“Halfway There” (Original song by Jim Fusco) – The Open Mic Sessions

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome again to the Open Mic Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!

Today, I bring you the title track to my 2009 album, “Halfway There”.  This is a very special video for me, as this original song live video was selected as one of the top three Instagram videos in the Sam Ash music store open mic video contest!  From there, it went on to win the national Open Mic video contest title!  I was given a $100 gift card to Sam Ash and I’m so glad an original song of mine got that kind of recognition.  It was even featured on Sam Ash’s homepage once it won!

“Halfway There” was a concept I had for an album.  Basically, I was growing up and had to come to terms with getting a job, getting married, and potentially giving up some of the lofty goals I had for myself in previous years.  So, a lot of that album has to do with that sentiment.

But, you know something?  I realized along the way that I’m pretty happy where things ended up.  I realized that I didn’t really want to spend all of my days and nights trying to get gigs, living in perpetual poverty, and holding down some menial job until I hit it big.  Now that I have a normal “day job”, it’s given me the flexibility to  have a nice home and to get some of the guitars that I’ve always wanted.  And, from everything I’ve heard and read, fame isn’t really all it’s cracked-up to be.  I hope to make a name for myself with these Laptop Sessions acoustic cover song music videos online (and maybe get recognized for it someday), but that’s something I can do in my free time.  Problem is, like everyone else that’s married and has a house, I don’t have much free time!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy what I’ve been able to do on my little free time lately.  Going to these open mic nights has brought me out of my comfort zone, but its also ignited my love for playing music again.  I’ve met some interesting people, too.  Stay tuned for more, as I continue to dig into my catalog of original songs and play at open mics around the state.



“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!



“I Adore You” Mike Fusco Original Acoustic Song!

This tune I wrote two February’s ago while sitting on a bench in West Haven, CT (Savin Rock).  My favorite restaurant Jimmies is there, and I went between classes alone to just look at the water and see the sun shine out on it.  I wondered why just seeing the sea could make me think and feel so strongly of one person in particular, especially since I never went there with them (or anywhere, for that matter)… Yet love has a way of touching the entire outside world, and every subject is another shell that was never left unturned.

I remember the cool air, but occasional warm breeze- and girls from a high school track team jogging by as I stared at a blank spot on the bench in which I sat… which I found remarkable, because every square inch besides this one void was covered in “Tom love Erica” and “Joe-hearts-Sandy”, etc… And i was so excited that if I wanted to, I could join the immortal bench carvers, haha… and lo and behold?..

a tropical song was born… and it inspired me to buy my ocean blue Dean Key Largo acoustic/electric because it feels like Im holding that water in my hands…  hope you enjoy this interesting, complex song as much as my mother does when she hears me practice it!

Just a note… my favorite lines – “But who will save me?..When Im all alone, and my heart could choke…I got a tunnel of love, but my swan-boat’s broke….Maybe it just needs a song, a new piece of oak- to get me to you…And I dont know if it’s the cold or the fact I miss you so- that is makin’ my lips turn blue… But there’s still strength enough for I adore you”… =)



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.