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#1144441 - 09/04/18 02:37 PM In France  
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Gavin Sinclair Online content
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I think I still have some work to do on this, so I'd really appreciate comments and suggestions.

Click to listen at SoundCloud


IN FRANCE

Through a gap in the shutters the morning sun
On her dress thrown over a chair
She opens her eyes with a sleepy smile
He strokes her long brown hair
The curve of hips, a touch of lips
"Je t'aime," she softly says
"Je t'aime aussi," he whispers.
She lays her head on his chest

For as long as he can he holds her close to his breaking heart
Too soon he feels her slipping away
And he opens his eyes to the woman lying beside him
Thousands of miles away

Half-drawn blinds, the dying day
Together, but so far apart
He wants to speak, but what can he say
To reach out and touch her heart
He gets up from the couch, opens the door
She doesn't look up from her phone
He stands on the porch in the warm night air
Eyes closed, no longer alone

As, just for a moment, he holds her in his longing arms
Gently he takes her by the hand
Through the sleepy streets to a cafe down by the river
In that dimly remembered far off land

BRIDGE
These days she's not the kind to want much in the way
Of his hugs or affectionate words
But this house they haunt, never touching
Is the loneliest place in the world

So, just for a moment, he holds her in his longing arms
Gently he takes her by the hand
Through the sleepy streets to a cafe down by the river
In that dimly remembered far off land

#1144445 - 09/04/18 08:07 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Thanks for sharing this one, Gavin:

I read the lyric first... before I listened. The story is intriguing but a bit difficult to follow. For me, it asks more questions than it answers... and yet, I wonder if that was not your purpose? Perhaps a clue can be found in the bridge... "But this house they haunt, never touching... is the loneliest place in the world."

Then I ask myself, is the song about infidelity? The opening lines would suggest a tryst but what is their relationship? The next part about his breaking heart would lead me to believe there is someone else of more importance to him... or have you led me 'round in a great big circle? LOL!

Enjoyed your vocal and the melody. I look forward to reading your explanation. ----Dave

#1144446 - 09/04/18 08:19 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Darn it, Dave, I thought it was clear LOL. I'm going to hold off putting you out of your suspense until I find out if anyone else gets it. If nobody does, then I would seem to have a problem smile

#1144448 - 09/04/18 08:34 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Nah, Gavin... it's probably only old age and stupidity on my part... but I did the best I could! Doesn't make it a bad song, though! I sure hope this one doesn't stir up the crowd like FJ's recent number. LOL! I'm running out of apologies! Don't ya hate waiting for people to show up, listen and comment? Where is everybody?

Later, ----Dave

#1144449 - 09/04/18 11:34 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Well, there is actually a kind of a puzzle in the song, but it's not supposed to be difficult. There's maybe two possible solutions, but one is more satisfying than the other. Sometimes what seems obvious to the writer, who is immersed in the song, is anything but to everyone else. frown

Thanks for listening and commenting. This is not a polished version. I know I'm going to have to redo the vocals and tweak some words, and I'm not sure about the chord progression in some parts. Hoping for suggestions from those more proficient than me.

#1144453 - 09/05/18 07:35 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Hello Gavin,


This has a beautiful/peaceful feel to it.
For me, that's enough to make me enjoy it. :-)


Calvin


Maggie Udder..... http://www.soundclick.com/bands/0/calvinstewart

#1144458 - 09/05/18 02:54 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Thanks Calvin. Maybe I should offer a prize for anyone who can figure out what the heck the song is about smile

#1144468 - 09/05/18 10:10 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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If you really think about the lyrics you can make out the meaning.
The problem is how do you hold the listener's attention and drive the meaning home. It needs a stronger melody and arrangement to do that imo.

Vic

Last edited by Vicarn; 09/05/18 10:11 PM.

It's never too late? Yes it is, so do it now.

If, given time, a monkey can write the complete works of Shakespeare maybe there's hope for me.

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#1144470 - 09/06/18 12:09 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Gavin,

I'd like to think a careful reading of the lyrics reveals the story quite well (assuming I'm reading it right). But to Vic's comment, the melody doesn't quite pull in the listener. The first verse (and those that follow) work well, but, for me; I get lost in what I think is the chorus (beginning "For as long as")--there's a lot melodically that works, but it doesn't flow for me. So a tighter, stronger melody there--a bit of tweaking, could take this up a notch.

