“The Voice” (Moody Blues Cover)

Originally posted 2008-01-27 23:00:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

And now, pinch-hitting for an under-the-weather Jeff, is Jim Fusco!  I’m sitting in to bring you yet another great acoustic cover song music video here on the best music blog around: The Laptop Sessions!  Tonight, I bring you one of my favorite songs from the Moody Blues, “The Voice”, from their #1 album, “Long Distance Voyager”.

Actually, this tune is climbing up my all-time favorites list as it has all the criteria for a song I would love: a catchy tune, faster paced, that glorious late 70’s, early 80s sound that’s not too overdone, and a great guitar solo.  Of course, I’ve stripped all of that out in my version here, except for the tune and the tempo, but I think it gives a different take on the song as a whole.  And that’s what you should expect from all of my cover songs- a different take on my favorite songs of all time.  And, if you like the same songs I like, you’re sure to love my original music, as well!  Visit my website at http://jimfusco.com and take a listen!

I actually recorded a full version of this song a few weeks ago, complete with synthesizers! I think it sounds just like the original and was a lot of fun to try recreating the sounds.  There’s something about that synthesizer sound that the Moody Blues used.  They hired Yes keyboardist Pat Moraz and updated their sound for the late 70s.  Of course, they didn’t have Mike Pinder’s mellotron anymore, so they had to have something to replace it.  I know the songs probably sound very “80s” to everyone now (“The Voice” is very heavily based on synthesizers), but to me, the music has worn pretty well.  There are some 80s songs that I can’t even listen to.  The synthesizers sound so fake and dated.  But, the music of the Moody Blues during the Pat Moraz years doesn’t sound embarrassing like those other songs from the same time period (like the synths the Beach Boys used on “Love You”).

But, again, my acoustic cover song versions take away the synthesizers (and everything else, for that matter) and give you the song in its raw form.  I want people to know what the song really sounds like.  It’s interesting, though- you’ll actually hear all of the other parts in your head as you listen to my cover video.

By the way- if you haven’t heard “Long Distance Voyager” yet, please get a copy!  It’s an amazing album and features some of my favorite songs of all time in “The Voice” and “Gemini Dream”.  Plus, there are great contributions from drummer Graeme Edge (“22,000 Days”) and Ray Thomas (“Veteran Cosmic Rocker”).

Okay, look for a new cover song music video from Jeff tomorrow and again on “Original Wednesday”, as no matter the circumstance- you’re getting a Session a Day in ’08!

“Slide” (Goo Goo Dolls Cover)

Originally posted 2008-07-22 21:45:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeff Copperthite:

What’s happening world?  It’s Jeff Copperthite here with the latest installment of The Laptop Sessions.  After two incredible showings by Chris and Jim, I can only hope that today’s video comes close to the quality that is on theirs.

I am happy to bring another new band to the sessions, and it is a band I have been a long time fan of.  I’m more surprised that it has taken me this long to dig up a song i’d like to cover by them.  The band is The Goo Goo Dolls – a band that has been around for over 20 years and has released multiple albums.   It took their 5th album to gain a significant following, upon the release of the song “Name”.

Well, i’m not doing “Name”, but I am doing one of their other popular songs – hey, it’s only one more character too – called “Slide” from their album “Dizzy Up The Girl”.  While seemlingly simple to play, getting the strum pattern and the arpeggiated intro/middle down was tough.

I hope you enjoy the new original album scrolling image on top of the page – be sure to check out our material as all three of us are very proud of our work, and we hope you agree!

Be sure to come tomorrow to see another terrific original tune performed by our very own Jim Fusco.  I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us all.

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, Jeff’s acoustic cover song music videos are no longer on YouTube, but we decided to keep his cover song blog posts up.  We figured these music blog entries would be good for posterity’s sake and because Jeff always gave such insightful posts each Session.  We hope to see Jeff’s impressive catalog of acoustic rock songs here on the Laptop Sessions cover songs and original music blog again in the future.  But, for now, please make sure to check-out hundreds of other acoustic cover songs from all of your favorite bands here on the Laptop Sessions music blog!

Insight on acoustic video covers for the Laptop Sessions

Originally posted 2008-05-24 22:10:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeff Copperthite:

When the idea came across to do The Laptop Sessions as a free video series, Jim started it all off by watching a video of Let It Be that was covered highly incorrectly, and Jim recorded himself playing it correctly. He wanted to put a good name to music covers on Youtube – especially covers of one of his favorite bands The Beatles. Also, in spirit of “The Bathroom Sessions”, which was a free music video series by two members of Barenaked Ladies, I helped coin the term “Laptop Sessions”, since Jim was using the camera on his laptop to record the video.

After the positive response to sessions that Jim put out, Chris and I decided to help Jim with the “Session a day” project starting in 2008. Initially, Jim enlisted Chris to put up one video between each of them, so that the site had a new music video each day. I had tried ten sessions in late 2007, but I had stopped doing them due to the low quality web camera I owned. In general, I was still new to the realm of video as well.

After nearly 60 new video sessions recorded for The Laptop Sessions this year, I have recording videos down to a science. Here is a typical rundown of what it takes for me to make each session.

1) Practice the song

This is the obvious one. As a songwriter, I know the more comfortable I am with the song, the better the video will come out. I grew up hearing a lot of music in the 90’s, so I tend to be most comfortable when I decide to do a song by bands such as Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Radiohead. However we do try to diversify our recordings across the years, and I know I cannot limit myself to alternative music bands. Therefore, some songs require up to a week of practice. Others I can learn and play comfortably in an hour or two. I will usually begin practicing the song regularly up to two-three days before I record it.

