In a late-summer-storm-weather-coming-in, tourist-obstacled, Lake Superior moment I ran into my friend Gaelynn Lea who was busking on Duluth’s lakewalk. I was out for a stroll with one of my besties, Sara Alexander (fab music teacher & musician based in Virginia, MN) and we started gabbing it up w/ Gaelynn.
Gaelynn, violin teacher, insurance rep and recording artist told us about her new project: an instrumental, violin looping album that she just got done recording at one of my favorite spots – Sacred Heart Studio – with engineer Jake Larson. [I was just in there doing some work last week when a truck lost its breaks and crashed through the wall … but that’s another story entirely].
Gaelynn asked if I knew anyone who is an expert on the order of songs on an album. I couldn’t think of anyone in particular but I can say that this is something I have obsessed over with my own albums. In a time of singles and song downloads, I still think that a true, complete album is a work of art. If it flows, sets the scene, tells the story, builds up and comes down, it can leave a lasting impression to return to time and time again.
Sara suggested that Gaeylnn pick an order an give it to 5 friends for their opinions on the flow. Dig that idea. Also, messing around in the privacy of your own space with different song orders til it gives the feeling you want is key. Start slow? Crescendo / build up to a climax? Climb down strong, end with a lullaby? Or do you want to start off with a bang, travel the emotional landscape song to song, hover on one feeling for a few songs and then charge into a dirge or a rage? So many options!
My first 5 albums were 14+ songs. Very first album had the same tone to pretty much every song. The albums that followed got more produced w/ electronic elements, harmonies, other musicians and just more emotionally dynamic. The last album “Holy Bones” is a genre shifter – 8 songs long, 25 minutes, just enough time for our short attention spans to sit through. I had a plan in mind and wanted people to ride into it. I’ve also heard from DIY musician books & bloggers to put the “singles” on songs 3 & 4, but I tend to pick what feels best intuitively. All my albums can be previewed here: www.marybue.com/music
How about you? Do you have any suggestions for Gaelynn and other artists about song order?
Do you buy whole albums or just the single? Do you sit down with the album and its lyrics and have a “listening experience” or just listen whenever you’re driving or doing dishes? Please leave us a comment in the field below! THANKS and catch ya later!
Check out Gaeylnn’s music and performing schedule here: www.violinscratches.com