When the music in my head keeps me awake

Last night was one of those nights where I never actually slept.

Don’t get me wrong… I wasn’t out drinking and carousing. I was home in bed. But The Music in my head just wouldn’t let me sleep. Or, rather, some part of me was so busy working on music that while I was lying there, I could never drop past dreaming, down into restful sleep.

Yesterday, all I did was drink a lot of green tea and focus on writing and recording new music. I actually finished one song that I’d heard in my head for a couple weeks. (“Blue Paint.”) Then, while sitting on the couch ‘relaxing’ with some of my brother’s new lyrics (e-mailed to me yesterday morning), I ended up hammering out a chord progression and lyrical arrangement that I liked.

So, back into the studio I went.

Oh yeah… and there’s a little ‘reminder lesson’ with that one… I was so happy with what came out while I was sitting on the couch playing that I chose to run into the studio and record it WITHOUT the benefits of a click track. I don’t know about you, but I’ve only recently started working with a metronome. When it comes to playing rhythm, the precision of my timing is not strong enough for final takes to skip the drums. Not quite yet.

Of course, after tracking the acoustic guitar and vocals, I realized that what would REALLY complete the arrangement was some baritone ukulele. Only problem was, my initial acoustic take was irregular. Which meant that anything I laid on top of it was never going to match.

I kept ignoring the obvious and trying to make it work. Like a kid with a sand castle hoping to beat the waves.

"Flame" by Cheryl Birchard

Finally, I accepted the reality of the situation. Added the words “rough draft” to the title, and suddenly the problem was solved. I’ll have to go back to square one, but at least I’ve captured a very clear vision of what it can be.

Anyway, that’s what last night was about. Trying to sleep. Experiencing crazy dreams. Hearing my own music and other music going round and round in my head.

On the bright side, I’m living and breathing music. Too bad we can’t turn it on and off like a water faucet.

How about you? Does the music within ever keep you up at night?


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