto tonight’s video:
“You Can Do Magic” is one of those songs that I didn’t need to convince Becky to like. This was a Top 5 Billboard hit for America in the mid eighties and was their last big hit to date. Of course, they didn’t write this song and, if my memory serves me from reading the America Box Set liner notes like seven years ago, they didn’t play any of the instruments on it, either. The writer of the song basically wrote it for the members of America (namely Gerry Beckley, whose “unique” voice actually works pretty great on this song) to sing and had the whole thing ready. All Beckley and Bunnell had to do was overdub some vocals. The guitar solo part in the beginning does sound like Beckley’s style, so maybe it’s him on that part…
That first guitar part was something I tinkered with before going to our recording session last week. But then Steve came in and said, “Hey Jim, how about this over the beginning chords,” and busted out a great part on the 12-string Gibson that blew me away. So, out went my dinky solo on regular acoustic and in came Steve’s jangly solo on the 12-string. You can even hear Chris C. playing in the background (he’s actually on camera during next week’s video) if you turn it up, as he was picking the bass parts (an octave higher) on his mandolin.
Let me take this opportunity to say that I’ll finally admit that a Martin guitar is probably worth the extra money. Every time I pick up Steve’s guitar, I’m just in awe of how clean and clear it sounds. The low strings are especially crisp and it stays in near-perfect tune, too. They make a new all-wood version for around $999 (the company cited the recession as a reason to make an “affordable” guitar), but it’s probably going to be quite some time before I can justify purchasing that. Could be a nice Christmas present from Becky…for the next ten years…
And how about Steve’s vocals? He did a great job backing me up on this song- again, it’s like singing with my father or my brother. They already know the parts and just sometimes ask for me to clarify something. It’s not like I have to teach them the part- it just sorta comes naturally. What a breath of fresh air. It’s one of the big reasons (besides his ability to pick up chord changes by ear) why we can bust-out two videos during a recording session. And Chris C. can sight-read. One take and he’s ready to go. My vocals, even though I don’t like to point these things out, were a bit weak, as this take was done after two solid hours of playing and singing. Earlier takes (done in the first half-hour) were much stronger on my part- my voice was just tired at this point.
And, we get a rare glimpse of Steve on camera this week!! Don’t get used to it- you don’t see him at all in next week’s video!
I hope you enjoy this classic America tune. Of course, I’ll be back next week with another Traveling Acai Berries video, so come on back. But, while you’re at it, remember that we post every Monday and Thursday, as well! I, for one, love to keep up with the posts and I’ve read every single one. It’s great to check your email (remember to subscribe to the blog- click the links on the sidebar to the left) and get a fresh new post/video three times a week! Plus, check out our past videos, as they’re just as good as the new ones (I sound like one of those annoying AT&T Rollover Minutes commercials) and even if you started today, you’d have well over a year of quality entertainment at your fingertips.
On the personal front, this has been a good week of getting stuff done- painting over the weekend and securing a renter for our place (!!!!) was followed by delivering the lighting to our new house, which we got a mini tour of today. It looks amazing (we have trim around the windows, which is a novelty that we didn’t have in the condo) and it’s really coming together. I can’t believe it’s about three weeks away…
Until next week, enjoy tonight’s video and enjoy Jeff’s video on Thursday! It’s sure to please- talk to you then!
Welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!
I’m back again tonight after a short sabbatical. I’m glad to present a great song, “San Francisco” off of Brett Dennen’s 2009 album “Hope for the Hopeless”.
I’ve been in love with this album ever since my friend (and boss) Bill gave me the album to listen to. I’ve since purchased it on vinyl- you’ll see my copy behind me in the video.
I’ve also been purchasing a lot of new albums on vinyl, including Jack Johnson’s “To the Sea” and “Stone Temple Pilots”, both of which I haven’t listened to yet. I’m getting myself ready for the STP album by listening to their previous effort, “Shangri-La-Dee-Dah”. Jeff always used to talk about that album, so I asked for it for my birthday and I’m loving the album. I’m so excited about the new disc! Actually, I did listen to it once while transferring my vinyl copy over to the computer using my brother’s ION USB turntable. Mine’s on the fritz…of course…
I’ve been taking it a bit easier lately, which is good because it’s been BUSY. I’ve gotten a lot more done around the house and have been watching my Mets, who’ve been on a big roll lately.
I hope to keep up with this light Laptop Sessions schedule- I’ll definitely make it a point to.
Anyway, I’ve wanted to record “San Francisco” for a very long time now and was happy to get the opportunity now. What’s cool is that Brett Dennen himself used his Martin D-28 acoustic guitar to record this album. Hearing his great sound and great songs was a factor in my choosing a Martin, too. Even though mine cost about half the price of his, mine’s still all solid wood and (in my opinion) sounds just as good! Remember all the research I did? Well, I truly believe I got the best I could for the money.
Over the next few weeks, I plan on covering songs from Ringo Starr, Scissor Sisters, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Jack Johnson, and Stone Temple Pilots- ALL of whom have albums out this summer! So, the cover song list keeps on growing. So, have a great Tuesday and be sure to come back again for another Laptop Session with Jim Fusco soon!