Hanging Tree (Collab with my 12 yo daughter)

My 12 yo daughter wanted to make our own version of Hanging Tree from the new Hunger Games movie. I went gritty reverby blues on the guitar, double tracked and panned only part way R/L. She nailed the vocals. I was going for bit of a dark sound, being a dark song.

I’m pretty excited; got her a Focusrite Solo for Christmas. It’s the pack with headphones and a condenser mic. She’s doing great at bass and just starting acoustic guitar. She already sings very well. We’ll be re-making a Christmas song soon with my two boys (drummer & keys) so I’ll put it up when we’re done.

Fun stuff! Enjoy!


one of my favorite songs! very well done :beerbanger:

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Thanks, it was super fun. She nailed the vocals on the third take. She doesn’t need Autotune, unlike me most of the time!

Here’s a version with a little more forward vocal and less reverb/saturation. Better? Worse?

Don’t know the original? She sounds like 17 and pulled this off very nicely. Like her lower register the best. Guitars were done well for sure.
Can’t think of much? Like to hear a distinct bass down the middle. Also, because her voice is so appealing, maybe an acoustic version with little clutter? Just a thought. Be proud dad, you two blend very well together. And…what Michelle said.
ps I’m finally back in Texas for the winter


it depends on the vibe you are going for. If this is for a Youtube cover with a video (without the singer in it) then you want the first version. If you are going for a live vibe (where you visually show the singer singing in a mic), then go with version 2 with the drier vocals.
As a soundtrack, the first one works better. The second one has a karaoke feel to it (not that its a bad thing if used properly).

That’s such a great way of describing these. I’ve received other feedback and was told the vocals weren’t forward enough, and a little hard to understand. Too much reverb, etc. So I made version 2…and though it showcases the vocals more, it lost the vibe for me.

I guess that’s always the task, trying to get the vocals up front and intelligible without losing the feel of the whole mix. I’m so impressed with people that can do this well.

Ok, so I added some bass. I also added some hip hop type kick with weird saturated delay.

I tried to keep the intelligibility and vibe. Not sure if I succeeded, but here’s another round :slight_smile:

I like the direction this is going. Love the addition of the bass. What are your references for this?
You may want to reference some current southern soul/funk/hiphop
Janelle Monae comes to mind. Go to around 2min 30ish seconds in the video when the funk and the kick kicks in. Janelle’s vocals are mixed in behind the kickbass, but come across very clear. The kick is loud but tightened, the soulfunk guitars are shining.

I am not sure if you are in the “mixin” phase yet, but just somethings I thought to point out.
The bass is sort of swamping the mix and needs tightening. You may need to bring more funk guitars out forward. That is if you want to mix it for the genre. Otherwise it is up to your creativity.

A great production here, kudos to your daughter as well :slight_smile:

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Thank you, I definitely need to tighten up the bass and kick. I’ll work on that. And thank you for the reference track, that helps!


Just my 2 cents… and for info I’m listening on a pair of JBL LSR 305’s (no sub):
Her vocal is enchanting (that voice does NOT sound 12 years old) and suits the piece very well. Personally I like the first mix with some reverb on the vox… and I like the mix with the bass added, however, the bass is a bit boxy / muddy. Love the guitars! Well done and congrats!

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Thanks! Agree, the bass sounded good on my headphones and monitors, but way too much in my car and other speakers. I’ll dial it back quite a bit. I almost always mess up the low end!

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Nice work! I like the first mix the best.

If you want a vocal to be more intelligible and up front, but still have lots of reverb, try this:

  • increase the pre-delay time on the vocal reverb - try somewhere in the range of 80-150ms.
  • try cutting the lows and highs on the reverb only.

This will have the effect of putting the reverb “behind” the vocal.

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Excellent tip. This is the go to reverb trick for vocals if the reverb plugin is setup as an insert. It can also work in send channels most times.
An additional tip, if your reverb isn’t an insert but a send FX, you can add a dry delay before you send the bus off to the reverb channel to create a very nice velvety reverb. Sometimes all you need is a slight dry delay to fake the reverb.

Love this song and done really well. Your daughter has such a beautiful voice, specially when she jumps to that higher range. I would personally, ditch the delay effect. She sounds so ethereal its not needed.
Fun choice!