Ears for Traditional Country

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mikemichnya
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Ears for Traditional Country

Post by mikemichnya » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:09 am

Hey all,

I know this doesn't exactly fit the listing (not mid to up-tempo enough) and I know how high the bar is for country, but any feedback on this WIP would be appreciated.

Here's the link to the song: https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1/good-decisions

And the lyrics (also on the soundcloud page):

GOOD DECISIONS
words and music by Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

There’s a picture of their youngest at the top of the stairs
Wearing the cap and gown they always hoped he’d wear
It brings a smile to their hearts at least twice a day
When they recall the challenges he faced along the way

First day of school he walked himself home after lunch
Picked the neighbors flowers to give his mom a bunch
Poked every hornet’s nest on his grandpa’s farm
The bike jump across the creek earned him a broken arm

He was a handful every minute
Bent every rule he didn’t break
Pushed their patience to the limit
Made mistake upon mistake
They let him pay the price
Each time he ran into a wall
They rarely gave advice
But loved him up with every fall
That’s how he learned to make
Good Decisions

Senior year in high school they knew he’d be alright
Overheard him cancel plans with his friends one Friday night
His old man teased him ‘til the boy said, “Dad, it ain’t what you think.
I won’t ride with them ‘cause I know how much they’ll drink.”

He was a handful every minute
Bent every rule he didn’t break
Pushed their patience to the limit
Made mistake upon mistake mistake
They let him pay the price
Each time he ran into a wall
They rarely gave advice
But loved him up with every fall
That’s how he learned to make
Good Decisions

Now the old man tells that story every chance he gets
How his boy was one bad choice away from the crash that took his friends

He was a handful every minute
Bent every rule he didn’t break
Pushed their patience to the limit
Made mistake upon mistake
They let him pay the price
Each time he ran into a wall
They rarely gave advice
But loved him up with every fall
That’s how he learned to make
Thank God he learned to make
Good Decisions

There’s a picture of their youngest at the top of the stairs

© Michael A. Michnya, AmorSongs ASCAP.

Here's the listing:

TRADITIONAL COUNTRY SONGS with Male Vocals are needed by a Nashville-based independent Music Publisher for a LEGENDARY, Multi-Platinum Country Superstar who’s working on a brand new album. They’re looking for top-notch, Mid-to-Up Tempo Songs that would appeal to the fans of acts and songs like (but not limited to):

“Fool Hearted Memory” by George Strait: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T__Htin0Ai0

“Down And Out” by George Strait: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttt8HV-kEw8

"Unwound " by George Strait: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHHU-Aeuxg8

Please submit fresh, radio-friendly songs that are rooted in traditional Country, yet just modern enough to be competitive on major Country radio stations. Make sure your lyrics tell your song’s story with plenty of visual details and a conversational tone. Be sure your vocal performance is believable, with an honest Country-style vocal delivery.

TAXI Tip: The more authentic and believable your overall performance feels (sounds), the better your chances are of landing this pitch! This is high bar, but the Publisher looking for this material has one of the best pitching records in Country music!

All deals will be done on a case-by-case basis between the Publisher and you. We expect that the deals offered to be in the range of what is typical for one-off signings, with no surprises. This Publisher has a very positive reputation.

Please submit as many Songs as you’d like, online or per CD, include lyrics. All submissions will be screened on a Yes/No basis - with short critiques - by a Nashville-based TAXI A&R person that’s been handpicked by the Publisher! Submissions must be received no later than 11:59PM (PST), on Tuesday, November 14th, 2017. TAXI #Y171114GS

Thanks for all your feedback!
Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1
http://www.taxi.com/mikeamoriello

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Re: Ears for Traditional Country

Post by Kolstad » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:45 pm

I really like the lyric, definitely country. Tells a good story with a twist.

The music doesn't work for me, though. I think it lacks solid melodies throughout.
The tempo was a little dragging considering the story really is fun, so I would find a way to speed it up a notch.

The lyrics might use a little trimming to a faster tempo, and some more defined melodies.

So, I'd consider teaming up with a good musician with a knack for melody. If you can write lyrics like these consistantly, you'd have a chance for these listings. But not as is, imho.

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Re: Ears for Traditional Country

Post by mikemichnya » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:48 pm

Thanks, Kolstad. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Melody is definitely a weakness of mine, and I agree that it would help to collaborate with folks that have that as a strength. I'll work on trimming the lyric, but I can't bring the tempo up enough to make it move faster and still get all those words in.

