Lahaina Fire- epic folk rock

This song is also quite long. It is nothing like The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald aside from being verbose and trying to record a bit of tragic history. I am not as keen on the vocal melody. The music came first, and I just tried to follow it. I feel like someone else could do it much better.

Lahaina Fire by Steve Bancroft

Such a sleepy quaint town in paradise
On the northwest coast of the isle
Picture perfect postcard touristy nice
Who could ever have imagined it turned so vile

Brush fires in the upper country burned all night
The faint smell of smoke lingered in the air
People went to work the same as every day
It seemed so far away as dinners were prepared

And home from work families sat down to eat
Until they glanced outside and right down the street
The horizon itself seemed completely ablaze
Flames leaping from rooftops, exploding palm trees

The winds blew strong like a tropical storm
The flames advanced at a mile a minute
No one was warned, they didn’t sound the alarm
You couldn’t outrun it, just helplessly stuck in it

Some ran to the beach, some jumped into pools
Their cars stuck in traffic couldn’t go anywhere
How could this be happening, trapped like fools
Suddenly in deadly danger and filled with despair

It came on so fast, and just as fast it was over
Like a blast from an atom bomb
You were so lucky if you could find cover
But it was not to be the fate for some
It was not to be the fate for some

What had been their homes, their beautiful village
In an hour reduced to rubble and ash
Nothing remained, not a keepsake or picture
All worldly possessions destroyed in a flash

All they had left was stored on a phone
Or preserved in the cloud to be sure
But over a hundred died, burned to the bone
And a thousand more were unaccounted for

How could this happen, was there no plan
The authorities and the news did inquire
Were the power lines downed by the wind to blame
That caused the Lahaina fire

They knew that the grid needed to be hardened
To alleviate their worst potential fears
Precisely by the kind of weather which was common
Yet they did nothing at all for many years

And now it has happened in Lahaina
Their place in history books now appears
As the deadliest fire in all America
In well over a hundred years

I drive through Lahaina on Maui
On my honeymoon long time ago
On the way to see waterfalls and black sand beaches
It was a cool place honeymooners would go

Such a picturesque island in paradise
Where I dreamed I could one day retire
Now burned to the ground just to save a few bucks
By the terrible Lahaina fire
Some say it is just Mother Nature again
Like volcanoes, tsunamis and bad hurricanes
Sometimes it’s floods from torrential rains
Sometimes it’s fire not started by man

But no matter the disaster, we’d acted in time
We’d save many lives, and if we don’t it’s a crime
Profits are evil when the greedy conspire
And they are responsible for the terrible Lahaina fire

Lyrically you’ve told the story of the tragedy perfectly. I really like the haunting flute that sits over top of the vocals.
There’s some really complex chord progressions going on here, almost bordering on Middle-Eastern at times which is super cool.
The biggest problem for me is the balance of the mix which makes it very hard to remain engaged.
The drums are set waaay in the background, and then you get moments like at 1:37 where a super loud guitar just explodes out of nowhere and starts competing with the vocal while drowning out what’s left of the drums.
I believe the balance of the mix can really help you tell the tragic story more effectively, so it may be something to possibly work on with your productions.
Start with the elements that need to be down the middle and in the forefront such as snare, kick, bass and vocals then start building your other elements up around the sides focusing on trying to give every instrument it’s own audible place within the mix.
I would also look at spreading that distorted guitar left and right. It’s very distracting just blasting out of the left channel.
If you can maintain a more audible rhythm alongside your vocals it’s going to make for a much more engaging song, in my humble opinion.

That, my friend, is exactly it! I listened to it again last night, tried to anyway, but it was a terrible fit of music and lyrics. The music was interesting in and of itself as an idea, l but the lyrics demanded a more normal structure for four line verses. And so it had happened I had written a second instrumental song at the same time as this one, called Sarah after one of my dogs, I’d had a snippet idea of Sarah with the Sleepy Eyes, but then I sang Lahaina to it, and I realized it actually fit very well. It is soft and dreamy and yet has some dark edginess to it at times. So here is a totally new version.

I can recycle the other music one day! Of course, any new criticism would be helpful.

Thank you for the reviews! Now your song. Maui is my favorite place on earth overall, and I have been there many times. I have driven through, been at Lahaina on numerous occasions. Hard to imagine something so horrific obliterated most all of the city. I don’t think I will be going to Maui for years, because seeing Lahaina’s destruction in person would be too disturbing for me. I have read the news, seen it on video. Your lyrics match what happened there. Covid/lock downs really hammered the tourist industry in the Hawaiian islands, so that probably didn’t help either. Yes, many crucial mistakes were made with tragic results. The song was well done.

Interesting song. I like the lyrics and the overall vibe.

I think the mix would sound better with the drums much higher in level. I liked the guitar parts, but they seem to be leading to 1 side(electric guitars). I think it would sound centered and perhaps with some sort of effect on it if you need it to be stereo.

I really like the transition between the more mellow parts and the more driving electric rhythm sections. I think if you highlighted that more with your mixing it would have an even greater impact.

This really was a tragic event.

I realize now that everyone is probably listening to the song in the first post, but I replaced it with totally different music in a later post. I like the basic music in that first one, but I don’t feel it matched the lyrics very well.

There’s no guitar in the new version!

Sorry, I just checked out the new version. The new version is actually more interesting. I like the vibe, but I think it would be better without the drum loop. I like the strings and other instruments. I think those by themselves would sound better and give it more of a feel like you’d hear in musical theater. For some reason it reminds me of something like “Trilogy” by ELP. I think instruments less tied to a drum groove would work better for something like this, but that’s just my opinion.