Acoustic Folk Mix... there comes a time

Another one that I’ve been grappling with for ages… it’s a sort of classic folky thang…
I’m trying to recreate the vibe of a dinnertime show… I used to do a few of those - captive audience after a meal… I tried to be just piano and voice but I really felt it needed a bit more for a recording so have added a sheen of cello and smudges of backing vocals. Husband prefers it as just voice and piano but I’ve compromised and removed most of the other sounds… as usual, the mix is more conspicuous to me by the gazillion things that I have taken out… :roll_eyes:

Would greatly appreciate any fresh ears/feedback. I find that ‘simplicity’ in a mix can be such a challenge…

Here are the words:

There comes a time…

There comes a time, a time to let go
a time to say yes, a time to say no
a time to rise up, stand tall and stand free
that time is not yet, come and sail there with me

It’s a season of growing, it’s a season of pain
a time of direction, the pain and the gain
It’s a time to re-order, re-shape re-define
prune out all the extras, re-assess re-align

It’s been a rough ride, and it aint over yet,
but life keeps on flowing, her rivers run deep
and I guess you can leave it, just let it flow by
whether joy or sorrow, you can’t tell till you try

Yes there has been pain, you’ve been broken apart
felt the wild desolation, felt the wind in your heart
but it’s time to move on now, time to leave it behind
cast aside those that hold you, let the future unwind

And there’s no use pretending,
I know that it’s hard
but sometimes you must leave them,
move on and discard


Gorgeous @Emma! A beautiful composition, with a heartfelt and authentic delivery. I wouldn’t change a thing in the arrangement-- I definitely like the cello and harmony vox, they add emphasis and power in just the right places. Sure, I can easily envisage it being performed with just you, a piano, and a simple spotlight, and that would work great live. But for a recording, I think the subtle and tasteful additions are very appropriate.

I would, however, ditch the nightclub chatter at the beginning. I get what you’re trying to do there, but to me that’s a distraction. I’d make this the “studio version” and save the chatter for when you do actually perform it in a club. :wink:

Splendid work!!

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I agree with all the above, including removing the chatter at the beginning.

Just a matter of personal taste:

  • You have an idiosyncratic way of dropping the pitch at the end of some words, which brings character and personality to your voice. This is nice, but imo you would benefit from refraining to do it so frequently, this is the kind of thing that sounds great when it doesn’t happen too often.

  • There are a few notes in the vocal harmony that are identical to the lead vocal, I would try to change them so the two voices never overlap on the same pitch.

  • The piano sounds close mic-ed, the cello sounds more roomy and the vocals are very wet. While keeping those depth settings I would try using the same reverb on all tracks to create more unity and make it sound more like everything is happening in the same room.

Great performance. The lyrics strongly reminded me of Turn, turn turn by The Byrds but after double checking there’s nothing similar enough to be an issue.

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Ahhh she sings again. Beautiful my friend. Makes me a little sad for some reason. You can really sing. This is what I like tho when you can hear every word and the story can be appreciated.
Thanks for posting the lyrics :slight_smile: All I can say is wow. It’s time to move on now …everyone gets to that point. Really thought provoking. There should be a category “appreciate this track” . There will be no bashing for me.


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O yay… thanks so very much Dave… I have added and subtracted so many things from this mix and had really lost my perspective. Yep I’m ambivalent about the sound effect thing… it is really a leftover from a different sort of mix I did about 20 mixes ago… I’d thought it would set a scene but will try taking it out for sure. Really appreciate your wonderful positive feedback! I’ve been caught up in a non-musical spiral for too long and am pining for the flow… :sunglasses:

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments… it’s funny reading about my vocal thing… you’re right… and because it’s me, I simply hadn’t really noticed it! That’s a problem with self-producing. Also, with this song, it’s a one-take recording which has a heap of issues. And no click track which is also a pain.

I’m interested in your comments about the reverb… because I’m so familiar with the things (overdone) it’s hard for me to get a clear perspective on this. i have used a common hall reverb to gel the elements but clearly not got it quite convincingly enough. Will have another look, I did change the piano settings quite quickly right at the end of the mixing and may have overlooked how they fit. And yes, re the Byrds… I did write this song a million years ago when I was in a real folky sort of zone so it is probably resonant of its time :blush:
Thanks again!! Really appreciate your thoughtful suggestions.

Thanks so much Paul!! And yeah, I put the lyrics in specially for you :sunglasses:
It’s a really old song I wrote ages ago but I kinda like the flow to it. People used to like listening to it so really wanted to try to capture it - it’s a PIG of a thing to sing… have to really get into the zone and then i can do all sorts of other wonky things that drive me batty when I try to tidy them up !
Baby is finally settling down, hopefully putting on weight… gawd they are a worry sometimes!! I’m looking forward to getting my creative motor back into gear!
Thanks for your wonderful support.