Thanks again.
Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1
http://www.taxi.com/mikeamoriello

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Re: Ears for Traditional Country - Revised

Post by mikemichnya » Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:37 am

I got some feedback from NSAI Evaluator #21006 (below) and had another go at it. I made a few lyric revisions, and some minor melody changes, but didn't do much else. Thought I'd share it:

1.) I like the turns on common phrases, personally, so lines like “Bent every rule he didn’t break”, which says
a lot due to our familiarity with the phrase and meaning. The imagery and examples of his “good decisions”
are the strongest lyrics overall, whereas the first Verse of the song is the weakest in that it’s taking way too
much time with unnecessary backstory rather than getting right to the good decisions.

2.) The hook itself isn’t the strongest – it’s a pretty safe phrase and not really providing any big twist so it’s
not quite the most interesting. Verses 2 and 3 are good at supporting that hook of the good decisions so they’re
getting the job done the best. Again, Verse 1 is the weakest one for true hook support.

3.) The melody matches the lyric just fine…phrasing is locked in and the prosody fits. 4.) The melody is
probably fresh enough for a PSA or support group but will not be for radio, with as progressive as Country
is these days. Might be able to be convert it to Bluegrass or maintain the Folk direction for the most impact.

5.) There is no formula for a “great song”…if it were that easy, every song we write would be great and
they’d all be hits. In order to make this song stronger, I’d spend less time on the info in Verse 1 and get to
the good decisions far quicker…I’d also have at least 3 examples of good decisions in V2 rather than 3 lines
covering 1 good decision and then the 4th line quickly adding a 2nd good one…I’d also get the crash happening
more concisely in Verse 3 rather than stretching it out to Bridge. The Bridge could be more about what kind of
man he grew up to be in general while Verse 3 stays compartmentalized with that one instance in
particular. There’s no way to tell if these adjustments will make it a great song but they should make the
flow and the story stronger.

6.) Some initial mix tweaks would be to pull the steel further back (maybe riding the fader to flow with the vocal
or use some side-chain compression to duck it)…and I’d also make sure you add background vocals.

7.) Up to you on the instrumentation – just have to keep in mind the direction you want to take it. If you want to go
radio Country, I’d lose the steel…if you want to go Bluegrass, I’d lose the drums…if you want to increase viability in
the current market, you’ll probably want to add some electric guitars. You could also Pop it up with some more
prominent keyboards. Again, it’s up to you and it might be something that a separate producer might be able to give direction on.

8.) As I mentioned earlier, Folk is a big one that you could aim, as well as Bluegrass. This does have a Country
backbone but it’s far too classic in its vibe to really have the most viability in today’s market – gonna have
to get it more Pop driven if you’re going for anything radio.

Here's the link to the revised song: https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1/good-decisions-2
And the revised lyric (also on the soundcloud page).

GOOD DECISIONS
words and music by Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

There’s a picture of their youngest wearin’ his cap and gown
The wonder of it all is how he turned his life around
First day of school he walked himself home after lunch
Picked the neighbors flowers to give his mom a bunch

Stirred up every hornet’s nest on his grandpa’s farm
The bike jump across the creek earned him a broken arm
Overcame the challenges that brought so many tears
He struggled through it all and grew wiser than his years

He was a handful every minute
Bent every rule he didn’t break
Pushed their patience to the limit
Made mistake upon mistake
They let him pay the price
Each time he ran into a wall
Rarely gave advice
But loved him up with every fall
That’s how he learned to make
Good Decisions

It was senior year in high school when they knew he’d be alright
Overheard him cancel plans with his friends one Friday night
His Dad teased him ‘til the boy said, “It ain’t what you think.
I won’t ride with them ‘cause I know how much they’ll drink.”

He was a handful every minute
Bent every rule he didn’t break
Pushed their patience to the limit
Made mistake upon mistake
They let him pay the price
Each time he ran into a wall
Rarely gave advice
But loved him up with every fall
That’s how he learned to make
Good Decisions

Now the old man tells that story every chance he gets
How his son was one bad choice away from the crash that took his friends

He was a handful every minute
Bent every rule he didn’t break
Pushed their patience to the limit
Made mistake upon mistake
They let him pay the price
Each time he ran into a wall
Rarely gave advice
But loved him up with every fall
That’s how he learned to make
Thank God he learned to make
Good Decisions

There’s a picture of their youngest at the top of the stairs

© Michael A. Michnya, AmorSongs ASCAP. All rights reserved,

Here's the link to the original version: https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1/good-decisions-1

Any and all feedback/comments are welcome!

