Lyrics on the iPad. Chords on scraps of paper, surrounded by nubs of pencils. Acoustic guitars in hand, capos at the ready. This is what the Durham County Band writer’s circle looks like.
On any given day, the members of DCB can be found here, sitting at their round table, drinking coffee, playing instruments, pitching ideas, and otherwise, having the time of their lives.
On this particular day, Pete and Kip are working through an arrangement on a moody ballad that's been around for a while, one that may well make the cut for the DCB inaugural album.
“With the capo on the third fret,” explains Wheeler. “It gives the song a different tone that I absolutely love, and sits perfect with Kip's vocal style."
The two work through different arrangements, developing complimentary acoustic guitar parts and harmonies to match. The song starts to take shape after a half hour – the boys play through the song a couple different ways before they settle on an arrangement they both like.
“We need at least one more ballad for the album, and this is a really strong candidate,” says Walker, after the writing session. “I’m a ballad guy, and this one speaks to me. It’s right in my wheelhouse.”
A week later, the band has gathered, minus James (who is gigging solo in Mexico). On the table, a demo of a stadium anthem, Losing Sleep. "You can smell the grass and the smoke in the air in the first 2 bars of this one," Kip adds with a grin.
Bronson is positively giddy about this one. “I can’t wait to take a crack at singing this song! I can already see the lights coming up on the first chords, the haze of smoke, the music rushing over the crowd. I'm so excited! Damn, when are we going to record this thing?!”
Wheeler smiles – he knows that the work now falls to him in the studio. He will put together a working mix over the next week, and then the band will come in to lay their respective parts.
This is how it’s done in the Durham County Band writer’s circle. Everybody pitches, everybody sings, and everybody plays. Stay tuned for new songs coming up in the next few months!