©Will Spicher 2007
18-Jul-2008. I felt impressed to perform this song at the Peoria Rescue Mission with a backtrack containing all but my guitar and vocal. However, upon opening the project in PowerTracks, I quickly rediscovered how hard it was to make this song. I decided I would have to import everything into Sonar just to do anything, and, like home-improvement projects, I often said to myself, "since I am in it this far, I may as well..." The end result was a complete remix. Perhaps the largest benefit came from the strings in the Garritan Pocket Orchestra--a 40Mb sample set that far exceeds that used in the original version. Other benefits are less obvious, and only the ear can tell if they really paid off. Listen to the old version here:
The production notes have all the blood, sweat, and tears (and smiles due to Sonar) that went into the remix.
My daughter has often reminded me that she is no longer my "little girl." Since she will soon turn eighteen, I suppose I must admit it. This song is my way of saying goodbye to that phase of our life. Happy upcoming birthday, Babs.
Rides at the Zoo
When I became a father, I understood from Scripture that I could learn a lot about the kingdom of God from my new daughter. I wrote this song when Candace was between three and four years old. As I mused on all the qualities that made her "the greatest in the kingdom of heaven," I marveled at the way she could forgive others so quickly; how trusting she was; how each day was always brand new to her no matter what happened the day before; and how she "took no thought for tomorrow." I found myself fascinated with her world which seemed so much more colorful and lively than my own. I sought in music an outlet for these thoughts. Of all my songs, this one contains my favorite chord progressions.
During this time I was also writing my first fingerstyle phrases on my old Yamaha twelve-string (the one I had to sell to pay the rent a couple years later--musicians will feel my pain). We had a wood stove in our duplex which we just loved, and I would turn the lights out and play by the fire--hence, the slow, pensive, notes that begin the song. I would play the song fingerstyle in the first two verse-chorus pairs, but I would strum the bridge and the last chorus. So I settled on playing fingerstyle on the 414 with the B2 Pro (the finest example of the 414 yet in WillSongs), and I added the 555 to the bridge and final chorus to remain true to the song's origins.
Special thanks go to Rob Weber for contributing the electric piano part. The recording process is a sign of the times: I handed him a CD containing the PowerTracks file; he took it home; recorded the part; exported the MIDI file; and E-mailed it to me! I never saw him play or twiddled any knobs! Yet I loved what he came up with on his first take. Somehow it added a depth and interest that had been lacking. Nice job!
I agonized quite a bit and wandered down many wild goose chases trying to figure the mix out. I played with a software emulator of the Moog synthesizer and tried an ambitious bass line. But I began to sense that these were dragging the song away from its roots--fingerstyle by the fireplace. So I settled on adding only strings to the guitars and electric piano. This proved ambitious as the strings part was less forgiving without the full rhythm section to mask its defects. After eleven hours creating the strings, I listened and knew the song was done--no drums or bass [gasp!]. But then I remembered that Steven Curtis Chapman got away with it (I Will Be Here), so maybe I wasn't that far out.
Funny. For fourteen years I have played the song, and I always knew that the bridge changes the key, but I never realized that it changes the meter and tempo as well. I just played it how I heard it. This wreaked havoc on the recording process as I needed to program the meter and tempo maps, generate a click track, and rely heavily on it, then delete it to make it sound "natural."
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Mt 18:1-4
close, my child, your eyes and sleep
pass away what's left of today
your day's been hard
skinned your knee, bumped your forehead
how your world differs from mine!
rest easy in my arms, oh wondrous joy
laughter will return in the morning
so sleep away
beauty comes with the skill youth possesses
the pain of the past to forget
innocence has its strength in its trust
in the ones age has learned to suspect
how I'd love to join in the dreams of your mind
clouds of cotton candy and rides at the zoo
so splash every puddle
gaze at the moon
from a world filled with wonder
and toys and balloons.
Jesus said to become like a child
is to move closer to the divine
so don't fret if your not a year older
or if your world differs from mine.