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#1021103 - 08/26/13 01:32 PM The Marfa Plain  
Joined: Aug 2007
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Sunset Poet Online content
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Houston, Texas
This is a song about broken romance and the high desert of the Texas mountain country. Any comments and criticisms are welcome.
It's guitar/vocal only and recorded on my home computer.


http://www.reverbnation.com/skunkofhoustontexas?profile_view_source=header_icon_nav


The Marfa Plain by Martin James Lide

Friday, August 16, 2013
2:32 PM

V1
Looking out across the desert, I gaze on distant hills
The emptiness is a metaphor for the loneliness I feel
As lonely as it seems…it brings me some relief
From all our endless fights, from all our endless grief.

Pre Chorus
We always loved each other
I guess we tried our best
We always had the passion
But we couldn't do the rest
The rest holds lives together
when time puts them to the test.

C
So I rode out on the Marfa Plain
My T-shirt's drenched in desert rain
Chinati winds cool down my skin
I'm finally feeling whole again.

The sun sets low in a Texas sky
Cut by mountains like buttered knives
Smearing reds and yellows on fading blues
like emotions 'tween me and you.

Return
So I came out here again
To feel the healing wind…on the Marfa plain.

V2
I brought along the pictures of our time in Telluride
Hiking colored canyons up gorgeous mountain sides.
I think how of I loved you then, now I wonder what that's worth.
All the endless fights ruined the prettiest town on earth

Pre chorus
Chorus
Return
Solo

Br
I'll always wish you well, but I'll say my last farewell
From the Marfa Plain.

Chorus
Return
Return

So I came out here again.

Last edited by Martin James; 08/26/13 01:40 PM.
#1021117 - 08/26/13 02:47 PM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: Sunset Poet]  
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Bill Osofsky Offline
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Bill Osofsky  Offline
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Utah
Well, damn,if it ain't ole Marty. How ya doing? Nice tune, bro

Bill


#1021118 - 08/26/13 02:52 PM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: Bill Osofsky]  
Joined: Sep 2007
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Steve Altonian Online content
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Los Angeles, California
Marty...

Nice listen...CHORUS has a really cool Melody...Maybe a shorter Pre-Chorus is my first reaction....

I thought the TITLE was "THE MAFIA PLAN"


Steve Altonian---"I'll just do my best & let God do the rest"

http://www.stevealtonian.com
#1021128 - 08/26/13 03:51 PM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: Bill Osofsky]  
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Sunset Poet Online content
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Originally Posted by Bill Osofsky
Well, damn,if it ain't ole Marty. How ya doing? Nice tune, bro

Bill


Doing fine Bill. How about you?

#1021129 - 08/26/13 03:56 PM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: Steve Altonian]  
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Originally Posted by Steve Altonian
Marty...

Nice listen...CHORUS has a really cool Melody...Maybe a shorter Pre-Chorus is my first reaction....

I thought the TITLE was "THE MAFIA PLAN"


You're right Steve. It takes too long to get to the chorus and the flow over of the verse and pre c is choppy and a little monotonous. I like the pre c better than the verse. I may try to shorten the verse somehow or change the pre c into the verse.
I might eliminate the intro altogether and go straight into the verse. Thanks for the feedback.

Marfa is a town in far West Texas on a 4500 ft (plus or minus) plain called the Marfa plain. They have the semi-famous Marfa lights there and an artist community centered around the Chinati Foundation. Neat place.

Last edited by Martin James; 08/26/13 04:03 PM.
#1021152 - 08/26/13 06:00 PM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: Sunset Poet]  
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floyd jane Offline
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Tampa
Marty,

Really enjoyed this. Super song. Well written. Well played. Well sung. The G/V format is very effective (nicely recorded).
A nice Jimmy Webb vibe to the melody.

floyd

#1021163 - 08/26/13 07:03 PM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: floyd jane]  
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Houston, Texas
Originally Posted by floyd jane
Marty,

Really enjoyed this. Super song. Well written. Well played. Well sung. The G/V format is very effective (nicely recorded).
A nice Jimmy Webb vibe to the melody.

floyd


Thank you for listening Floyd. I appreciate your feedback.