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Hey Emma, another emotional & very personal piece. It takes guts to write songs like these. I particularly like the way you’ve used phrasing to add to the impact of the lyrics - it comes across in a surging, unpredictable “wild ocean” way that really mirrors the message & the turmoil(?) evident in the song

Sounds like your bloke knows what works well! I agree.

Very true. I think sometimes we unconsciously tend to try to “cushion” the impact of something very personal by putting lots of “padding” around it. Ultimately unadorned honesty is usually the best policy…

…which brings me to my critique point - these lyrics:

With all the organic, emotion imagery of the other lyrics, this couplet caught my ear as not really fitting. To me, it sounds like “management-speak” someone might use in a big corporate-style office meeting… Seems a bit like putting up a big block of flats in the middle of a beautiful wilderness.

I was thinking that, even just losing some of the repetitive use of the “re” prefix might help - eg:

It’s a time to re-order, re-shape and define
prune out all the excess, re-assess and align

…anyhow, enough from the peanut gallery - feel free to ignore at will!.. (Sorry, I’m turning into a picky old beggar these days) :roll_eyes:

Great to hear some more lovely work from your corner of the world! :beerbanger:


Ahhh thanks heaps fHumble… dang… you’ve given me stuff to think about for sure.
I wrote this song for a friend, it’s a strange thing I often do, dive into someone else’s life story and take it on as my own in song. Because its not ‘my’ story, I can have a degree of separation and wear an engineer’s hat (albeit with feathers and sequins :slight_smile:)
But because, as an artist, I sang it ‘in the zone’ there is a strong sense of raw - that’s for me where the courage comes in…

O dear, perhaps you have nailed it with:

Hmmph! Yep, that’s kinda what dear husband was saying… :sunglasses:
for me, I think I have to have some sort of compromise. The piano and vocal were recorded in one-take and I hear too many issues to live with… but I think I need more subtle disguises and am going to try again just to soothe and smooth.

gosh I love that quote, thank you!

Re the lyrics… (O, see what I did there, ‘re’ the lyrics… [rolls eyes at self]),
yeah I hear you… but it was an intentional mismatch. Sort of an uncomfortable chunky wriggle - and exactly how the friend talked… so a personal context that hasn’t translated well which is great to know. I deliberately don’t share the stories behind my songs, which can cause small roadblocks like this… and things I would never identify… thanks so much.

Hah… never…! I really value your words thoughts and feedback - ta!
You are a treasure!
How is your album coming along???


Sounds good. I like the intimate vibe. Not much to bash really. I think more vocal doubles and making them a bit tighter in some parts might help. but those are small things. Overall very nice.

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Yes - voice right up front - again a really great use of approprate power and fragility. Lovely diction and articulation. With a theme like this - let’s face it we have all been there - the delivery is really important so that it pulls the listener into something of themselves. It turns the other person’s story into our own - and once we resonate with that the experience becomes richer.

I like the sparcity - it has air.


I know I’m late to the party, but this sounds great, Emma! I think you used heavier compression than you usually do in the vocals, but I like how it sounds that way. Nice enunciation of the endings of trialed-off words. It has a dynamic feel but you can still hear the ending consonant clearly. The wide stereo spread of the piano makes keeping the vocal work of the double vocals fairly center work well. Nice job!

No suggested changes.

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Sweet arrangement, tasteful harmony, a heartfelt ballad👍

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Gosh I see that I had ‘parked’ this song yet again…

Well, in the end, I took husband’s advice and stripped it back to bare bones, just aiming for the plain essence of the song. It felt such a wrench to remove the layers, truly!
I posted it a couple of weeks ago in soundcloud so thought I’d share the back-to-basics version here.
It was recorded in one take and I guess overall, I am trying to re-create that sense, the vulnerability and hopefully a sense of ‘trueness’ of the performance, if that makes any kind of sense.

I forgot how good this was. A build, strings, harmony’s would be fun I guess, but alas I still vote on as is. Love how you sing the word “direction” at the minute mark. Hope hubby is doing well. I had catarak surgery today (again) long day.

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Thanks Paul! Ooh you have new eyes… that’'s maybe exciting??
Hubby fine, just needing nurturing and much rest… :sunny:

It took me soooo long to post this song, almost a relief to be moving on from it now.
I seem to have a gazillion works-in-progress again… all waiting for time and determination haha

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