The finished product – “What I Love About America”
When Rod Stone contacted us back in 2019, he wanted a piano/vocal arrangement of a song he’d previously produced and recorded:
We wrote one for him –
– and here’s the Finale playback file for this piano/vocal arrangement (with sample ooh-aah for the vocal):
Vocal Arrangement With Rhythm Section
In early 2020, we heard from him expressing interest in creating an expanded arrangement for choir, but in more of a gospel style, with an eye toward creating a demo of the song to pitch to choirs around the country.
We wrote an arrangement –
Given the efficiencies in today’s music technology and reduced cost of production, we suggested if you’re going to record it, why not go for a master recording? – given the potential for licensing the finished recording as an intellectual property asset for possible use in media.
We delivered a Finale playback file of our arrangement to Rod –
to demo the arrangement itself, prior to going into production in a digital audio workstation (“DAW”), using ProTools as the production app for the music.
We began the process of replacing midi/sample tracks with human players, sending out “stems” (individual audio files) and sheet music parts to musicians we’ve worked with who have their own at-home recording setups. The musicians on the track are Mike Eckroth on piano and organ, and Alvester Garnett on drums, and me (Jon Burr) on bass. We found a remote choir in the person(s) of David and Tiffany Spencer, and were able to get my old friend and colleague Ty Stephens on lead vocal.
Ty was the only one without a studio on his own, but he was able to record at Kaleidoscope Sound in Weehawken, NJ – a large space that enabled “social distancing” during the pandemic, engineered by Jeremy Delaney.
As the various artists completed their parts, they delivered their “stems” (audio files) to us. We put them into our ProTools production session, then mixed and mastered. In the mix, we used some DSP plugins for sound enhancement, including WAVES’ Brauer Motion for organ, Smack Attack for drums and bass, and Valhalla’s Plate reverb.
The YouTube video (top) was assembled by Rod’s son Newell.
Editorial note…we usually look at all incoming material as “work to be done,” avoiding making judgments about it – but we were particularly excited by this song. It becomes clear that this song is a call to our better angels as Americans – a hymn of inclusivity, a call to unity and shared purpose. My sense was that this song could do some real good, particularly at this time in America, serving as a sort of Trojan Horse of a message of universal brotherhood.
To download, go to:
A bold, fresh, patriotic, feel good song for these difficult times in America. For the sake of our future it’s time to come together and rise above. For permission to use in all events, televised or otherwise, contact Rod Stone: [email protected]
Sheet music available upon request.
© 2020 Stonecap Music ASCAP