Happy turkey day!
Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1
http://www.taxi.com/mikeamoriello

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Re: Ears for Traditional Country

Post by funsongs » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:32 am

This is why I don't listen to Country radio: (and even your subject states "Traditional Country"... maybe the missed that.) :? :shock: 8-)

7.) Up to you on the instrumentation – just have to keep in mind the direction you want to take it. If you want to go
radio Country, I’d lose the steel…if you want to go Bluegrass, I’d lose the drums…if you want to increase viability in
the current market, you’ll probably want to add some electric guitars. You could also Pop it up with some more
prominent keyboards. Again, it’s up to you and it might be something that a separate producer might be able to give direction on.

8.) As I mentioned earlier, Folk is a big one that you could aim, as well as Bluegrass. This does have a Country
backbone but it’s far too classic in its vibe to really have the most viability in today’s market – gonna have
to get it more Pop driven if you’re going for anything radio.


YUK. :(
...and I'm even trying a Country/Pop song of my own - but NOT calling it Traditional Country.
How to make a million dollars playing Bluegrass: start with $2 million. :? :P
Peter Rahill
https://soundcloud.com/funsongs-1
https://taxi.com/peterrahill
“The future aint what it use to be.” - Yogi Berra

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Re: Ears for Traditional Country

Post by augietaylor » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:38 pm

Just adding my quick two cents, I agree with the suggestions above, and thanks for your revision.

For me, it's a fine song, love the strong trad feel of it and the images are very nice. Really good song!

But when I listened to the three George Strait songs in the ad, the common theme in each is a swagger, not a huge one, but swagger. Songs sung at a bar or in your car (or truck!) with spirit and gusto. Songs about how I'm gonna do this and gonna do that, a bit of rebellion and drinking, I'm down and out and it's time to get myself free.

Which is all really great but that's not what Good Choices is. This version of Good Choices can be characterized as feel good home and family country. Which is great too but not what those three example songs are.

I think it would be a better fit for some other ad.

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Re: Ears for Traditional Country

Post by erynmichel » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:12 pm

Hi Michael, Wowwww, your rewrite on the lyrics is much stronger, and that's a feat in and of itself. When I read the reviewer's critique, I thought, "Oh no! I like the crash in the bridge! Don't put it in verse 3!" Though I see their point, I was glad to see that you stuck to that part of the lyrics and didn't change the bridge.

All the positives said, another George Strait staple (to piggy back off of the previous poster, augie) is a ritard on the final line. I really really felt strongly on both listens that a ritard is needed there. It happened musically but not vocally, and there was some dissonance there for me. In other timing, on the first chorus especially, the vocalist is a hair behind the beat on "He was..." and "Bent...", and it's a bit distracting. I would love to hear what a demo vocalist could do with this song, if you have the resources. One more timing note: on "the crash that took his friends," I was really hoping for two more ringing beats, just to let it sink in, as many profound two-line bridges do. As you can tell, I'm a timing nerd.

I really enjoyed the message in this song, and the traditional country vibe. I grew up in that late 80s/early 90s country, and it's my absolute fave. I think a story like this is one many parents can relate to about their sons, and I've never heard a song say quite this message. It's very special.

Warmly,
Eryn
My Music: www.erynmichel.com/music
American Songwriter Magazine Q&A http://www.americansongwriter.com/2017/ ... yn-michel/
My TAXI Page: www.taxi.com/erynmichel

“Get a day job... if you want to love your music.” —Joan Baez

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Re: Ears for Traditional Country

Post by mikemichnya » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:37 am

Thanks for the kind words and the perspective, Augie. Very useful. And in light of that, it's probably good that I didn't submit this song for that listing (I posted another song that I DID submit under a similar heading). Hopefully, it was a better fit.

Peter, there are some excellent songs on Country radio. Some formulaic stuff (like Fix a Drink - currently in the top 5, although very crafty and clever) to be sure, but if I didn't listen I'd miss the stuff that still blows me away (like I Drive Your Truck or the House that Built Me).
Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1
http://www.taxi.com/mikeamoriello

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Re: Ears for Traditional Country

Post by mikemichnya » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:11 am

Hey Eryn,

I don't know how I missed your post! Thanks for the kind feedback. I think that a ritard at the end is a great idea. I'll see what I can do to make that happen. I'm OK vocally, but I definitely need a better singer, so yeah, resources for demo singers... I'd like to solve that problem by co-writing with a few really good vocalists, but no luck so far. Your idea to add another half-measure after the bridge is interesting. I'll try it out and see how it work.

Thanks for your help!!
Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

https://soundcloud.com/mamichnya-1
http://www.taxi.com/mikeamoriello

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