Friday, March 25, 2016

An Easter Playlist from us to you

An Easter Playlist from us to you

https://www.reverbnation.com/livingwaters/playlist/3541938

As we celebrate, here is a short 'Easter Playlist'. Included are Mike's new song from the latest EP, "Alive Again" - that's pretty appropriate! Our old group rocker "Roll the Rock Over" is next; it's a live version from 1987 with lower sound, so turn up the volume on that one. Then we have Mike's powerful "Save Me" and finally "Forever": "up from the tomb, rise with Me, rise to eternal splendour".

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Living Waters-style Holy Week



https://www.reverbnation.com/livingwaters/song/16174476-a-stand-of-courage

https://www.reverbnation.com/livingwaters/song/4847396-i-will-go-one-take-live

Here are two songs appropriate for this time. First, something that I threw together on GarageBand once, a song I'd had in my head since I was a teen: "A Stand of Courage". It describes the type of selfless, wholly confident hope that Christ modelled and provided through his Passion. The second song, "I Will Go", we recorded in one take live in the early nineties; it's a little uneven in the balance of tracks, but well worth it for capturing our 'live feel' in our prime. It is drawn from one of Isaiah's Suffering Servant passages about that same courage. Here are the lyrics for you:

A Stand of Courage by Mark A. Lajoie
Copyright 2011, RN SR 679-889
Deep in my sor-row and my pain
There still re-mains
A pil-lar of help for a-ny yelp of hu-man mi-ser-y
With help from you and God I'll find out where it lies
And we shall de-fy i-mag-i-na-tion
With a stand of cour-age
A stand of cour-age
With a stand of en-cour-age-ment
With a stand of cou-rage
Yeah, Yeah!
Ooooooooo!
Spi-rit of love, Spi-rit of life
You are the peace with-in our strife
You are the key that sets the cap-tives free
You are the two-edged sword that cuts through all the lies
And we shall de-fy i-mag-i-na-tion
With a stand of cou-rage
He'll be my cou-rage
Won't you be my in-spi-ra-tion
With a stand of cou-rage
Yeah, Yeah!
With a stand of cour-age
Yeah!

I WILL GO
by Mark A. Lajoie
Copyright 2011, RN SR 679-889
CHORUS
Let me hear
Let me see
Let me see what I should be
How to be me in you
Let me know
I will go
If you show me
I will fol-low
I will go with you
CHORUS
I will go Lord
I will go go go go
Day by day you o-pen my ear
I have not turned back in my fear
You've shown me how to live
You'll show me how to die
I will go Lord
I will go
CHORUS
I will go Lord
I will go go go go
I gave my back to those who beat me
Know-ing no-thing can de-feat me
I may go so far but you are near
Let me hear!
(lead)
I will go Lord
I will go Lord
I will go go go go
I will go

Sunday, March 13, 2016

'NOTHer Backing Track! God is With Us

'NOTHer Backing Track! God is With Us

To hear the backing track? click this!:
And to hear the full version with vocals? click this!:

View of the Marist House across from our 505 Pleasant house (where we recorded this)

This is a song that I (Mark) wrote. I wanted to get the effect of chiming bells in the beginning, so I am plucking the C-G-G and then the E-C, with the change from the fifth to the third. And Greg, like some sort of genius decided to add those harmonic hammer-ons, which sound, of course, exactly like bells! (This basic effect is reprised at the end of every chorus.) The verses are in C and choruses in G.

Then Mike CHIMES IN with that da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-daaaah riff that I had composed. I wrote the basic riff, but Mike RAN with it. He did it both on piano and synthesizer. And then he figured out how to continue the effect of the basic riff through all the chord changes, in a way that so sweeeet! so bellissimo! We then mixed the different instruments in a way that perfectly complemented the lyrics of verses and chorus. Mike really is the instrumental star here.

The bridge accomplishes a really cool key change sequence that ends back at the chorus. What Mike managed to do there is just so fantastic; listen to THAT and be amazed. How do you maintain the sense of the basic piano riff while going through all the key changes, meanwhile making it all seem as smooth as silk. I love the baroque-flavored harpsichord thing on the 'Gloria in excelsis deo' segue to the chorus. 

