Famous Fans of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco

Originally posted 2010-05-18 23:21:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Okay, so they might not be household names, but Jim Fusco’s acoustic cover song music videos have gotten some pretty interesting comments over the years.  Here’s an ever-growing list of notable people that have become fans of Jim’s videos:

Geoffrey Cushing-Murray: This late-70’s Beach Boys lyricist wrote “Goin’ South” with Carl Wilson and even “Love Surrounds Me” with Dennis Wilson, which appeared on “L.A. (Light Album)”.

I enjoyed seeing this very much. It’s gratifying to know this song still has a life. Carl and I were very proud of it and hoped it would find an audience over time. Thanks again and good job. Geoffrey Cushing-Murray

Greg Douglass: He wrote the music to the #26 hit “Jungle Love”, made famous by Steve Miller in the late 70’s.

Wow. I co-wrote this tune, and this is impressive. Works well unplugged! Good work, dude…Wrote the music & played guitar on the track, as well as touring with Steve for a few years. Again, cool job. Always fun to see something I’m involved with re-interpreted.

More to follow!

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!

“Goin’ Up The Country” (Canned Heat Cover)

Originally posted 2008-11-24 23:45:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Well, tonight I’m bringing you yet another piece of archival evidence to prove that I have no shame.  I am apparently not interested in impressing anyone, or if I am, then it’s impressing them with how willing I am to make a fool of myself… :-)

But, seriously, I bring you this video tonight — another all-new cover by an all-new band to the sessions — in the hope that you’ll enjoy listening to it and remembering it as much as I have enjoyed learning to play it.

I actually heard it this weekend, as my friends and I watched the film Into the Wild.  This song came on during one of the scenes.  Instantly, I was reminded of my father’s tape collection again, as I had been for “Dead Skunk” and other cover songs that I’ve done.  One of his old tapes has this Canned Heat single, “Goin’ Up the Country,” on it.

Of course,  the first aspect that you’ll most likely notice is my falsetto delivery.  You may even think it sounds goofy.  Well, even though I wouldn’t classify the original vocal as goofy, it is certainly in a distinct voice.  If you don’t know the song, then you should most likely search YouTube or iTunes for it as a companion to my Laptop Session.  Or, just take my word that there is a good reason for the otherwise ridiculous vocals I have recorded here…

“Goin’ Up The Country” is how my night ends.  Allow me to share the rest of the evening, which was interesting and indeed, I hope, a kickstart to a relaxing, fun, and productive Thanksgiving week.  First of al, I stayed at school until six, entering grades and reading college essays.  By the time I got home and changed, Becky was napping, and Jim and Dana were in the kitchen getting ready for the first Fusco-Moore Pre-Turkey Day Celebration!  The best part of this story is that, as I went into the kitchen this morning to get my lunch, I found that Jim had stayed up late to prepare as much as he could.  Dishes were portioned out, sealed with cellophane, post-it noted with directions, and the counter was covered with an array of foods and utensils.  Now, the oven was working overtime, and the smells were tantalizing.

Before long, we ate dinner — which was amazing, by the way, and a definite home run for Jim.  We broke open the bottle of wine that Jim and Becky had bought for me a couple weeks ago in the Berkshires.  We watched the episode of The Office that we had DVR’ed from last week.

How much better could it get?

After dinner, we still had Two and a Half Men, Worst Week (which I regretfully missed in order to record my video), and Boston Legal (which was a wild and predictaby crazy Thanksgiving episode!).  Boston Legal was actually sobering for a number of reasons, such as the fact that it is drawing ever nearer to the final episode (don’t even get me started on how disappointing that is, being that it is my absolute favorite show on TV next to, perhaps, The Office), Denny was showing signs of progressing Alzheimers’, and Katie and Jerry were having a spat.  Jerry announced to her that he loved her… it’s about time!  He added that she need not feel awkward; he would find her friendship to be more than an adequate consolation prize.  I thought, particularly for a man with a social disorder, that Jerry handled the talk extraordinarily well.  Katie didn’t respond in any certain terms, but did mention that they are a couple, if not in a romantic way, and may be in need of couples therapy.

I have a bit of a crush on the Katie character, so I’m rooting for Jerry here so I can live vicariously through him, if only until the show ends in December!  :-)

And with that, the night was over.  A big thanks should be extended to Jim for cooking and to Dana and Becky for filling the house with great company.  Now, I’m off to sleep and school and then a night of hanging out, talking about music, and watching an Office mini-marathon with my sister, Jaime.  I can’t wait!

And I’m sure you can’t wait until the next acoustic rock cover song is posted here on the blog — but, have no fear, Jeff will be here tomorrow for Tuesday’s edition, and then Jim will bring you a fresh new Original Wednesday…

See you next session!

“Here Without You” (The Byrds acoustic and 12-string electric cover song)

Originally posted 2009-05-19 22:54:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome, welcome to yet another Jim Fusco Tuesday here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog.  Actually, tonight, you get two for the price of one: I have Chris Moore with me to record this session!  And boy, did it come out great.  If your connection can handle it, click the “HQ” button and listen to the better audio feed of this one.  It’s in full stereo (I LOVE my microphone) and the levels are perfect!

And tonight debuts my brand new 12-string electric guitar!  And what a way to bring it in.  I knew I had to do a Byrds song.  No, it’s not a Rickenbacher.  Who can justify spending literally 8 times more for the same essential thing.  My version is from Dean and I love it.  It looks great and plays even better.  The sound is there, too- just like all my favorite 12-string songs.  Look for more in the future.  I can’t wait to bust out my new lap steel guitar, as well.  In a couple weeks, I’ll be getting an HD cam, so all my Laptop Sessions will be in high definition.  How cool is that?  At that point, I’ll be able to start my new mini-series entitled “Jim’s Guitars”- stay tuned.

Gene Clark wrote tonight’s song and it was off of the Byrds first album, “Mr. Tambourine Man.”  Now, this isn’t the greatest album, but it really could have been.  That is, if half the album weren’t Bob Dylan covers and other cover songs.  Not to knock cover songs, but the songwriting of Gene Clark (and in the future, the rest of the band) was so far ahead of its time and his songs are simply timeless.  This song takes me back to when I was at Wesleyan for 5 weeks in the summer of 2000.  I was at a program called “CCY”, the Center for Creative Youth.  Good fit, eh? :-)

Anyway, those five weeks seemed like a whole lifetime at the time- everything that happened in one day seemed like a year.  So, even not seeing someone for two days made it seem like you were living “here without you”.  Needless to say, this song was all I listened to when I got back that summer.

I have to keep tonight’s post short because of my marathon video editing job last night.  I need to catch up and this is my only opportunity.  So, without further ado, I hope you enjoy the great effort put out by Chris and myself tonight on the Byrds’ classic song, “Here Without You”.  You won’t be here without us for too long, as Jeff will be back on Thursday for another great cover song music video.  Until next week!!