The Titanics are coming!!
I am continuing my tenure with the New York-based large ensemble "The Titanics", which is continuing to bring on exciting new challenges. We are a live 11-piece band that specializes in arrangements headed up by the amazing singing talent within our regular line-up and also guest singers who are brought in to be featured with the group. We have done shows that play songs from the Billboard Top 100 Charts and also had tribute nights, featuring the music of Madonna and The Smiths.
We are currently working on another tribute night, featuring the music of Dolly Parton. We'll be performing at the Cutting Room on Monday, August 26, 2013, at 8 PM. Check my gigs page for more details about it.
For this show, I did an arrangement of "Jolene" in a Bolero/Spanish style that will feature that singing talent of Stacey Jackson. In working on this tune, I had a bit of a rough start with it since it seemed like it was already recorded by Dolly in a Spanish sort of way. I was concerned about what I could do with it since she already had it going on, featuring a lot of Spanish guitar. As I was working on the tune, I realized that with as short as the tune is in the original version, I think it made sense to really make it more of an arrangement that was my own. I put in an extended intro wherein the entire ensemble is doing a call-response sort of interlude between each other as the drums and bass enter in one at a time. Here after, the horns jump in with the actual form of the tune and the singer comes in there after with the first Chorus.
I also felt it necessary maintain a clapping motif throughout the song, coming in on every chorus, sometimes being down by 2 or 4 of the horn players, but most of the time being done by the back-up singers as well. To further change it up, I entered in a extra vamp section where the singer could riff/do some spoken word on how terrible Jolene is, which is completed with a key change up a half step into the final chorus.
I really enjoy arranging and seeing how far I can get with an arrangement. I often talk about the artistic process with a fantastic visual artist that I know and he often asks how I can get to a place where an arrangement is a new version of a well-known song and i honestly do not know how to respond sometimes. What I do enjoy is starting with some sort of new idea and then moving on from there to see how far I can go while maintaining the character of the song. It's all part of the process and requires a sort of guess-and-check approach that I find exciting and inspiring. Plus, once the group actually gets together to play through the tune, there is absolutely NOTHING like hearing something you wrote performed live! Absolutely NOTHING!