A Prayer to Ireland

The Rawest of the Raw

There’s been an ongoing debate among songwriters
and others in the song publishing field going back
many years. It’s considered settled, but I diverge from
current currents of thinking.

The debate used to be whether music people can
really “hear” songs when they have so many song
demos to listen to. They have been accused of
judging by “production quality”, which, for many
of us is frustrating, because, tell me true baby
blue, does the snare sound really trump the lyric,
the melody..the tune?

Some “pure” songwriters have hoped in vain
that labelheads would be able to actually
hear the song as a creative piece with many
possibilities. I remember Bonnie Raitt
complaining in an interview that songwriters
insult her by sending demos with little
slide solos in them. “I know where the slide
solo goes!”, she bleated. (Oops, be nice
to Bonnie. I have a song or two she might
want to record.)

But what about an unadorned little demo? Of
a pure tune. Is it possible that someone
could simply hear it? Or, if the “production
quality” is not up to snatch, should the
music suit be forgiven for turning off
and miserably failing to recognize the
essential merit and quality of the
creative piece?

It doesn’t seem to be too much to ask,
but DEMO QUALITY is the key to
EVERYTHING we’ve been told
over and over. In my own “career-let”,
the time I was signed to a publishing
deal…with EMI…it was a quality demo.

So why would I be so stupid to insist on
working with rough demos? Well, there
are two reasons. One comes from marketing
and the other comes from the realm of pure
spirit. The marketing justification can be summed
up as follows: when everyone else is zigging,
it’s time to zag.

The spiritual justification is that when someone GETS it,
then I will know that the person is someone I have
something in common with. Birds of a feather and
all that.

Waldo Emerson said, and I paraphrase..who you are
is talking so loud I can’t hear a single word you’re
saying. Well that’s me. I’ll just have to let my
essence shine for whoever gets it. And I’ll shoot
myself in the foot by letting people hear the
roughest demos…even with words incomplete
and off key singing.

But I digress.

All this is to say that I like the rawest of the raw
demos. And the clip you are about to hear, of
‘A Prayer to Ireland’ was recorded walking in
‘The Burren’, in County Clare, Ireland.

As I climbed a craggy hill I said to Ireland
from the heart, “Let me know you.” I was
afraid that, after years of yearning to meet
Ireland up close and personal, that my visit
would go by in a blink and I’d miss her
completely.

After my little inner prayer, I turned on my
tape recorder and started to whistle a tune
that was coming in right at that moment,
in real time.

I love that more than anything. “Receiving”
a tune is the greatest kick for me. So, listen
to the rawest of the raw demo of a tune
being born. Can you hear it?

I’m challenging YOU, gentle reader. I know
what a good tune is. Or, I know what I’m
receiving when I’m receiving a tune. Can
you hear a tune in the roughest form? Or
are you addicted to all the little burnishings
the studio provides to trick your ear?

Next on the recording we’re in a pub after
an afternoon of weeping on top of a misty
mountain. Well, I did most of the weeping,
okay all right, I did all the weeping.

So, there you have it. A tune being born
on The Burren and then some chatting in the
pub in Cornemona.

That’s the complete description of the
contents of this recording. I think it would
be nice to have a groovy orchestral
arrangement of the tune.

But I’d also like to do a rock version.

And I think an audience if it wants can
be trusted to hear the really rough early
versions, or, in this case, they can
actually hear the tune being
born.

Am I wrong to share such rough,
unpolished gems with whoever wants
to hear them anywhere anytime?

I’d like to hear your opinion on this.

And tell me if you like the tune.

Now, then, what kind of movie would
feature this tune? Maybe a feature film
about Ireland. Or, perhaps more aptly,
a film about someone of Irish heritage
visiting Ireland for the first time.

BLOWHARD MOMENT ALERT

So all you people who know people in
Irish cinema or who might be involved
in some Irish project, I offer myself
humbly as a creative resource.

Here ’tis below. Click on the link.

http://zerald.com/prayertoireland.mp3

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6 Responses to “A Prayer to Ireland”

  1. flaky girl Says:

    Listening to a song evolve is like watching a blood and poo covered baby enter this world…an intersection with joy..overwhelming beauty…one can’t help but love it….The Irish players is a funky friendly theatre group..

  2. getmysonginamovie Says:

    The Irish players???

    Who are they?

    Oh yeah, they are a funky friendly
    theatre group…

    …are they making a movie?

  3. Bear Says:

    An interesting piece to be sure, may the luck of the Irish grant you speedy feet and flighty fingers in your quest for a present music exec the next time you offer up a demo. In truth it’s about being in the moment or not. Frankly I’m not qualified to critique music because I’m no musician, I can say however when I like something. But therein lies the rub – was I listening? Really listening. If so, then the rough or finished, whistled or orchestrated melody will not matter. The music will simply be. The point accepted. The music message complete.

  4. getmysonginamovie Says:

    Hi James:

    Thanks for weighing in.

    I want to bypass the music execs entirely.

    Deal directly with the auteur. The director.

    Have the director say to me, “I’m making a
    sci fi erotic action comedy featuring a
    commune of extraterestrial syphilitic
    dwarves, and I’m stuck for a theme song”

    Whereupon I will utter, without hesitation,
    “What a remarkable coincidence…I have
    just the right song for that situation. I’ll
    play it for you tomorrow afternoon…”

    Here’s the Cheezebagulositous home demo
    version of the song. See if you like it
    better or worse.

    [audio src="http://zerald.com/prayertoireland2.mp3" /]

    Catch the ginchy bass playing.

  5. Liligeee Says:

    i am a cynic forever and always. i apologize upfront for my non-artistic view of getting music into movies. an example: my bro is a graphic designer by trade. he wanted to get his graphics into movies. and so he went back to school to study film, and for several years he worked in the film industry pulling cables and doing grunt work. i don’t remember how it all fell into place for him, but eventually he joined the union and an art director saw his portfolio and hired him to work in the art department, on a movie that was filming in toronto. the way it works for him now….is that he knows MANY art directors. so when one of these art directors gets hired, he/she must hire the rest of the staff for the art department. of course the easiest thing for them to do is to call my brother to see if he’s available (given that they’ve worked on something before; given that they like my brother’s work).
    so wouldn’t it be worth it for you to get a list of local music supervisors for movies, tv and get in contact with them? and now a bit of ass-kissing – tommy, your music is good enuff for any dang movie….and i have no doubt that you would be really good at composing something from scratch based on a music supervisor’s ‘requirements’……so all of this shmultzy talk about raw demos, production quality, someone who GETS it….it’s moot. all that matters is who you know. in my opinion.

    have you read this http://www.puremusic.com/pdf/licensing.pdf

  6. getmysonginamovie Says:

    I think you’re right.

    It all comes down to who I know or who knows me.

    So, I will walk this way.

    I remember in the early 90s when freaking
    snare shots were just about everything, and
    my friends blew their wad in the studio
    for the producer to treat their vocals
    as an afterthought after fussing
    with the snare sound for sixteen
    hours.

    I decided to do something different.

    I didn’t have much choice, did I?

    And so I made the Angels of Montenegro
    which was an interesting act which
    had a loyal following. Didn’t get
    all the way to where I wanted to
    go, but it did something.

    Well, here again, I’m just going
    to have to go my own way and
    see what kinds of friends I pick
    up along the path..

    Thanks for coming by, Lili.

    Tomaso

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