All that said, really like your vocal here--fits the mood really well. And the melodic lift on the lines like "he holds her in her longing arms" is magnetic. . . which you hit on couple of different lines. And the contrast between the first verse (gap in the shutters) and the second (half-drawn blinds) is well done.

Keep with this one, Gavin . . . it has a raw, attractive honesty and sincerity that resonates. I will anxiously await the next version!

All the best,

Deej

#1144475 - 09/06/18 08:41 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Thanks for your honest feedback, Vic and Deej. It's exactly what I need. As I said in the original post, I still have a lot of work to do on this one.

Vic, point taken about the arrangement. I'm still figuring out where to go with that - a more lush arrangement with strings and maybe a little more ornate piano or stick with stark and bare. Or build from the latter to the former. As for the melody, this song was unusual for me in that the lyric definitely came first, rather than at the same time as the melody. It probably shows. Deej, I actually thought the chorus was the stronger part and was going to work on the verse. Your comment makes me wonder.

I'm glad you managed to figure out the lyrics (assuming you didn't conclude that it was about an alien invasion or a searing indictment of the government of Montenegro). I like songs that give you that enjoyable aha moment, but not if it works the listener too hard.

Thanks, guys.

#1144484 - 09/07/18 07:59 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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It's lovely Gavin. But like Dave, I wasn't sure where the story went.

Martin

#1144485 - 09/07/18 08:33 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Thanks, Martin. Obviously, Vic and Deej are just that little bit smarter than Dave and you smile (Unless they're just pretending to get it to look cleverer than they are).

OK, I'll spill the haricots. The scenes in France are memories that his mind focuses on as an escape from reality. Opening his eyes in the first chorus and closing them at the end of the second verse are supposed to convey that transition. The listener can choose who the woman is in those memories, but what I had in mind was an earlier version of their relationship. France is a metaphor for a happier past.

Now, for next week, write a two page essay on the use of metaphor and symbolism in Gavin Sinclair's "In France." Avoid swearwords and terms such as "pretentious" and "dumb." Extra credit for writing it in French. Unless you are French, in which case, extra credit for writing it in Portuguese.

#1144488 - 09/07/18 10:39 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Is it okay if I write my "essay" in ancient Welsh? Mr. Methaphor!

Meanwhile, I will begin writing my initial punishment on the chalk board: 1. I will not comment on the mystery of Gavin's songs!... 2. I will not comment on the mystery of Gavin's songs!... LOL!

It's pretty obvious that Vic and Deej are "teacher's pets!" Nah, nah, nah, nah-nah!

The last time I "escaped from reality" we went to Fort Worth!

In all seriousness, I enjoyed "In France" very much... and... I can see clearly now... (as Dave breaks into song!)

----Dave

#1144492 - 09/07/18 11:46 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Ancient Welsh is acceptable, Dave. I believe that is what is spoken in Fort Worth.

Thanks for the laughs and the kind comments.

#1144502 - 09/07/18 03:56 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Originally Posted by Gavin Sinclair
Thanks, Martin. Obviously, Vic and Deej are just that little bit smarter than Dave and you smile (Unless they're just pretending to get it to look cleverer than they are).

OK, I'll spill the haricots. The scenes in France are memories that his mind focuses on as an escape from reality. Opening his eyes in the first chorus and closing them at the end of the second verse are supposed to convey that transition. The listener can choose who the woman is in those memories, but what I had in mind was an earlier version of their relationship. France is a metaphor for a happier past.

Now, for next week, write a two page essay on the use of metaphor and symbolism in Gavin Sinclair's "In France." Avoid swearwords and terms such as "pretentious" and "dumb." Extra credit for writing it in French. Unless you are French, in which case, extra credit for writing it in Portuguese.


Gavin

An old Houston mayor once said..."the more you have to explain a deal, the worse it probably is." wink I think that applies to song's too.

I live according to the 19 year old girl doing her clothes in the laundromat across the street from her trailer park. If a song is on the radio in the background and she is listening along and has stop and think about something...that something should have been fixed.

We're all different.

