About Jim Fusco

Jim Fusco is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and all-around musician. Learn all about him and his creative works at http://jimfusco.com!

“Behind Blue Eyes” (The Who Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Isn’t it about time?  Tonight, I bring you- finally- a cover song of The Who, one of the world’s greatest all-time rock bands.  This band defines the term “classic rock” and even though they’re only down to two members left in the band, they’re still rocking and making music today.

In our quest to cover every great band of all time, it pains me to think of some of the ones we still haven’t done yet.  I’ll be premiering three of them in the next week alone, including tonight’s video.  Can you believe we haven’t done Creedence Clearwater Revival or the Marshall Tucker Band yet, either?  Well, coming up in my next two sessions, I’ll be doing a cover song from each band.  I hope Chris and Jeff will hop on the bandwagon and help me with some of these famous bands we haven’t done yet, including Simon and Garfunkel, the Rolling Stones, and Queen.  I, of course, always have a few tricks up my sleeve…53 at last count, that is…

Onto tonight’s Laptop Session cover song video.  The Who are an electric band for the most part, with roots from their “garage” band days in the mid-60s.  Everyone, I think, kind of thinks of them as a 70s band, and maybe that’s why they’ve maintained their “cool” stature (kids today don’t feel nerdy walking around with a Who t-shirt on, but you NEVER see someone with, say, a Bobby Darin t-shirt on!).  But, you can’t forget about their earlier songs, before the concept albums and the rock operas.  I do respect them for that, but I wish the other band members did more than just write lyrics and an occasional song (“Boris the Spider”, anyone?).

“Behind Blue Eyes” was a perfect choice because it combines a soft acoustic part with a rocking section that translated well on Chris’ steel-string acoustic guitar.  Sorry, the Italian nylon-string guitar had to take a break tonight!  The only problem with doing this cover song video was the fact that I practiced it first, making the softer parts MUCH harder to sing.  You see, while singing, you have two modes: the sweet mode and the rock-out mode.  This song has both, but once you rock out, it’s hard to revert back to the sweet singing style.  I think I made it by just fine, as I just played the guitar a bit softer to balance out the lack of power in my voice in those sections, ESPECIALLY after my throat-grinding middle section.  This video may be even more rocking and voice-ruining than my video for Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right”!  Click here to view the video and make the judgement for yourself!

Lastly, I’m glad that I recorded this cover song music video after I’d recorded two more, because there was no way I was singing anything after THAT vocal performance!  I’ve been practicing these songs for a couple of MONTHS now and making sure they’re perfect.  Especially when I introduce a new band to the Laptop Sessions acoustic rock cover songs series, I want to make sure that I’m going to please all the new fans of that band we’re going to usher in.  So, I think my full-hearted performance of The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” should satisfy fans and have them coming back to the Laptop Sessions music video series for more!  Enjoy!



Ask The Musician: “How To Record All Instruments of a Multi-track Song Separately (and still have it come out right in the end)”

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to another edition of “Ask the Musician” with me, Jim Fusco!

In lieu of recording another video tonight (I’m anxiously awaiting to record my first HD video, hopefully next week), I decided to finally respond to an inquiry I got on YouTube about how to record a multi-track song separately and still have it come out right in the end.  The YouTube user writes:

I have one big problem.  When we record, we obviously record them in different parts (by that, I mean we record the instruments separately).  But, we can’t record them at the same time and we have problems recording them apart.  When we try to mix them, something gets messed-up and we have to record over again and again.  Have any tips?

Why yes, I do!

People like Brian Wilson (of the Beach Boys) had many musicians at their fingertips.  So, it was easy to get all these professional musicians in the same room to record a track.  And these studio musicians never mess up.  They are the cream of the crop, so it was easy to say, “Play this,” and watch it get done.

For us that record alone, sometimes it’s hard to keep a beat constant through an entire song.  Actually George Harrison was known for having a great built-in timeclock when recording.  He could play a song in-time with no percussion behind him.  That’s one of the reasons why it was easy to finish his last album, “Brainwashed’ posthumously.

And that brings me to my first tip: the most important thing about a recording is to stay on-time and on-beat.  So, if you’re by yourself, make sure you lay down the drums first!  Of course, you have to have a drummer that won’t speed up or slow down on you, so that’s an important step, too.

Now, knowing that everyone’s human, you should also consider keeping even your drummer in-time by using a metronome.  Just lay down a track of a metronome in the right tempo first (you can always delete it or silence it later) and then have your drummer go to work.  Actually, at that point, you can lay down any instrument you want.  The only time this gets tricky is when the song changes tempo.  One thing you can do is program a very simple beat as a MIDI track (I used to use a program called Noteworthy Composer way back in the day- wonder if it’s still around?).  Then, you can map the song out, put in your tempo changes, and then just play it into your recorder as a track.

Another thing to keep in mind is software and hardware latency.  If you’re recording on a computer, you’ll run into this.  Even the fastest computers fall victim to it.  Have you ever recorded a video on a webcam and seen the audio/video sync go off?  Well, your computer is having trouble recording everything at the same time and it’s not making up for the latency (time lag) in either the software or the hardware you’re using.  And, like I said, even on the best computers, you can run into this.  I have a top of the line Mac Pro here and I get hiccups in my videos sometimes because my backup machine will kick in or a popup box will interrupt.  It’s that little blip in the continuous stream of processing power that can really screw things up.