2) Set up the video recording station

Lately I have four common locations for my videos. The biggest problem I have is that I do not have a tripod for my camera (yet – I do plan to buy one). Therefore, I have to rest my camera on a makeshift stand. I also have to make sure there is enough light. Even during the day, I have to have at least one lamp on so the video doesn’t come out dark. After that, I position the camera, set the zoom, tune the guitar, and do a practice run of the song on the acoustic. Music tends to be easy for me – it’s singing and remembering lyrics that is the most difficult. For this reason, I have to put a small sheet of “notes” that remind me what verse or line to sing next. Sometimes, I have to include the entire lyric sheet, but that is rare. “Round Here” comes to mind as a song I just needed that entire lyric sheet by the camera for.

3) Record the video

When I am satisfied that I can record the song, I psych up for the performance. Lately, I have been able to record the song in about three or four takes. I don’t worry about what happens before or after the performance, since I can edit that out in the next step. As you have seen on our site, recording acoustic guitar video covers is real easy some days, other days you want to throw your guitar against the wall because something minor keeps messing takes up. “Jane” comes to mind with this (despite it being a piano cover). I had played it on the first take and was very happy to have satisfactorily made it through the song. That is, until I discovered the battery had died in the middle of the recording. I charged the battery, and then it took me another 20 or so takes to get it again. Other times, the performance comes so naturally you wonder why you practiced the song so much beforehand.

4) Edit the Video

This is probably the easiest step, despite it taking up to 30 minutes. I transfer the video to my laptop (as you can tell, I don’t own a laptop with a built-in camera, so technically I should be doing “The Powershot Sessions”). Once the video is transferred, I split the clip to the parts I want (usually this involves trimming out the beginning and end of the clip), then add on two title screens and a credit roll. Then, depending on the length of the performance, I render the video, which can take up to 12 minutes for long songs.

5) Write the description, and upload the video.

While the video renders, I write the Youtube description and tags. Usually I will comment on the song I chose, why I chose it, the album it is from, and any comments on the performance itself. I will also usually throw in some current news and other tidbits of info. My descriptions tend to be at least 100 words long. I can usually get both descriptions on the blog and Youtube before the video finishes rendering. Then I upload the video, copy the embedding information onto the blog, and publish!

What keeps me fresh for the sessions is when I try to listen to new music that I may like to cover. I found on Chris and Jim to introduce me to bands and songs I’d otherwise not know, but some people I know also help me out in that department. It is also fun to use this as a springboard to get people to hear our independent music. That is why we do “Original Wednesday”, and slowly we are building up some excitement from our subscribers when that day rolls around. At least we know everyone watching will be listening to something they’ve never heard before.

I hope you enjoyed getting some insight on the process on my end. As always, if you have questions please email [email protected], and direct your questions to me, Jeff Copperthite. Have a great evening!

“Baby I Love Your Way” (Peter Frampton Cover)

Originally posted 2008-12-29 23:06:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

My LAST post of the year is the my last entry into our “Session a day” project.  I can’t believe it’s over, but I also can’t believe that it took this long to get where we are!  I mean, yes, we’ve gotten some success, but it certainly hasn’t been overnight.  We’re talking over a year now!  But, I do see many great signs of progress every day here on the best music video blog ever created.  Tell your friends- tell your enemies- tell everyone!

Tonight, I bring you a classic tune off of the album that Peter Griffin asked, “You what was huge?  ‘Frampton Comes Alive.’  Honestly, was there even one person you knew who didn’t have that record?”  It’s so true.  I went out and got a copy on CD a few years back.  I’m not a huge fan of long, drawn out, jam sessions, so the concert was of limited enjoyment to me.  But, I did get a few great songs off of this album, especially because the famous versions are from that concert.  I first bought a copy of a Frampton Greatest Hits, but it had the studio version of “Show Me the Way”.  The version everyone knows is the live version!  And then, I had always heard the studio version of “Baby I Love Your Way” on the radio.  Guess what?  The live version graced that disc.  I was pissed.  That actually happened to me once before with a Neil Diamond greatest hits album.  I so desperately wanted the studio version of a certain song and the collection only had the live cut.  This was back in the days before iTunes and commercially available mp3s, so no help there.

I really enjoy “Baby I Love Your Way”.  It’s a simple song- no odd stops or middle eights or guitar solos- but it gets the sentiment across well and has a nice, recognizable tune.  I had fun playing this one.  I’m always concerned that I look angry while I’m playing these songs.  That is, angry or just very hurt.  I have to catch myself on things like that.  For this video, I had to do about ten takes (only one other full one) to get it right.  I kept putting the wrong emphasis on words or I would look in the camera and notice I had this scowl on my face.  Ah, the Laptop Sessions…

THANK YOU to all who have supported us in our efforts to bring you a cover song a day for the entire year of 2008!  We’ll be donig a video a week (each) next year, but to make up for the slower schedule, we’ll be writing articles, posting music reviews, and adding the chords to your favorite songs so you can play along!  Have a GREAT New Year.  My next scheduled post won’t be until Tuesday, January 6th, but I don’t think I can be away for that long, so I’ll be on here, redesigning the homepage for the site for the new year and new schedule.  Until then!