So many influences collide during our writing process that it is often difficult to know what is clear in our vision for a particular song. When convolution sets in, we seem to step back from the writing process, and let time do its work on the song. This process we call: “Song Curing.” We leave a song alone after its initial formation because we have hit a block in musical structure, key, mood, concept, etc. During that time we pursue other songs, explore more influences, or progress in musical maturity. When we revisit the song after a certain amount of time has passed, we have a new image or vision as to where the direction of the song will go. It is a technique that has served us well, and it allows us to deploy patience as our key writing tool.
Walking Mirror is such a song that was subject to Sing Curing. The initial sound of the song was a clunky bluesy chord progression, and we envisioned a Jefferson-Airplane-Grace-Slick style of singing to accompany the riff. Adding a solid rhythm section and flashy solos would be fun to do, and we knew the concept was that of a Walking Mirror, the idea that reflecting ones love back to those who give their love. It worked on so many levels, however, in the end, we just weren’t feeling it. There needed to be something else. We needed the intangibles. The spinal tingles. I didn’t have that quality. So into the vault it went to be cured until time allowed for us to revisit and reimagine the song.
Skip ahead one year later. I was playing around with a few covers of older, classic songs. This I will do by completely turning a song on its head. If it’s slow I play fast, if it’s complex I cut it down to its core frame. But I’ll keep certain elements of the song intact to maintain its appeal. In the song “Lonesome Town” by Ricky Nelson, there is an opening chord progression of:
G – B – C -D – Em……… etc. etc.
I went from G to B and stopped! Those to chords are great together. Then I changed the B major to B minor. They share two of the same notes within each of their three-note chords. So I used this fact as the basis of the song. Using a low G drone note as a constant between the two chords creates something powerful, and once that power was established in the music, the words fell gracefully into place. Over and over again I played out the structure in my head and with only a guitar. When it came time to record, we added the celestial tones and simple, time-keeping percussions, and recorded a chromatic bass line courtesy of Kevin Cleveland. To add even further to that something-extra quality, we had a good friend, Matt DuFresne, lay down baritone saxophone in the last section of the song as it gains intensity following the break. What resulted in the end is a recipe greater than the sum of its parts. This is how Walking Mirror was wrought.