Martin

#1021191 - 08/26/13 10:41 PM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: Sunset Poet]  
Joined: Nov 2011
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E Swartz Offline
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Ohio
Martin,

Yo-mon! I absolutely love your PC and it's transition from verse to chorus--the "slow build I feel enhances your chorus launch. Your bridge gives the song a nice break from the longer PC/C. More than not, I usually prefer a shorter PC, but I like this one as is--JMO. No question you see many songs where the PC is too long or doesn' flow and launch correctly--I do not think you have that problem at all.

Your melody is captifying with a unique expressive story. I'd like hearing very little percussion with this song and some subtle background strings starting in the PC.

Great write Martin! Lot's of potential here. Nice singing by the way!

steady-eddie.

#1021194 - 08/26/13 11:08 PM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: E Swartz]  
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Originally Posted by E Swartz
Martin,

Yo-mon! I absolutely love your PC and it's transition from verse to chorus--the "slow build I feel enhances your chorus launch. Your bridge gives the song a nice break from the longer PC/C. More than not, I usually prefer a shorter PC, but I like this one as is--JMO. No question you see many songs where the PC is too long or doesn' flow and launch correctly--I do not think you have that problem at all.

Your melody is captifying with a unique expressive story. I'd like hearing very little percussion with this song and some subtle background strings starting in the PC.

Great write Martin! Lot's of potential here. Nice singing by the way!

steady-eddie.


Thanks Eddie. I like the PC too. To my sensibilities, your use of the word "launch" is exactly correct. I have tried using the pc as a bridge and moving it back in the song...but then...the transition between the verse and the chorus is not nearly as compelling to my ear. I'm trying to figure out a way to cut the verse in half and still set the scene and theme...leading into the pc.

Regarding production...When I get this tightened up, I'll prolly go to a studio. When that happens, I'll include the other instruments that you mentioned.

Thanks for your thoughts and for stopping by Eddie.

Last edited by Martin James; 08/26/13 11:11 PM.
#1021207 - 08/27/13 01:48 AM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: Sunset Poet]  
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Bobby Wayne Offline
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First and foremost the writing really stands out in this song and tells the story uniquely and beautifully. Your vocal is also absolutely spot-on. I agree with Eddie that the pre-chorus provides a perfect lead-in for the chorus, which is outstanding. I love everything about this song. It's awesome. The guitar solo was also very captivating. You're very good.

#1021210 - 08/27/13 02:01 AM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: Sunset Poet]  
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E Swartz Offline
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Ohio
Martin,

I went back for another listen to see where time could be gained. I would shorten your intro at the beginning and save about 8-seconds. Intros feel comfortable especially for the performing artists performing live to get "into the song's mood." With longer songs, sometimes that may need to be sacrificed, unless performing live. I would reduce pauses after verses and save about 4 sec each. Keep your longer pause only after the "return." I would shorten the ending--I know you are looking to be dramatic there, and you can, even if getting rid of the one chorus repeat. Remember, this longer PC/chorus has already been heard twice, so on the 3rd time just pause on the last line the first time through. I think that would be less predictable anyway. Another alternative last chorus ending, would be to begin slowly fading it half way through.

One other experiment I would "try," (not that it is needed for effect) is to speed the song tempo up 1 or 2 bpm which would still keep it slow, but maybe save another few seconds. If you feel you can keep the intimate emotions by doing it slightly faster, then you haven't lost anything, yet gained some time. You should come close to cutting 30-45 sec off by these sugs.

No question, you could consolidate lyrics within the verses to shorten the song, but they flow and set the PC/CH up well. My only fear is if you do surgery on the verses it may become too much of a "chorus driven" song, which I like the "balance" with this solid ballad that you have now.

Some songs are meant to be longer--your song works IMO, because of the flowing and changing arrangements that you have--I didn't get impatient for this song to end. Some songs that are 3 1/2 minutes long I have trouble keeping interest! I didn't even realize your song was on the long side when I listened the first time.