Martin wink

#1144503 - 09/07/18 04:08 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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I totally agree, Martin. Explaining a song is pretty much admitting defeat. If you haven't got the message across, then you're doing something wrong. I wouldn't necessarily go as far as you in applying the girl in the laundromat principle to every case. It depends on the type of song and the audience. However, leaving the listener scratching his head and asking himself, "What was that all about?" is hardly a success smile

I didn't really mean it about Vic and Deej being smarter, of course. We're all geniuses here.

#1144510 - 09/07/18 10:21 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Hey Gavin,

It's a sweet enough tune. As a folk song, I think it is crying out for a hook. How about picking out the best line and using that more repetitively ?

I'd watch the pitch issues which can distract from the melody. Easily fixed with a tweak of pitch correct.

I think it's a keeper with a bit more work.

cheers, niteshift

#1144527 - 09/08/18 10:51 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Thanks for listening and commenting, Niteshift. Regarding the pitch issues - you should have heard this before I sprinkled Melodyne on it! Or rather , you shouldn't LOL. I'm sure you're right, and there are still pitch problems. Did you have a particular part or parts in mind? The first line of the chorus, where the voice rises is an obvious spot. It could actually be sung a whole octave lower, but that might tend to flatten out the melody. Deej described the vocals in that line as "magnetic." Of course, magnets can repel as well as attract smile

I'm not so sure I agree with the need for a hook, probably because I'm not sure that it is a folk song in the normal way. I spent quite a lot of my younger days in French and German speaking countries and the influence for this kind of song comes from the "chansonneurs" and "Liedermacher" I heard then, people like Yves Duteil and especially Reinhard Mey. Their songs were all about painting pictures and telling stories, usually in a conversational, almost intimate style.There is a very understated hook in the repetition of the second chorus and especially the last line "in that dimly remembered far off land.' Maybe "A Far Off Land" should be the title. I had expected people to comment that the title wasn't even in the song, which is usually a bit of a no-no.

I really appreciate all the comments and help I have had with this one. The comments here and at another forum I belong to have been all over the map - some like the tune, others think its not strong enough, some get the meaning straight away, others are mystified, some like the spare arrangement, others think it doesn't hold the listener. A lot to think about. Thanks everyone.

#1144541 - 09/09/18 05:47 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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HI GAVIN



Dave Rice does a decent critique of what you have so far

Best Of Luck With It

You could also write this song in First Person Narrative it's so

much stronger when the singer is involved in the romance or action

Incidentally I am reading this in France at this time , in a country villa

Far From The Madding Crowd


Just one other thing the vocals are fluctuating and the EQ if you are using one

needs a better setting for your voice , many words are muffled and un clear

Last edited by Cheyenne; 09/09/18 08:59 AM.

One of the most important principles of songwriting is to remember that a good song is a partnership of many different components, all working together to produce a satisfying musical experience.

In that respect, song components are either enhancing or compromising their combined effects.
#1144544 - 09/09/18 09:26 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Thanks Cheyenne. First of all, lucky you! Bonnes vacances.

I went back and forwards in my mind between using first and third person for the very reasons you mentioned. In the end, I thought third person worked better. I'm not sure why. I've always found "Whiskey Lullaby" by Brad Paisley and Alison Kraus to be a very moving song. The use of the third person invites the listener to sympathize as much as identify with the characters. I might have made the wrong choice. The way it's written, it really is just a case of switching pronouns. If anyone else has an opinion, I'd welcome it.

I'll take another look at the EQ. The original version I made used Izotope Neutron Elements, which has a learn mode for dummies like me. It might have been clearer than the manual settings I ended up using. If you have time, can you tell me where its muffled? I've heard it too many times to be a good judge of that.

Thanks for your comments.

#1144545 - 09/09/18 12:44 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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I enjoyed and understood the story up to the end of v1 Gavin.Then i got lost
I liked the intro it was good too but i feel the story needs a rewrite or two to clarify.
Regards travis


We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde
#1144551 - 09/09/18 07:53 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Go to the bottom of the class, Travis. smile My next project is to set Goethe's Faust Part II to music in the original German, and I don't expect to hear any whining about not being able to understand it. Nobody's supposed to understand Faust Part II.

