Robert Farrell and I get together every Sunday to write and record songs. Our influences come largely from the pop and blues/rock genres. However, in the last year we’ve explored a variety of music styles and experimented with different song structures, production techniques and instrumentation. Part of that is for the challenge, and part because Robert is still a performing musician and needs to have new material to perform and to have played on local radio stations.
For as long as Robert and I have worked on music together, about 22 years now, we’ve recognized a significant disparity from what radio stations tell us people want to hear and what people who come out to the shows to listen to and buy music actually respond to. We talked about that yesterday when Robert and I were preparing to work on a new song. Based on direction, most of the music we’ve recorded and mixed for local radio stations has treated guitar largely as a support instrument. Those same songs are packaged on CDs which can be sold at live shows.
Robert sold out of CDs during a series of outdoor shows he did this past week. However, what he plays on stage is very different from what ends up at the merch table. Specifically, Robert’s live show centres around his guitar playing. Which presents an interesting conundrum: Do write and record for the radio and leave the live show as is? Or, do we go back to writing and recording what finds its way in the live show?
I think the answer is neither. People react when you are enjoying yourself. That is, the songs reflect whether or not Robert and I are enjoying the process of writing, recording and producing music, and whether or not Robert and his band are enjoying the process of performing. Further, I think it’s much more interesting that the live product is very different from the recorded product. They complement rather than repeat each other. They give everyone a reason to have both.