The Composition of a Song: The Star Spangled Banner

A short time ago I was invited to perform for a race called “Swim Across America.” The song was to be The Star Spangled Banner and at first, I just played it on my pedal steel alone. I sent the orchestrator of the race a recorded mp3 copy and he urged me to “hop it up” as he implied that it was beautiful for a calm morning with the sun rising over Lake Washington, but as far as a race goes it was too laid back and mellow. When I play a song, it makes me happy to play it, but equally as happy to please the person listening to the song, so I added drums and bass to “hop it up.”

It turned out he was right. The swimmers at the race were extremely jazzed when I played it. They cheered like it was a big rock concert. After that, I went back to my studio and ran over the song again. I felt that even though I went to the point of adding a live recording of myself playing bass and drums for background tracks, I wanted the song to go even deeper. Continue reading