The way Greg chimes in with distortion at just the right times is beautiful, lending power to the key chorus declarations. Listen to Tony on the drums; he is using lower/deeper runs as accents during the chorus, a very nice expert touch, as usual. Dave adds perfect bass runs especially at the end.

I suppose we should mention the funny incident at the end. We were all in the cellar playing certain parts for the lead-in to the end when Mike played that one long C on the synthesizer. What you can't hear is that he was yelling at the top of his lungs, "WHAT'S THE CHORD?!?! WHAT'S THE CHORD!!??!". He finally remembered at the end, but that unintentional held note turned out to be effective and perfect for that spot!

We did some very nice vocal arranging on this, too, so be sure to listen to that. The guys liked to make fun of how I sang, "just LAHK me"! Please, enjoy!

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"Love's Beginning" (Backing Tracks)

"Love's Beginning" (Backing Tracks)


For the backing track mix:
https://www.reverbnation.com/livingwaters/song/4865109-loves-beginning-karaoke
For the full group version with vocals:
https://www.reverbnation.com/livingwaters/song/4562878-loves-beginning

There's so much to say about the work done on this track! I think it is one of Greg's finest hours on electric guitar for one thing. Let's break it down a bit.

Mike wrote the song, and it is just a wonderful idea for a Christmas song from top to bottom. We probably spent the most time down in the cellar working on tracks for this particular song on instruments AND vocals, and I think the results are marvelous.

Tony's drums were individually miked, although they are dropped quite a bit in this particular  mix. If you listen to the full version we have with the vocals, you can hear those "roto-toms" used to full advantage at the end of each phrase in the chorus. This is one song that makes clear that we had a real drum player in this group.

There are a couple of songs that show off Dave's unique and fascinating take on composing for bass. One is that stick-in-your-head riff he came up with in "There's a Woman"; this is certainly another, where he does several great things. One thing to notice is that 'bass chord' thing he does during the bridge; another is how he shakes the neck when hitting that low E on the verses. Just listen once while concentrating on what he is doing.

Greg comes into his own here using the distorted electric guitar to serve a song that is so musical and lyrical. Following the bass line to back the chorus, sliding to those high rhythm chords to segue from one part to another. And that lead? it is a thing of beauty. I love that subtle bend in the beginning and those perfectly-placed triple runs leading to a perfect climax. Well-crafted is right!

As on "Glory", Mike shows himself to be an amazing piano player, particularly knowing just exactly how to ornament the background with tinkling lines that meander in exactly the right fashion. He, of course, also added several synthesizer parts. Even Mark got into the act, adding that one swelling ninth chord during the second verse and the one-finger string synthesizer backing to the lead, as well as the single piano chord which is heard at the very end on the vocal version.

It is truly our pleasure to present to you, without instruments, "Love's Beginning"!

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

“Glory (Instruments only!)”

“Glory (Instruments only!)”
 
https://www.reverbnation.com/livingwaters/song/4864790-glory-karaoke

Thought it was time to haul out and listen to a track with just instruments. Here is "Glory" from our album, "The Joy". Mark wrote the song, but arrangement was a group effort; before this, the song had been quite simple, but a new vocal arrangement, and the layering of the instruments changed that. That 12-string intro, using the upper register, is Mark. Mike McBride is showing the wide range of our old ARP synthesizer and other keyboards in several places, making that great 'wind' sound in the beginning. On verses you hear him add those simulated woodwinds, so suitable for a pastoral scene, but the greatest thing he does are on piano: the rousing chorus chords and those sweet, tinkling lines that ornament the verses and quiet sections. Dave's bass, as always is not predictable and yet strongly drives the rhythm which is fascinating to hear. Tony's drums are clear and strong, with his crisp rim-shots. Greg is adding full rhythm acoustic underneath. We recorded this in our 505 Pleasant community house in the basement. Those were marvelous days. I will release a few more from this session soon!