I do get what you are saying. I have a friend who writes songs based on Faulkner stories. I enjoy the songs, but they definitely have more impact once he tells us what they're about. On the other hand, imagine how much they will be enjoyed by Faulkner fans who already know the story, and whose pleasure is enhanced by the smug knowledge that they are in on it.

#1144552 - 09/10/18 05:05 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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I don't think anyone really understood "Purple Rain". But they "got it" in their millions.
Did anyone have to think about it? Oh yeah! That was part of the attraction. The arrangement, hook and melody did the rest.

Vic


It's never too late? Yes it is, so do it now.

If, given time, a monkey can write the complete works of Shakespeare maybe there's hope for me.

http://www.soundclick.com/vicarnold

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#1144558 - 09/10/18 08:33 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Yes sometimes it is Melody Vocal And Production,

In Princes case That Hooky Chorus was the part that sold the song

The verses were put in to high Light that Chorus

With note contrast , something all great songs have


Plus of course a fabulous Dazzling Guitar Solo

What a showman


Last edited by Cheyenne; 09/10/18 08:42 AM.

One of the most important principles of songwriting is to remember that a good song is a partnership of many different components, all working together to produce a satisfying musical experience.

In that respect, song components are either enhancing or compromising their combined effects.
#1144560 - 09/10/18 10:50 AM Re: In France [Re: Vicarn]  
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Originally Posted by Vicarn
I don't think anyone really understood "Purple Rain". But they "got it" in their millions.
Did anyone have to think about it? Oh yeah! That was part of the attraction. The arrangement, hook and melody did the rest.

Vic


For me...Purple Rain was built on the tonal quality and emotion of the lead guitar set in and against the overall mix and the tonal quality and timing of Prince's vocal line. I, personally, thought that the structure was meandering. Love the song.

#1144570 - 09/10/18 01:52 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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I assume you're all comparing me to Prince - apart from that arrangement, hook, melody and production thing.

Actually, I've never been a huge Prince fan. I can certainly admire his talent, but most of his stuff didn't really grab me.

#1144571 - 09/10/18 02:13 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Originally Posted by Gavin Sinclair
I assume you're all comparing me to Prince - apart from that arrangement, hook, melody and production thing.

Actually, I've never been a huge Prince fan. I can certainly admire his talent, but most of his stuff didn't really grab me.


I wasn't comparing. I was just rattling-on about Prince. We view him differently. I think that he was one of the few original talents in popular music. However, Purple Rain was maybe the most derivative song that he did.

#1144573 - 09/10/18 02:23 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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I was joking, Martin. I know nobody would really make that comparison. I agree that he was an original talent.

#1144778 - 09/17/18 08:53 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Something a little different from you, Gavin. As a work in progress, I like it and yes, I got it without an explanation although, that's not always the case. I just doubled my dose of smart pills this morning. smile

I think first person would make the song more emotional and bring the story to life more effectively. If anyone had a problem understanding the plot though, I doubt it would help with that.

As for the music, it felt a little tedious, not because it was slow but there just wasn't a lot of texture to it. You might want to re-think it. I'm not sure it's instrumentation that's needed but a more melodic melody.

Keep working it and share your progress with your adoring fans. smile

Ricki

#1144788 - 09/18/18 11:59 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Thanks Ricki. You're not the first here to think the melody is less than captivating, so you and Vic must be onto something with that. I want both the melody and the arrangement to be simple and spare - this is no sing-along number - but not so that the listener is asleep before the chorus. I might have to take a short break, work on something else and come back to it.

Adoring fans? Where? smile

#1144812 - 09/19/18 11:49 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Gavin:

I was hoping for an update on the effects of the storm in your area. I've been struggling with a hacker attack and can only get on-line using our primary PC. Hoping you are high and dry. ----Dave

#1144813 - 09/19/18 01:25 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Thanks for asking Dave. Our part of the state was largely spared the worst effects. We had about 6 inches of rain and a very stiff breeze. Nothing like what happened to folks farther east.

Hope you get that hacker problem sorted out.

Gavin

#1145189 - 10/05/18 02:18 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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I got a lot of advice from folks here about this song, and I actually listened to it smile Cheyenne and Ricki both thought that it would be better in the first person, and others commented that I needed to add interest musically. I switched to first person, added strings and accordion and made a couple of other tweaks.

