Crosseyed Miles Eternity reviewed by Roy Elkins

Crosseyed Miles Eternity reviewed by Roy Elkins.

Crosseyed Miles Roy Elkins Broadjam

Crosseyed Miles

Here are my thoughts on Eternity.

Simply put, I love this song and the production. The sound selection around your vocal tone is just perfect. And speaking of vocal tone, it is unique and great. Kudos to you and the producer. One of the best songs I have heard in a while. It is difficult to provide feedback as I am not sure I can add much. Here goes; Roy Elkins

Song begins with a perfectly tuned acoustic guitar. A very tasteful “swell” enters at 12 seconds. Good vocal on top of the acoustic in the first verse, band begins to enter tastefully at 38 seconds. Backing tracks make the vocal shine and build nicely to 1:18, then back to the verse with the ag pulled back in the mix until later in the verse. Build begins and the listener can feel the subtle energy in the song. Really nice production…….

The lyric would be a great piece of poetry on it’s own. Love the line, “Like helicopters fall in fall from the maple trees.” I live on a farm and my yard is filled with helicopters at the moment.

I had to dig and listen several times to give any constructive feedback. If it was my song, I may start it right at 12 seconds when the swell begins or bring the acoustic back in at the very end of the song to resolve it…. I am not sure the opening line is as strong as the rest of the song. In a song of this caliber, the opening line is extremely important, but I don’t feel it sets up the song as well as it could….Guitar lead enters at 2:52, possibly a little too up front in the mix….The bridge is a little weaker than the rest of the song, but still strong….One last thought. Although I love the vocal phrasing, I am not sure the rhythm of the vocal is ideal for the current pop market. Do the following – Listen to your song without the vocal track and tap the rhythm of the current vocal as you are listening. I am sure you will hear some conflict with the rhythm of the band. If you feel inclined, try and sing the vocal a little more rhythmically with the tracks and see what you come up with. This also might bring melodic hooks more to the forefront. For my taste, it’s perfect the way it is and it has already made it into my playlists. But my tastes are not at all in line with what’s on the radio.

With your permission, I am going to send this to a few other people.

Great work….It’s a great tribute to your wife. I bet she is thrilled with this.

Hope this helps.


Crosseyed Miles

Additional links & good organizations

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

Ingvi Thor Kormaksson’s I Remember My Father

Ingvi Thor Kormaksson‘s I Remember My Father Review By Roy Elkins.

This is song you are going to listen to and probably won’t sing along with it as the lyrics are so good you don’t want to be distracted. It’s a touching song sung from the perspective of a son reflecting on his father’s life as a deep sea fisherman. If you close your eyes, you will see it unfolding before you as the writer creates brilliant imagery in this song.  I love the tale and it is the perfect traditional folk song.  Congratulations! Roy Elkins

Ingvi Thor Kormaksson

Ingvi Thor Kormaksson

I Remember My Father by Ingvi Thor Kormaksson

The first time through, I didn’t connect with the vocal and thought a different singer would do a better job.  I am not saying a better singer, just a different voice.  After listening several times through, I “believe” this singer and the story becomes more “convincing” each time I listen.

Ingvi Thor Kormaksson Roy Elkins Broadjam

Intro is really long and could be a piece of music unto itself. If it was my song, I would probably cut it.  Even though It is well played and nice to listen to, the lyric doesn’t start until 52 seconds. Because of this and the overall length, it probably wouldn’t get radio play. One other note about the length.  It is 5:13, which in today’s world is way too long. If it was my song, I would leave this as is and create another version without the intro which would bring the song to around 4:20. Then I might revisit verses 2, 3 & 4 and see if I could combine them into two verses instead of three.  I would also visit verses 5 & 6 and see if I could make one verse out of them. I worked on this a little at my desk and I think it’s doable without losing the story. Certainly the detail is compressed, but I think  you can do this and not lose the essence of the story.  If the writer decides to do this, I think he/she will have a better opportunity at placement in folk radio.

I mentioned this in a previous review that sometimes it is harder to mix two instruments than a full band. That may be the case here. Maybe a good mastering job is all this needs, but I don’t believe the sound is quite “broadcast” ready yet and needs more time behind the board. I would experiment with many different eq’ing and mixes on this as it will take the song to a much different place. Possibly some slight compression (usually not recommended) on the overall mix. The moment the producer finds the right mix & eq, it will be memorable.

