View Full Version : On roadtrips, deserts, and gas stations ...

Michael H Geimer
Oct-08-2004, 11:32am
Hey Gang,
I've actually completed my first original song. I used to write a lot of music for my old band, but always needed to pass the music over to one of the vocalists for them to handle the lyrics and melodies. But I sing now, so I guess I can finally work this stuff out for myself!

I sent the song to Duuuude, and he told me to "Keep it up!", so I'm offering it to you all as well (I really wish I could have shared it with Bill, as it's inspired by the place he lived).

It started with a roadtrip to Mammoth Lakes where I camped for a few days before going to my first Bluegrass festival (Strawberry Fall '03). I wrote the chorus for the song on my wy back home, but only came up with the verse progression just a few months ago (just before Strawberry '04). Now, I've finally finished it all and have 'boxed it up' into an MP3.

If you've ever eaten at that Mobil station in Lee Vining, well you'll know what I'm singing about. Mmmmmmm ... Mobil.


- Benignus

Brian Aldridge
Oct-08-2004, 12:33pm
quote:"If you've ever eaten at that Mobil station in Lee Vining, well you'll know what I'm singing about. Mmmmmmm ... Mobil."
This is incredible... I TRIED to find something to eat at the Mobile in Lee Vining in mid June of 2003. I was working with Blue and Lonesome, and we had played the Father's Day Festival in Grass Valley. Left the festival, and on the good advise of the late Cliff Sargent took route 49 down through Sutter Mill and evetually ended up in Yosemite, making a brief stop at Camp Mather, where I had played Strawberry in 1999 with Dry Branch Fire Squad. We left Yosemite through Tioga Pass....I have no words to describe the awe of that portion of the trip. I didn't find much to eat at the Mobile Station though, and we went on to Bridgeport and found an excellent meal. I am going to listen to your song now.

Brian Aldridge
Oct-08-2004, 12:38pm
great song AND delivery Benignus. Thanks for the toon.

Oct-08-2004, 1:05pm
Nice. Good work Benig. Enough traditional progressions to sound traditional, but enough twists to make it your own. That's one of the tricks I think. To write a song that sounds familiar but also sounds fresh. Congrats on your first tune. Hopefully the next one will come quicker http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif They usually do. When something pops in your head, just make sure to write it down. Some of my best tunes came to me like that. I had to stop what I was doing, and then 15 minutes later had a good tune finished. When the muse speaks, you jsut have to stop what your doing and listen. And the more you listen, the more she speaks.

Mike Buesseler
Oct-08-2004, 1:27pm
Benig--Nothing you do surprises me anymore. VERY nice tune, great execution (as usual), tasty fillers.

I would LOVE to hear that vocalist you used to play with....Love your voice.

Just a dozen or so more and you got yerself a CD there, boy.

David Horovitz
Oct-08-2004, 2:09pm
A great effort Benignus! Very tastefully done! You've inspired me to try writing some more.

I wrote a song earlier this year about my son chasing his marbles around the house but sadly (or fortunately?!?!) I haven't found the time to work out any kind of arrangement for it, much less record it.

Michael H Geimer
Oct-08-2004, 2:42pm
David, I'm sure you'll find your marbles one of these days. Everyone looses them once in a while. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Oct-08-2004, 3:15pm
Benig... - Now that's hillarious!! (and quick) http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

David Horovitz
Oct-08-2004, 4:57pm
Aha! Great minds think alike Benig. I named the song, Lost and Found, as a sort of double-entendre. But it's also true that having kids makes you feel like you've lost your marbles at times.

(1st verse)
Morning time, I climb out of bed
Dreams of marbles still fresh in my head
I run to the dresser, climb up on the drawer
Reach for the bowl and down they go on the floor

Lost and found, marbles where are you
Lost and found, can't live without you
Lost and found, I need you back my friends
Won't stop looking 'till I've found you again

Michael H Geimer
Oct-08-2004, 5:04pm
Great lyrics! They have the 'right' feel to them just reading the lines, so I'm sure they'll make an excellent tune!

Oct-08-2004, 5:30pm
Cool song, Benignus! I love your pickin'.

Oct-08-2004, 5:44pm
BTW....Benig, what is your recording setup? Always sounds good.