The new version is at the original link here: New Version

I'm not sure whether third or first person is best, and I'm too close to the song to judge, so any comments about that are particularly welcome. The original third person version is here: (although I realize it's a lot to ask you to listen to both): Original Version

#1145238 - 10/09/18 12:11 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Gavin,

I think I like the first person perspective on this. It makes it a bit more personal and resonates more. Good call by those who suggested it. I still think the meaning is pretty clear; and again I think made more clear by switching to the first person. Didnít go back and listen to the original version, but your vocal sounds really good on this take. Well done, Gavin. A nice tune.

All the best,

Deej

#1145257 - 10/09/18 06:54 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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The first person perspective is a good choice. Makes it more intimate, and the whole song is about intimate. It almost feels like an intrusion to listen.
I really liked these lines:
She opens her eyes with a sleepy smile
He strokes her long brown hair

very sweet and tender, but also very visual. Felt like I was there.
I am reading this as a relationship that has become distant . He dreams of an earlier time when they were loving and affectionate. He still loves her, but the lack of tenderness and physical touch leaves him longing for the younger version of herself.

#1145265 - 10/10/18 01:45 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Thanks Deej and RainyDayMan.. RDM - you are spot on as far as the meaning is concerned.

Interesting that you both preferred the first person. Other people who have listened preferred the third person. I might have to actually step up and decide for myself. I am decidedly indecisive, so I may collapse under the strain.

#1145272 - 10/10/18 09:40 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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I think first person makes it more emotional, Gavin, and that's what you're going for, right? So that's good.

The song is fairly wordy throughout...have you considered tightening it up? For instance, in the bridge, you could get out the clippers and just keep the important stuff:

These days she doesn't want much
Of my hugs or affectionate words
We haunt this house but never touch
In the loneliest place in the world

When I have a lyric first, I sometimes find myself jumping through a lot of hoops to make the music fit over what I've already written, which can lead to a meandering and undefined melody. It helps a lot to really pare down the dead weight first and only have to work with the important stuff. Then a tighter, more distinct melody may become easier to find. Just a thought.

Ricki

#1145274 - 10/10/18 10:06 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Thanks Ricki. I'm kind of torn because the first person can indeed be expected to make it more emotional, but the third person seems to me to make it more visual, cinematic, making it easier for the listener to put himself in the character's shoes. I might just be imagining that.

Thanks for your advice about the bridge. Strangely, this was the part where the lyric didn't come first LOL. So I wasn't trying to fit the music to it. I was just trying to make it seem natural and conversational, hence the rather wordy first line, which just kind of rolls along with the melody. I do like the way your suggestion added the rhyme of much and touch.

Thanks again for the suggestions. Much appreciated.

#1145287 - 10/10/18 05:36 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Gavin,
Not sure I can add much to what has been suggested but here goes. I would vote for third person because of what you said, it kind of creates a movie effect where you can put yourself into the scenes you describe. I also think maybe the tempo is a little fast and bright for such a melancholic feel from the lyrics. It could work maybe, if you added some strings and toned the piano down a bit.
Just an opinion and we know we all have those so feel free to keep or sweep.
Skip

#1145289 - 10/10/18 07:15 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Thanks for the input, Swestern. I did add strings and also a bit of accordion. The strings come in at the start of the second verse, the accordion halfway through the chorus that follows. Did they not show up on what you heard at SoundCloud? SoundCloud has a horrible bug where, if you have listened to a song which is then changed by whoever uploaded it, you will always still hear the old version. I didn't think it applied to the first time you listen though. Or maybe it's just a case of turning up the strings a bit.

#1145313 - 10/11/18 06:11 PM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Gavin:

This is totally "off-topic" but I couldn't help but be concerned for the folks in NC and SC getting a second deluge of rain after enduring the first hurricane. Hope all is well with you.

#1145328 - 10/12/18 08:15 AM Re: In France [Re: Gavin Sinclair]  
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Thanks for asking, Dave. I appreciate you checking up on me. We had a lot of rain and some strong winds. Shorter but more intense than Florence. A few small branches down, but no damage. My daughter, who lives farther east in Raleigh is without power and probably will be until this evening.

I hope nobody here lives in the Florida panhandle.


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