Ingvi Thor Kormaksson Roy Elkins Broadjam

Ingvi Thor Kormaksson

In summary, I love the piece and would only modify the lyrics to create a shorter, more radio friendly version.  I recommend losing or significantly shortening the intro and spend some time experimenting with different eq’s and mixes. Ingvi Thor Kormaksson is a good songwriter.

Hope this helps.

Additional links & good organizations

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

Hank Thomas David Charles’s Lil’ Dobro

Hank Thomas David Charles‘s Lil’ Dobro reviewed by Roy Elkins.

I seem to be on roll where I am picking really good stuff to review and it is difficult to find anything that I would change.  This song, Lil’ Dobro, was submitted by two of the great writers on Broadjam, Hank Thomas David Charles.  Both of these guys know how to write a good song and collaborated on this one.  Songs like this are hard to improve upon, but I’ll try and provide my two cents.  By the way, If you want to hear some of their other work, just listen to either of these playlists. Roy Elkins Broadjam

Hank Thomas David Charles

Hank Thomas and David Charles Roy Elkins Broadjam

David Charles

Hank Thomas and David Charles Roy Elkins Broadjam

Hank Thomas






Here are my thoughts on Lil’ Dobro:

Love the intro to this, pulled me in right away. I immediately thought of the Allman Brothers Band as the vocal was reminiscent of an early Johnny Neel.  When ABB reunited in the late 90s, Johnny was the keyboardist opposite Gregg and has a simliar tone to his voice.  I was also thinking this might be a good song for a Charlie Daniels type of an act.

Very nice groove to this, great players, especially the rhythm section.  Love the rhythm of the singer as he has got a natural traditional country groove to his delivery….. and he breaks it tastefully into a statement at a couple of points, like at 1:59. He knows how to interpret a song. I’d love to know who this is as I would highly recommend him.

I love the line, I ain’t got no money, but I do have a little dobro.  This is the hook of the song and clearly one of the most memorable I have heard recently.  Very inventive and skillfully witty.

My guess is that this was recorded by a session producer as it was very well done.  It sounds like a demo mix and not necessarily a final recording as the vocal is slightly louder than it might be if it was on a record, especially in the earlier parts of the song. Many demo producers do this as they want the melody and vocal to stand out when pitching.

Since the song was about a dobro, I expected some inspired dobro playing.  However, these are clearly session players who are knocking out song after song, they probably didn’t have much time to write a unique musical hook that is as strong as the lyrical and melodic hook. Very rarely will you get their “A” game as their best stuff ends up on a record.  And in their defense, this is a demo and that’s probably how it should be. While I will remember the song and the clever hook about a dobro, I probably will not remember the musical hook.

The second part of the opening line is a little forced, :”fine spring afternoon”.  One other line that caught my critical ear me as I’m not sure what the intent was, “leave your money at the door.” When I first listened to the line, my initial thought was Old Man Whitford told them to “leave money at the door” and then they could “sit on the porch and play,” as the following line states.  Basically, they were paying him to play on his porch. Maybe it’s the second line that could be modified. I think there could be a little clarity here. I feel like I’m nitpicking as there is really nothing that “must” be changed.  If it was my song and I was going to re-cut, I might re-visit the aforementioned suggestions, but this song is ready to pitch right now and I would gladly put this in our publishing catalog.

Hank Thomas David Charles‘s Lil’ Dobro

Hope this helps,

Additional links & good organizations

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


Jamie Lynn Fletcher review by Roy Elkins

Jamie Lynn Fletcher Roy Elkins Broadjam

Jamie Lynn Fletcher

I’ll be honest, this review of Jamie Lynn Fletcher and her music is biased.  She is one of my favorite Wisconsin artists and is truly a talent to be reckoned with. If I was an A & R person at a label, she would be in our roster.  An incredible writer, arranger and performer who is in a league of her own.  Hope you enjoy this!  Roy Elkins.
Through the influence of my mother and her record collection, I grew up listening to a lot of great singers and songwriters. To this day, I find myself playing Hoagy and Gershwin a couple of times a week at the piano. But I am not sure one has to grow up on this type of music to connect with Jamie Lynn Fletcher and her songs. It helps, but her songs are so well written that the listener engages immediately. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point in the future, someone will be sitting at a piano playing her songs.
In songwriting circles, we talk about the lyric and the melody being “married” to each other. In this case, she has progressions, lyrics, melodies and a performance all standing at the altar together. She is clearly a veteran who has played hundreds, if not thousands of gigs and has perfected the delivery of her own songs. One is not born with this talent, this is an example of Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule at work.
Jamie Lynn Fletcher Roy Elkins Broadjam

Live Performance

Here are my thoughts on a few of the songs in her songlist, which can be found here:
The Fool – Just an awesome performance of an awesome song. Great vocal on this. Cons: Vocal is too hot on the mic. Distortion is present and any licensee would definitely ask to have it re-cut. In some ways the distortion adds an interesting quality to the song, but I do think it’s a showstopper.

Infatuation – Pros: Another strong vocal with great feel. Love it when the groove kicks in at 3:13. Cons:  Tough to place this kind in film & tv….Broadway producers would be a good target for this.

My Love For You – Pros: Good vibe, nice juxtaposition with the vocal and guitar.  A very visual song. You can watch the performers playing this while listening to it. Cons: Not really any serious problems with this track. There are some slight noises that could be edited out.

Proper You – Pros: Excellent lyric. Great marriage of lyric, melody and progression. Cons: Musically none…..slight noises in the tracks.

The eq’ing of the vocal is excellent and the mic choice was right on. Arrangements were as tasteful as I have heard in a long time. Her ability to “leave things out” is amazing.  I know what you’re thinking, “What the hell does he mean by that?”  These songs are so good, it would be so easy to add horns, strings, backup vocals, etc. and the writer/producer keeps them simple, sexy and clean. Great work.
Jamie Lynn Fletcher Roy Elkins Broadjam

At the piano

The only downside I see is that the vocal recording was a little hot on a couple of the songs and a few artifacts remain on the tracks throughout most of the songs. Sometimes you may want to leave things like a breath, vocal expression, etc., but noise in the process could easily be removed with an editor. If one is listening for enjoyment, these things don’t matter. However, when someone is considering the song for any type of broadcast, it needs to be free and clear of noisy artifacts. Anyone who listens to lots of music everyday will hear these immediately.

Although I have only included my notes on a few of the songs, her entire list is strong. If you are truly interested in supporting an artist that has worked extremely hard and perfected her craft, buy her songs.  You can do it here.

Additional links & good organizations

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

Toby Tune’s song Gotcha Gotcha Review by Roy Elkins Broadjam

Toby Tune‘s song Gotcha Gotcha reviewed by Roy Elkins

This is an interesting piece with many moving parts to it. And because of so many moving parts, I have lots of moving opinions. Although I have listened to Toby’s music for about 10 years and like just about everything he does, I didn’t connect with this the first time through. But after listening numerous times, it has begun to grow on me and I am starting to get into it.  Many of the parts that initially turned me off, but I am beginning to like more and more with each listen. Roy Elkins

Toby Tune‘s Gotcha Gotcha

It starts off with an acoustic guitar (ag) loop and the snare landing on 2 & 4, a pan flute sits on top for an added effect. The opening ag sounding sample drives the feeling of this track. Numerous sounds make their appearance throughout the piece.  One of my favorites comes in at :48 seconds, this is a female vocal sample with a slight bend on it. A break at 1:30, drums cut out and the oboe like sound takes the lead.  This part is very tasteful. Very nice part at 2:05, nice vocal part works well with the oboe. In the 2:30s, this song begins to cook.  This is the heart of the song.

If this was my song, here are the things I might re-visit: At 1:06 to 1:13, the female vocal sample could be played a little better to give it a more realistic performance. At 1:30, let these two bars evolve a little longer. It almost sounds out of context, but it is a strong groove and would love to hear it more in the song. At 1:59, it sounds like a crack was played or there is slight distortion on the low end.  It could an errant mix of one note as well. The Pan Flute sample that I mentioned up front is bending a lot of notes throughout the song. At times, it’s a little uncomfortable and distracting. I might try mixing this lower, removing it altogether or playing samples that are not pitch-bent. The dynamics of this is struggling to shine through.  While there are instrumental peaks and valleys, it seems as if the mix is ignoring them. The mix could reflect and possibly mirror the dynamics of the instruments a little better. I would spend a bit more time experimenting with this. If this was mastered, I believe it would go to a whole new level.

Toby Tune Roy Elkins Broadjam

Toby Tune

One other thought that doesn’t necessarily apply here, but it was going through my head as I was listening so I thought I would talk about it. Sometimes when using a sample of a guitar chord and the triggering note simply changes the pitch of the whole chord, it can be an sub-conscious “flag” to the ear.  For example; If I was playing a D chord on the guitar and the next chord was E, the note configurations would be D(X-A-D-A-D-F#) and the E(E-B-E-G#-B-E). So if a loop is a sample of the same D chord strummed on a guitar and is triggered by an E note, the E Chord is now (X-B-E-B-E-G#.) It can diminish the “color” of the song. Now these are not the chords in question here, but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. I think if my goal was to get consistency in the strumming, then I would probably sample all of the chords used in the song and assign the triggers prior to recording.

Toby’s entire list is here.  He is very prolific and I am sure you will find something you like.

Toby Tune‘s song Gotcha Gotcha


Additional links & good organizations

Press & educational linksHangout 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


Inches From Sin Review by Roy Elkins


Here are my thoughts on the remix of Weight of the World.
Inches From Sin Roy Elkins Broadjam

Inches From Sin

Great lyric and message in this song. The writer contemplates how global events are affecting and distressing them personally. I think we all feel the same and that’s why this song has great potential. It reaches everyone and makes one think. One of the lines in the chorus, “It breaks my heart, it breaks my back…..” is very good. “I hear people fighting……look the same way” is also an excellent line. Conceptually, this lyric could have been something John Lennon wrote. Great work. Simple and to the point.
The groove of the song reminds me a little of People Get Ready, originally by the Impressions. Probably my favorite recording of this is from Beck or the Nevilles’. It also is a little similar to John Mayers’ Waiting On The World To Change.Great lead vocal on this. Strong voice and I bet this singer crosses genres pretty frequently and easily. Reminds of some of the great female singer songwriters of our generation. She is very good and has great natural tone. She would be very good at voice over work or as a radio personality.
Love the tone of the lead guitar part as well. One of my favorite guitar sounds. Probably dates me a little, but I love it anyway.I either love or hate the backup vocals in the chorus. Every time I listen I have a different opinion of them. It’s one of those parts that grabs your attention and your mind thinks, “What the hell were they thinking when they did this?”, then the mind says this might be so different and out of the norm it might catch on. As I listen more, the back-ups seem to be the hook of the song and I’m starting to like them. With that said, I am not sure the listener hears the lead in the chorus and that may be a problem. Although the back ups are interesting, they should be a little lower in the mix…..Male backup at 1:03 is a little too loud in the mix. Not sure it works as it doesn’t return in the song and seems to be out of place. Almost sounds like a mistake…..At 1:56, back up is sharp….Also, sounds like the high end was turned off on the backup vocals. They sound a little muffled…..If it was my song, I probably wouldn’t have used any backups in the first verse, let it build a little and develop the peaks.Although I love the creativity in this remix, I think the lead vocal and message gets lost in the production. The listener is drawn to the backup vocals, especially in the chorus, and stops hearing the lead. It’s a good lyric and the lead needs to stand out.Although I find the parts intriguing and engaging, a little more time is needed on the mix. If this was my song, I would revisit the mix and pull the backups down a little. I am not sure I would replace them as they are growing on me. I would remove the male voice at 1:03 as it isn’t working…..And make sure that the lead singer is really shining throughout. This is such a good message and she seems to get lost.I went back and listened to the original. In the original, the song, lyric and lead singer shines (I realize you didn’t ask for this, but I really wanted to hear this gain.) In the remix, the production and backups are what the listener hears. I am not sure that is what you intended but both are very engaging.This is a really good song and I am glad you have uploaded it to Broadjam.
Hope this helps.
Additional links & good organizations


Jeff McAuley’s Long Minute Blues

Jeff McAuley Long Minute Blues

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

Jeff McAuley Roy Elkins Broadjam

Jeff McAuley Long Minute Blues

Jeff McAuley Long Minute Blues

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.

Jeff McAuley Roy Elkins Broadjam

Jeff McAuley

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

Roy Elkins

Founder, Broadjam, Great People Along The Way, Thoughts On The Music Industry

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