New Recording: Making Miles

Here’s a new recording of song called Making Miles, written by my brother Martin after coming home from a month of hiking on the Appalachian Trail. It’s not only one of the best songs he’s ever written, but it ranks as one of my favorite songs of all time. The lyrics are melancholy yet hopeful, and the music is sweet and full of subtle little turns that make it rewarding to play and listen to. I started playing it on piano when I got back from my trip upstate a couple weeks ago, after not thinking about it for years. Martin taught it to me way back in the day, and it just sort of came flowing out spontaneously.

I decided to record it for my album for a few reasons. One is that it’s such a great song. Another is that the arrangement is basically just piano and voice, and I was able to record and mix it very quickly. This is important because I’m trying to get my album completed this fall in order to make more time for origami. I have seven songs finished but need another two. I have more than enough songs that are half written, but I realized it’s a lot of work to go from having a basic concept for the lyrics and chords to working all the details of the structure and arrangement, and more and more I’ve been composing and arranging in the studio, with the results that it takes me a few months to do a single song. I had wanted a solo piano song for this record, and this one fit the bill nicely.

The parts went down fast and captured alot of the original spontaneity. The piano part is my own voicings, but an approximate adaptation of the way Martin plays it on guitar. I added a synth bass part following Martin’s suggestion (“Taurus pedals”). I multi-tracked the lead vocals to create a natural chorus effect, and in case I need to edit phrase here and there. I did a few takes of the vocals, and after each one listened back and tried again, getting more precise with each take. On the third attempt I was pretty happy with the result.