I'm not a professional producer, so these are just my gut-feels about your song, and believe me, if I don't like something, I'll tell you that as well and why.

Good luck!

steady-eddie.

#1021240 - 08/27/13 11:20 AM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: Bobby Wayne]  
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Sunset Poet Online content
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Originally Posted by Bobby Wayne
First and foremost the writing really stands out in this song and tells the story uniquely and beautifully. Your vocal is also absolutely spot-on. I agree with Eddie that the pre-chorus provides a perfect lead-in for the chorus, which is outstanding. I love everything about this song. It's awesome. The guitar solo was also very captivating. You're very good.


Thanks Bobby. You made a guy with a songwriting addiction feel very good.

Martin

#1021241 - 08/27/13 11:33 AM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: E Swartz]  
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Houston, Texas
Originally Posted by E Swartz
Martin,

I went back for another listen to see where time could be gained. I would shorten your intro at the beginning and save about 8-seconds. Intros feel comfortable especially for the performing artists performing live to get "into the song's mood." With longer songs, sometimes that may need to be sacrificed, unless performing live. I would reduce pauses after verses and save about 4 sec each. Keep your longer pause only after the "return." I would shorten the ending--I know you are looking to be dramatic there, and you can, even if getting rid of the one chorus repeat. Remember, this longer PC/chorus has already been heard twice, so on the 3rd time just pause on the last line the first time through. I think that would be less predictable anyway. Another alternative last chorus ending, would be to begin slowly fading it half way through.

One other experiment I would "try," (not that it is needed for effect) is to speed the song tempo up 1 or 2 bpm which would still keep it slow, but maybe save another few seconds. If you feel you can keep the intimate emotions by doing it slightly faster, then you haven't lost anything, yet gained some time. You should come close to cutting 30-45 sec off by these sugs.

No question, you could consolidate lyrics within the verses to shorten the song, but they flow and set the PC/CH up well. My only fear is if you do surgery on the verses it may become too much of a "chorus driven" song, which I like the "balance" with this solid ballad that you have now.

Some songs are meant to be longer--your song works IMO, because of the flowing and changing arrangements that you have--I didn't get impatient for this song to end. Some songs that are 3 1/2 minutes long I have trouble keeping interest! I didn't even realize your song was on the long side when I listened the first time.

I'm not a professional producer, so these are just my gut-feels about your song, and believe me, if I don't like something, I'll tell you that as well and why.

Good luck!

steady-eddie.


First of all...Thank you for your time and consideration Eddie.

I agree with most if not all of your comments. I'm gonna drop the intro altogether and softly strum the #1 for 2 bars and then start singing. I have some pregnant pauses for sure. 3rd chorus (except when live) can be dropped.

When I started recording the song I set it to 70 bpm. I played that back and it seemed to drag so I recorded a v-pc-c at 72. That worked pretty well. I then tried 74 and found myself rushing in a few spots. 72 seems optimal. I considered the idea of a variable bpm...with a slight increase in the chorus...but that exceeds my ability with the software...at this time.

I feel like the song's vocal melody needs some smoothing out in the verses. I'm probably gonna re-write the verses and bring the story to the beginning of the pc a little differently and more poignantly . Ultimately, additional instruments in the pauses and around the lyric should help blend the song together.

Your comments are all good, understandable and practical.

Thank you.

Martin

Last edited by Martin James; 08/27/13 11:46 AM.
#1021799 - 08/30/13 06:58 PM Re: The Marfa Plain [Re: Sunset Poet]  
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Houston, Texas
Thanks to everyone who commented on this song for their comments.

I got back my NSAI evaluation today. I like NSAI evaluations and put a lot of credibility in them. The suggestions were to reduce the number of lines in both the verses and the choruses and increase the impact of the bridge.

I like the song well enough to put the time in on it to see where that goes. At the end of trying, if I don't like it...it provides another version of one my obscure songs. :-)

Will post up the revision... if I ever finish it. :-)

Thanks again,
Martin



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