After 8th grade graduation, it was rare that I got to see my buddy Luke Friedrich. I missed out on a whole chunk of his musical life. He’s been playing in three (or four?) bands, and writing some great music. Luckily we discovered that we’re now neighbors here in Minneapolis. This past week, Luke came to me with a bluegrassy Charlie Parr song he wanted to try recording.
Just Like Today
Performed by Luke Friedrich, words and music by Charlie Parr
Behind the Song
Luke brought over his beautiful resonator guitar, and we recorded a demo track of him playing and singing at the same time, to get the overall structure down. Luke recorded guitar and vocals individually after that, but then we realized his demo recording was the take. Sure there were a couple buzzed notes here and there, but I loved his delivery and the emotion in this demo track. I was only recording the guitar in mono for this demo track, which I wouldn’t normally do, but it actually worked out great for the Iron & Wine-style production I wanted to try out. At key points during the chorus, I have the overdubbed guitar part enter in stereo, to fill out the soundscape a bit.
After that, Luke laid down vocal harmonies and slide guitar, and I played a violin part. When it came time to master the track, I resisted my urge to produce a “clean” track, and added a little hiss and pop to give it some old-timey warmth. I added a couple other cool Ableton Live effects to give it the old tape sound:
- I set up a Frequency Shifter effect to make the whole track warble a little. I randomized the rate and boosted the amount a little bit at the beginning and end. If you try this effect, make sure the Dry/Wet knob is at 100% wet, otherwise you’ll get some funky phasing effects.
- I added a simple overdrive effect, mostly acting as an EQ filter to take some of the high and low end off. I have the effect gradually decrease over the whole song so it sounds more lo-fi at the beginning.
I’m glad Luke introduced me to Charlie Parr’s music. You should also check out Luke’s own music, too. He plays drums in Crimes, who just released an album. He sings, writes, and produces music in Squares: