Long Time Comin' (Hiatt cover) -- back in the saddle at last

Hi friends, after quite an eventful past year or so, I finally have something to share again. To get myself back in the swing of things (more or less), I’m doing a cover, another tune from one of my major heroes, John Hiatt, called Long Time Comin’, off his 2014 release Terms of My Surrender. Bit of a backstory with this one, please bear with me…

Some of you old-timers may recall my writing about my beloved brother-in-law Bob, pro musician and recordist, with whom I had a lifelong musical partnership. I posted this photo of us in my intro post back on RR, wearing t-shirts I’d had made for us:

Tragically, Bob was struck down by early-onset vascular dementia in early 2017, and it robbed him of his personality and self so very swiftly-- by mid-17 he was unable to make all but the most basic decisions, and that ability didn’t last long… he died this past February, and in some ways it was a mercy that it happened so fast. But it was a brutal experience for our family, of which he was a pillar.

We all came together in April for a celebration of his life. It turned into a four-hour love-a-thon, with tears, laughter, and a ton of music. As part of the eulogy that my sister Juli asked me to deliver (I wore my EQ t-shirt under my sportcoat), I wrapped up with a rendition of this song playing Bob’s '70s vintage Martin D-28, modifying the lyrics slightly here and there to make it even more directly applicable to my feelings. (I know, blasphemy! Altering the lyrics of a Hiatt tune??)

So to get back in gear, I decided to do a full studio version to give to my sister and to Bob’s brother Joe, another music lover. I recorded the tracks weeks ago, did all the basic stuff to them, and now finally sat down to do a proper mix, assuming I still know how! It turns out Juli will be visiting us for the Thanksgiving week, a little over a month from now, so that sparked me to get off the dime and get this thing ready to go. My first Virginia mix. :slight_smile:

Thanks for listening, Dave

Initial posting:

V2 after first round of comments:

V3 after adjusting drum compression:


Welcome back Dave - good to hear you again. Very sad to hear about your bro-in-law…

Just listening on cruddy speakers at work, but this sounds great. Very nice vocal performance and guitar work.

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Hey Dave, Let me say first that I’m sorry for your loss. Losing a brother must be very difficult in any case (I still have 3) specially if you’re obviously so close. And to such a nasty disease as well. My mother has Alzheimer and was placed in a home only just last week. She’s had a long life behind her, but ending her life in what is effectively a prison was the last thing she wanted. She doesn’t understand why she’s been put in this home any more but she can still feel anger and grief. It’s hart breaking. So I understand to some extent what you and your family have been going through. And great that you honored him with a celebration of his life with loads of music. It’s how I hope someone will celebrate my life when it’s over.
So great choice of song to sing. Changing lyrics - I do that too - is fun. Somehow good lyrics tend to lead to good alternative lyrics (if you stay close to the original) and work better than a song that nobody’s heard before.

Now this cover of John Hiatt’s long time comin’ is excellent. Great vocals, good picking and the D28 sounds crisp and sweet. Maybe, just maybe the top e string is ringing out a tad too much here and there. I’m not sure if you would want to fix it, but I’m sure there are ways to lessen the effect if you do (automating the volume might just be the best solution, or a dynamic eq might work). Love the way the drums and electric guitars come in at 1:42. You did a great job worthy of the person you did it for.

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Sorry Dave, I misread your post, I thought Bob was your brother, but he was your brother in law. Well, I guess being as close as you were it makes no difference.

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I remember that photo from RR. I am sorry to hear about his passing. To be honest this song sounds like gold to me knowing where it is coming from. If I had to say anything it would be when you come back in with the vocals around 2:30 you could clear out a bit more space for them. Thanks for sharing.

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Very touching story and rendition of this song Dave, thanks for sharing. I like that you can evoke Hiatt vocally without imitating him, that’s very effective. Great guitar sounds and playing here, can you share the signal path for the electrics with us? Good work.

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Hey everyone, many thanks for the quick replies! I appreciate your good wishes on our loss of Bob. There was no human being I ever knew to whom I wasn’t blood-related or married that I loved more than that man. Always seems like it’s the best among us who get taken young… (he was just 65 when he was hit by the dementia, 67 when he passed). We shared so many great times, and spoke our own musical language with one another every time we played together. Always seemed like it didn’t matter how long it had been since we last jammed, always picked right up where we’d left off. I miss him every day.

Actually the recording is my own guitar, Martin DCPA-1, same one I’ve been recording with for years. It was only at the service where I played the D-28. That’s one beautiful axe, for sure, and it felt and sounded great on the day.

I know exactly what you are referring to, I had a couple of strums there where that ringing came out. I wanted to see whether anyone would notice, so you did! :smile:

Great suggestion, I know the soundscape is pretty dense at that stage, and I’ll look at opening things up there.

I would be happy to! Will jump on the music rig in a while and pull those details up to post.

Edit: Here are the details. I used my Music Man Cutlass (see here for details on the axe) for the three electric tracks: one is the little pizzicato texture hits after the first verse, the second is the big chords in the middle part, and the third is the lead phrases. All three used the Scuffham S-Gear 2 amp sim.

The pizzicato parts were played through the Blue Klaptonite preset, the big chords went through the Big Power Rhythm preset (tweaked a few knobs slightly on that one), and the leads with the Plexmonster preset. No other plugs on those tracks, I relied on SG2’s internal processing for these guitars. This was one of those rare times when I found presets very quickly that hit the sounds I was looking for. These three presets are three of the first four in numerical order within the sim…!

Thanks again all!

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I’m very sorry for your loss. The song sounds great on my laptop speakers.

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I have put a second version in the OP to reflect these first comments. The differences are subtle, but definitely noticeable in a/b.

I couldn’t get that “ringing” out of those few spots in the opening bars, so I think I’ll just leave it as my Slartibartfastian blemish. :wink: I did EQ the big electric guitar chords in the middle to give more room for the harmony vocals in the bridge, and that was a good suggestion, thanks again Eric @redworks. I also added a bit more drum hits leading up to the big break in the middle, and made the military-like drum roll at the end of the bridge a trifle longer-lasting.

At the risk of oversharing, here’s video of Bob’s life celebration where I played the song on Bob’s D-28. One of his oldest friends set up a GoPro at the side of the room to capture the whole service. My performance was underway when the GoPro reached the single-file size limit and began the next file, so there is a tiny hitch about 2/3 of the way through where that transition occurs, I couldn’t make it totally absent when I stitched them together.

In the front row foreground, that’s my wife in the near corner, and then Bob & Juli’s kids, Juli herself, and then across the aisle the shaven-headed fellow bobbing his head is Bob’s brother Joe, who was the leadoff speaker and just brought the house down. I even started my words by joking that I needed to complain about the speaking order, not supposed to put the showstopper right at the front! I got pretty emotional during my remarks, so my voice was a bit shaky by the time I got to the song…


That is sounding good. Nicely done.

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So glad to see you’re back with us Dave. Never got the chance to meet you like I said I would. You were missed big time.
Second mix is def more clear however I liked the business of the first. Like to hear a slow build of slight accessory tracks to help with that first repeating riff. The bass helps much but I think there could be more??? Great singing and guitar work. Chilled me right out. Good way to start out here:)

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Holy crap, ya got me in a puddle here. That was awesome and flawless. You can really sing ole friend. Very seldom does a recording like that sound so pure. Only disappointment was there was only one other black sock down the way that was tapping out the beat (like you)
Liked the way you played that A chord:) Your wife looked so proud. Really impressed Dave


The biggest thing is it has the heart felt feeling and that’s all that really matters.
Great job!

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Cool video Dave!.. I had another listen to the track in the OP in my studio, and it sounded excellent.

One thing I noticed was that the drums sounded a bit “flattened” by the drum buss processing. You can hear it in the hihat track - when the hihat plays on it’s own and doesn’t coincide with any other drum hits, it really jumps out clearly, but when it hits at the same time as, say the kick or snare, its level gets “sucked down” by the drum buss compression.

The kick and snare sounds also sound pretty “flattened” too. I think if you backed off the drum buss compression, the drums would come to life and sound a little more “3D”.

Nice work!

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Hi Dave and so sorry to hear of your family’s loss. Good to have you back so I can tell my wife I’m hanging out with a NASA scientist on my forums.

So I listened to your 2nd revision, and there are much better ears than mine giving you feedback so I won’t bother, because it really got to me just like it is. I think you can overthink things and get caught up in the all the minutia of “the mix” when the message and feeling is working just fine. IMHO, the little imperfections add humanity to the song. Jerze said it well…

Well done Dave!


Thanks guys! Andrew, you are right (big shock), there’s some pretty substantial compression on the drums. There are some nice dynamics in the midi patterns (live-recorded by a studio cat) that I wanted to bring out, but I probably overdid it. It’s also making the sidestick taps after the bridge more pronounced than I’d prefer. Good catch!

And of course I agree about trying to get the feeling right. Need those drums to be rounder, though, to help deliver the punch when they come in with the electric guitars the way I want. Sounds like I’m close… :slight_smile:

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OK, just dropped v3 into the OP with some changes in the compressor setting on the drums. Not quite as fast an attack, higher threshold, and a gentler ratio. Seems to have put some air back in the tires… again, subtle, but in a/b very noticeable.

Thanks again all!



I’ll tell you Dave, between this tune, your story and the Long Way Home song some of us are mixing, I’m emotionally obliterated. I lost an old college friend to cancer back in 2017. We were roommates for awhile and used to write songs together…

Anyway, this is really touching and tastefully done. Thank you for sharing it with us. Oh, and I like this mix - A LOT!

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I compared the drum sounds of v1 and v3 and the change does improve the drum sound which of course drives the song better at that point, good change there.

I had forgotten about your Music Man quest but it certainly speaks well here. I followed the link and refreshed my memory and was wondering about the pick ups, they look like typical Strat pickups but they are active you say, are they EMG?

I’m just getting into the Scuffham sim so this was a good primer for me, thanks for listing the presets, I know I’ll have fun with those!

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