Michael H Geimer
Oct-08-2004, 5:54pm
It's actually a really simple set-up. PC based, with an old DMAN 4x4 souncard (but w/ a breakout box, and 1/4" inputs). I run Logic5, but have stripped out all the MIDI channels, so it runs just as an 8-track audio environment. Everything is template based, with tracks predefined for each instrument in the house. (Track 1 = Martin, Track 2 = Weber, ... ) I use an SM-57 for everything, and use a small Behringer desktop mixer to traffic the various signals to my stereo, or to my headphones. MIDI MTC is used to sync-up an old Roland drum machine, which generates the master Click Track. The whole set-up fits on an end table.

Michael H Geimer
Oct-08-2004, 5:59pm
This picture is all about my wonderful neice Ally, but that PC behind me is the whole studio rig ... a lot cleaner than the spaghetti of my old keyboard based studio.

Oct-09-2004, 9:23am
Cool. Thanks for the info. I've gotta get a good mic. I had one, loaned it out, it got lost, and my buddy gave me another one (sucks).

Oct-09-2004, 2:53pm
Hey Benignus,
I love that song!!!!!!! Very well done. Everybody loves your picking and I do too, but I must say that I love your singing even more! You have a wonderful voice.

Oct-13-2004, 4:53pm
Just exploring this part of the cafe for the first time! Excellent song man, love it.

Really fits the bluegrass feel too. Seems like bluegrass songs have a number of trademarks to the theme - movin on, leaving the cares behind and maybe looking for a fresh start, bittersweet memories, rivers and mountains ... etc ... and TRAINS! Ok, no trains in your song but maybe you know what I mean.

I've tried to write some bluegrass tunes but the things I've got to sing about just don't fit these bluegrass themes. Guess I need to take a leaf out of your book and hit the road for a while through the big country for some inspiration. Your song is something to aspire to - thanks!!

Oct-13-2004, 6:11pm
Benig, you most certainly are a competent musician!
Thanks for sharing your song, and congrats with the fine work.

Good to hear that bluegrass is not just the high lonesome sound, but also can be brought to a more "intimate" level. Maybe your song is a bit towards the story-telling line?.

The mandolin break is good! You have this wonderful economy with notes, and the perfect timing for it too! I only yearned for a little more guitar backup (or any backup), but that said: I canīt complain the mandolin isnīt up front there, and thatīs a pleasure in it self. Nice pickinī, man!

Thanks for sharing your work with me and the rest of the gang. (Donīt forget us when you write part II)



Michael H Geimer
Oct-13-2004, 7:14pm
" I only yearned for a little more guitar backup ... "

Ya' know, I deliberately backed off on the guitar behind the mandolin break. I figured that was only fair because the guitar break is *really* starved for back-up!

Thanks for the nice words!

Oct-13-2004, 7:23pm

I can honestly state that I am a fan.....

Oct-13-2004, 9:23pm
Benignus, That is a great song. Where do I buy the CD? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Oct-21-2004, 12:11am
Great song. When you say you sing now, could you not sing then? Reason I ask is I can't sing at all, especially if I am playing something can't keep tempo. Probably a good thing because I can't sing in tune either. Just wondering if there's hope for me.

Michael H Geimer
Oct-21-2004, 7:58am
Well, I've always had decent pitch, but nothing in the way of a servicable range, or breath control. No one ever commented on my voice as they do nowawadays. I pretty much just resigned myself to accepting my limitations.

I wanted to be able sing and play at the same as step towards writing music. Rhythm has historically been my 'Achilles Heel'. Like you I just could not seem to keep time while singing, I would falter and eventaully just de-rail. To become a singer was not really the goal.

No joke, it took me two years of effort to work through that beast of a problem. But in my search for practice songs, I found Bluegrass songs were easy to transpose into keys that might suit my voice.

Since then, it has still taken another two years of singing inside my local folk group for my voice to really 'open up'. I think some of that has to do with me being in my thirties, as those are the typical 'strong years' for a male voice.

So ... that's a big reason why I might not take someone seriously if they tell me they "can't sing", or that they "don't have rhythm". I know from personal experience that if you want it bad enough, it can be cultivated and grown from seeds you already have.

Even though it was very difficult work, I am so glad I put in the effort! Above and beyond the new found skill of singing, my timing in general is vastly improved, and my 'ear' is significantly better.

Second only to quitting smoking, it's one of the best decisions I've made.

Go for it!