Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"From There" - a song about Thousand Oaks

So I submitted a song to the informal songwriting contest know as Spintunes 2 (i was also a participant and finalist in Spintunes 1 this past summer).

The song cann be heard (and all of the songs voted on) at the link below

Spintunes 2: Round 1

The song was written inresponse to this challenge:

"There's No Place Like Home - Write a song about YOUR hometown.
You should use the name of the town in the song at some point. The town you pick can be your place of birth, where you grew up, or where you're living now; but it has to be someplace you have actually lived at some point in your life. If you once took a 2 week vacation to Florida...that does not count. We mean someplace you have roots of some sort."

I had about 10 days to write and record the song.

There is also an alternate 'stripped down' mix and a rough mix of a previous production approach that i abandoned

"From There" - stripped down

"From There" - electric first try

I'd be very interested in nyour thoughts on all of this, especially if you prefer the stripped down or regular version.

Here is a bio of the song:

So my home town is Thousand Oaks, California. I really couldn't imagine writing about any of the other places i have lived, although that might make an interesting cycle. But if the prompt was "home town," it had to be TO. I alway set out to write a song that could be a part of my normal repertoire, and this was no exception.

It really is odd going back to see my parents, who still live in a house across the street from the hill in the song, because other than being in that house, much of the town seems unfamiliar. I hope that this is a universal sentiment and that the song could appeal to anyone, no matter what ttheir home town. We really did spend hours on teh hill across teh street - exploring, sliding down dried grass hills on cardboard, hiding in "the cave." we really did ride bikes all over town. And not only has the town changed, but times have, too. My daughter gets nowhere near the freedom to run off alone as i did at her same age.

The hil across teh street is a fenced off private estate now, with a tennis court and a real long gated driveway. I exagerate about the trees, but there really are less than there used to be. To the towns credit, they preserve as many as they can during development, but many die when cemented in and surrounded by a parking lot.

I started developing the song with an electric guitar, partly to break from my usual, ans stretch as i sometimes do. But something about it wasn't jelling so i strapped on my trusty acoustic and sped it up ans it just felt right. The basic track is a "live" take of me playing guitar and singing all the way through ( the stripped down mix is this plus the harmonica) then i added some elements to fill it out and give it some variation. I think i spent as long trying to get the electric guitar sound right for the first version as it took me to do all elements of the final version.

I wonder what other folks from Thousand Oaks will think of the tune.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting Ross. I've lived in the same place my whole life, and it doesn't seem to be the same place from when I was little.