First, a note of gratitude. If it weren’t for Walt’s sponsorship of this site, his participation, and his leadership, it could never be anything more than an overblown vanity project on the part of a single, self-obsessed songwriter, me; so all thanks to Walt for that, real or not.
In truth, it’s surprising how little of one’s outer self, at least, goes into a song. Many songwriters say they don’t so much compose their pieces as transcribe them from a subconscious wellspring, and that’s often been my experience too. You only have to be receptive enough to jot them down as they stream in. The personal accomplishment is mainly secretarial.
However, a finished song is not just a text and a tune. Passing into other hands, it has its own existence, no longer dependent on the composer. It can go out in the world and meet people, have adventures, really get around, all while the songwriter sits at home playing the piano or harping on things. My songs have unfortunately been denied these broadening opportunities because, what with one thing or another, I never go out and perform them. Showbiz is not in my blood, and if it were I’d want to have it removed.
At home, the songs have been holding their own through many playings over a decade or more. A number of people, a reasonable proportion, are partial to at least some of the songs, and enjoy hearing or playing them.
Although I didn’t go out of my way to hunt these songs down, I was lucky enough to be the one upon whom they landed, with all the interesting consequences that has had. I always felt what they deserved in return is a canonical representation, a Platonic demo, a clear communication of what each was about as best I understood it. That’s what Walt’s Band is for.
The “canonical representation” of a song at waltsband.com involves a number of things. First and foremost, it’s a piano arrangement, generally quite detailed and including instrumental passages. I’m aware – being often told – that the solo piano and voice combination has not featured much in popular music for a century or so, but in my view nothing beats the clarity of a worked-out piano part when it comes to relaying a song, especially if one prefers to be non-committal about genre.
Each song also gets a video of me singing it all the way through and playing the published arrangement on my MIDI keyboard. Walt strongly feels that videos provide the most straightforward possible means of introducing songs to a new audience – all the more important when no non-new audience exists. The performances are the best I could achieve, thanks to heavy editing and other chicanery, in the time allotted, plus the extra time, and the very long time after that. Walt doesn’t actually recommend my singing in so many words, or at all, but he doesn’t pay for a singer, either. With his encouragement and non-negotiable insistence, I volunteered, and what happened happened.
Out of the pile of songs I have written during this particular lifetime, I chose a representative set of 14 to arrange for piano and record on my first CD, Songs Sung Sideways. The CD is available now, as are the individual MP3 tracks. Videos and sheet music will be introduced singly as we work through the production schedule, with one new song appearing every two weeks. We open the site with an active sheet music catalog of just two songs, Just The Moon and our sample song, Over You.