Now, you may have good luck for one or two tracks, but consider this- each time you record another track on the computer, you’re playing back each additional track.  So, you can be playing back 24 tracks and recording another one at the same time- a recipe for audio latency.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m still recording on a DAW (digital audio workstation).  I never run into those problems because recording 24 tracks is the machine’s sole purpose.  There’s no internet, no downloads, no popups- just pure recording power.  I’ve never had a problem with it, unless it’s my own bad timing that screwed it up.

So, I hope that gives you something to think about.  It’s so difficult to record a whole song alone- only the best can really be great at it (Paul McCartney comes to mind).  If anyone else has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them- leave a comment below!  I’ll see you all next week- hopefully in full high definition- for another Laptop Sessions acoustic cover song music video.

“I Can’t Stand It” (Eric Clapton Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Well, I had a day today.  That’s why I had to post so late- a combination of tiredness, emotions, victory, and forgetfulness…mostly forgetfulness.

Tonight, I bring you a song by Eric Clapton that I know little about, but just heard it in the car a couple times and decided that it was a good song to do for the Sessions.  It’s a new one I learned recently, so I hope that you’ll become a fan, too, if you haven’t heard it yet.

I do know that it’s from the early 1980s, but I’m willing to receive a full history lesson if anyone wishes to provide one for me.  I enjoy the tune of this song and the kind of laid-back way Clapton sings it.  I find that kind of funny considering how he’s proclaiming that he’s through putting-up with his significant other “runnin’ around” and “foolin’ around”.  You think he’d be a bit angrier…

On a separate note, as this is meant to be a blog and not just a place to post videos, I’d like to extend a heartfelt condolence to anyone who has recently lost someone in their lives.  The people who care about you won’t let you feel alone.  I personally have felt that I wasn’t able to be there for people during some important times, but I feel good knowing that I can be there for them now and won’t let them down.  I’m always available for hanging out, late-night Taco Bell, PS2 baseball, the movies, TV shows, baseball live on TV, or just general hanging-out at any time.  And I don’t mean that as a sympathy thing, either.  I mean it as that’s the way I’ve always wanted it to be, but haven’t had for a long time.  So, I hope that it’s the way it’ll become from now on and into the future, no matter who ends up coming into or leaving our lives.

Good night everyone and stay tuned for another great tune from Chris Moore kicking off this week on the video blog.  You know that a Sunday, Sunday, Sunday video means that person gets an Original Wednesday pick, so we’re all excited to see what he’ll come out with next!



“Sweet Talkin’ Woman” by Electric Light Orchestra (E.L.O.) Cover

By Jim Fusco:

The 2010-2011 season of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco has now begun!  Back here again after taking the summer off and that’s the way it looks like the schedule will go: September to June.  That way, I can take time off while my wife is off from work.  I’m excited to bring you a whole new crop of Laptop Sessions acoustic cover song music videos- once every two weeks!  In between, I’ll be posting articles, reviews, and more.  There’s a lot going on in this noggin’ of mine, so let me update you on a couple of things I’m up to:

  • I had a nice summer, taking a cruise to Bermuda and doing many activities (mostly that my wife wanted to accomplish during her time off)
  • BIG changes are coming to my suite of websites, including the simplification of everything.  This starts with the removal of fusco-moore.com and the FMP Music Store.  They’re just not necessary anymore.  I’ll keep the MoU site online just for old time’s sake (and, it looks cool), but everything else will be taken down (except for WCJM, of course).  I’m conceptualizing a new JimFusco.com and we’ve been doing some photo shoots to give me some new content.
  • I also have a new Twitter account for my music: jimfuscomusic.  Easy enough, huh?  Please follow me so you can get up to the minute updates on all of my musical ventures!
  • I’m working on a new vocals-only project, but this is more for my own usage.  I always put so much work into my vocals that I wanted to showcase them on a special collector’s album.  More to follow.
  • Finally, and most importantly, I’m working on new songs!  I have nine so far and will probably go to 15 so I can, for the first time, record everything and pick out only the best.  I think this will be important to make the best album I can.  But, I’m not giving up on “Halfway There” just yet, so I’ll be promoting that in the meantime.  We’re still probably a year out before I release anything new.

So, that’s what’s happening.  Now, onto tonight’s video!

I’m back with “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” by Electric Light Orchestra.  This is a great classic rock tune that I’ve known for as long as I can remember.  The song, written and sung by Jeff Lynne, is one of my favorite ELO (or E.L.O., whichever the search engines prefer) songs.

I knew the song started on the “C” chord- you can just hear it in the original recording.  What I didn’t know, however, was that this song is really easy to play.  I mean, when you hear an Electric Light Orchestra song, there’s so much going on that the songs sound like they’re really complicated.  But, even after taking three months off, this still only took me one take to get right!  No, I’m not perfect- I did practice quite a bit off-camera.

I think I got the song down really well and made it my own.  Again, this is definitely a pared-down version from the original, stripping-away the multiple instruments and backing vocals.  The backing vocals presented a bit of a challenge, so I had to pick what I believed to be the “lead” backing vocal note and sing that where necessary.

I hope you don’t notice that I’m getting over a cold.  I’ve been practicing guitar like mad lately, but I’ve been giving my voice a rest after a really bad cold.  You know how the cough lingers with you for weeks afterward?  Well, it’s only been a few days and I’m really holding back in the video.  I can’t even laugh without going into a coughing fit!

I hope you enjoy tonight’s video and that you’ll follow me on Twitter (@jimfuscomusic) so you’ll be the first to know when all my new acoustic cover song music videos and blog posts come out.  So, until next time, here’s “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”!