By Roy Elkins
It’s one of those songs where you might find yourself sitting on a couch of a musician friend and he/she is doodling at the piano and out comes Long Minute Blues. You sit your coffee cup down and say, play that again…..and my guess that the evolution of this song just came from “doodling” at the piano. I would sign this to our publishing in a “short minute.” Here is my review of Jeff McAuley’s Long Minute Blues. Roy Elkins
I love the feeling conveyed in this piece. I must have listened to this 20 times. A good player can really generate “feeling” from a song. That is the case here. Piano starts with a ride cymbal keeping time. But the strokes of the ride change frequently, but somehow feel as if it was played just right. Without actually writing out the rhythm of the cymbal, I am not sure if I would ever know what the exact pattern is.
The mix is excellent. Now some reading this are going to say it’s really easy to mix two instruments, especially when one is a ride cymbal. I am not sure I agree. When mixing a band, it’s easy to pull an instrument or vocal back slightly to cover up a mistake. With just a couple of instruments, it can be very difficult because the mix is so naked. There is no place for piano cracks or missed hits on the ride to hide. The eq’ing is of each instrument is also very strong.
Clearly this is played by a good player who has done this a long time. One is not born with this kind of feel; it comes from lots of trial and error. While the tempo never changes throughout, it feels like it does. My guess is the player didn’t intend it, but the result certainly delivered it.
Like most musicians, it is impossible for me to listen to a song without dissecting it…..and being a piano player, it even makes it worse. But the whole idea behind this blog is to give my constructive input. I struggled to find any issues with this. But here is what I might work on if this was my piece.
At approximately 43 – 46 seconds, it seems as if the piano arpeggio with the right gets a little congested by the left. While it’s interesting, it moves a little away from the feel of the piece. Also, at 54 seconds and again at 1:03, it seems if the player wasn’t quite sure how to end it. Now I’m thinking that this might have been a first or second take and the player kept trying to nail it, but couldn’t reproduce the quality with subsequent takes, so he/she just went with the earlier ones. I love the last chord. Like I said, I wouldn’t hesitate to sign this song in its current form as I believe it has lots of potential. Subtle melody, great chords and feel.
Great work! Jeff McAuley Long Minute Blues
Additional links & good organizations
Madison Area Music Association, Willywash, Dallas Songwriters Association – one of the best in the business, Merlin Mentors – Great org that helps young entrepreneurs, Les Paul Foundation, Wisconsin Foundation for School Music
Press & educational links
Hangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Industry Projections, Celebrating Sonic Foundry, A Music Platform, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms