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Everyone I Know

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Inspiration and Composition:
What a long way you’ve come! “Everyone” was at first just a shell of a song. I had this opening Ab6 pattern that I had to fingerpick. I had some modern classical guitar music on my mind, and was practicing triads spread over one octave (the “open triads”) so the Ab6 pattern led into a B section using those beautiful, ambiguously spread out triads. The phrase ended into letter C, which was a nice 8 bar “hangout” in this weird C- cluster thing, which is great because I love having some space built into a song. I took it back to A, the B transition again, and then to finish to D- for some sort of closure.

This “shell” part existed for a while. When the melody started coming, it was long languid notes to contrast with the busy pattern underneath. I think on version 1 I even wrote “Always Late” over the melody line. In trio performances the bass player would often play it.

It amazes me how music can transform from its beginnings. Something very sad can inspire a sad song, great performances of a sad song can create all these exciting memories, and suddenly something that was born of misery becomes a joy in your life.

I think all my relatives warned me at some point, “You don’t like country music now, but when you get older you’ll understand.” I guess they were right. I was wrapped up in the Johnny Cash “American” series of recordings, and at the same time and I was at the end of a relationship. These were the last recordings he ever made and something about that really resonated inside me at the time. He had the music inside him until the end, and celebrated it in the only way he could. Over time we lose people, they die, or they leave; this is inevitable. Music can be the alchemy that transforms lead to gold.

I title this song after the way Johnny Cash sang the line “Everyone I know goes away in the end”.

Recording:
This was the first song I arranged for “Inside Voices”. I wanted make the arrangement into THE feature of the song, something short but spectacular. Of the songs to be tracked I thought this one had the most potential to explore in this fashion.

I made the form into a mirror image, and at it’s center was the solo section, a D- hold I imagined as a loud cry into the void that dwindles into darkness. Everyone changes lines after the first melody statement, and changes lines again when they were on the other side of the solo section. Each line has one or two harmony lines written for it that I took great pains to make into independent musical statements. The ending features the melody embellished with a triplet-ized four note sequence, echoed and transformed through the changes in the trumpet and alto. Although this is the most complicated thing I have ever written out, the musicians magically made it into an elegant and emotional performance. Very little was added to the recording post production, although you can hear bowed bells doubling the bass in the first A section, curtesy Marlon and Robby.

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