I am a stay-at-home dad of two beautiful boys. This is a compilation of 16 songs, sung to (and mostly while holding) my oldest son, when he was a newborn up until a year old. These songs were recorded during the winter of 2014/15 and the spring, summer and fall of 2015. 15 of these songs have never been released before outside of my private Facebook page.
Fair warning - I don't wear a lot of clothes in the summer at my house, we don't have AC :) There is a lot of shirtless Carl in these videos, if you can't handle the heat maybe don't go into this particular kitchen ;)
I found the easiest way for me to keep making music while watching my son was to hold him in my arms and sing into my loop machine. Today he is a pretty amazing singer / songwriter in his own right, already, at the ripe old age of 3! I am pretty sure he just soaked it in via a process of osmosis. He was saturated in love and music. Now I invite you to feel the love as well <3
I will post Volume II at some point in the future, featuring similar songs inspired by, about and/or sung to my younger son in the past year.
In chronological order from oldest song first:
#1 - Hold Me Daddy
This is the one video that I had previously uploaded to Youtube out of all these songs, and I thought I had even shared it here on Steem before but I am having a hard time finding the post to link to it if that is the case. This is still one of my favorite loop compositions, with the three part harmony that I lay down first ending up as the backing track to a separate 2 part harmony melody line. The way these two sections entwine is really satisfying to me.
#2 - Poopy Baby
The struggle is real.
#3 - Your Heart To Give
Thing One was going through a phase where he did NOT want to sleep at night. I remember this night as soon as I started playing this simple progression he quit struggling and fell into a deep sleep. I love his little foot wiggles while he is dreaming during this song. My guitar is in dropped DADEAD tuning (low string to high string).
#4 - While I Can
The entwining harmonies on this unusual melody come from a place of medieval inspiration.
#5 - Becoming
I had just been laid off from my position as District Manager with a national market research company here in the US (I had 11 research facilities reporting under me). That feeling of transition, of being in a liminal place between worlds, with infinite possibilities - this is what I was trying to capture with this song.
#6 - Roll Away
Speaking of liminal moments, Thing One was DAYS away from starting to crawl (or scoot, really) here. He was rolling over and squiggling but not actually moving anywhere. Ah the days of just being able to plop one kid on a blanket and not have to worry about him moving :) Little did I know how easy I had it then!
The muffled audio quality here is because my camera was placed on the blanket directly under my guitar, so the guitar is coming through while the vocal is muffled.
#7 - Like A Rose
The struggle continues :) This is pretty funny.
#8 - Upside Down
I remember I was holding Thing One upside down in front of the mirror in the living room when I wrote the main "I am upside down" riff. Thing One loved being upside down.
#9 - My Heart
I double several of the loop parts here which makes this a longer track than it probably needed to be. I no longer use this technique unless I am looping a very short (2 or 4 bar) loop.
#10 - My Song
Thing One sings a verse here :)
#11 - Poison Oak
Poison oak is not a joke.
#12 - Rainy Day Waltz
I remember writing the first whistle melody while walking around with Thing One in our neighborhood on a rainy day. It popped into my head on the way from the library to the bakery. I recorded it when we got home. There is a relatively sophisticated melodic interplay between the whistle parts and the vocal that comes in last.
#13 - Five Butterflies
As you can see, Thing One was standing by this point. This is one of the songs I would sing to him while changing his diaper to calm him down. He loved the butterfly stickers above the changing table. You can hear him say "Uh oh" at the end of the video when he drops a sticker. That was one of Thing Two's first phrases as well - he loves to drop things then say Uh oh! My mom tells me that these were my first words as well :)
#14 - Alphabet Song
My take on the classic ABC.
#15 - Close Your Eyes
This was one of the songs I sang to put Thing One to sleep nearly every night. It never took very long, holding him and singing this while bouncing gently on the trampoline did the trick every time.
#16 - Close Your Eyes (uptempo version
I came up with many variations on the Close Your Eyes theme. This one is more of an up-tempo rock and roll or R&B style.