Canadian Musician - January / February - Page 58

WRITING Dale Boyle is an award-winning roots-rock, Americana, and folk singer-songwriter. He has been called “One of the best to emerge from north of the border” (Americana Homeplace) and “an accomplished musician, a fine singer, and an exceptionally thoughtful, meticulous songwriter” (Canadian Blues). Dale has won awards including the Narrative Songwriting Competition, International Songwriting Com- petition, and Unsigned Only Music Competition. In 2017, Dale released a roots-rock EP called Gasoline with The L.A. Rhythm Section, comprised of drummer Kenny Aronoff and bassist James LoMenzo, which “fuses L.A. energy with roots-rock soul” (Montreal Gazette) and “finds the corner where roots and real rock meet” (Midwest Record). For more, visit By Dale Boyle One Person’s Trash… A s a songwriter, I spend a lot of time “in my head.” I typically work alone to compose music, write lyrics, and establish an ar- rangement for my songs. Those steps are lonely, and without a sounding board, it’s easy for emotions and impressions to swing like a pendulum: “This is great!”…“Ah, it’s okay”…“Nah, this stinks.” As many solo songwriters know well, this cycle from excite- ment to uncertainty and back again can go on and on in a tiring process that, at times, leads to much self-doubt. One way to break this cycle is simple enough: in some shape or form, solicit input from others to gauge what you are creating. Recording with The L.A. Rhythm Section As soon as I booked the session with Kenny Aronoff and James LoMenzo, I was off on a mission to pick the “right” songs to record. In the running was a ZZ Top-ish rockin’ blues song I wrote called “Sorry John Henry.” I felt that the song had potential, but it always left me on the fence. Should I record this? Is it good enough? I wasn’t sure about the arrangement, but I liked the groove, but I didn’t care for the lyrics, etc. I eventually caved and somewhat reluc- tantly recorded a rough guide track of “Sorry John Henry” and passed it along to Kenny and James before our studio session. As it happens, the song resonated with them, and after the first take, Kenny said, “This is how a blues recording should sound!” Ok, that’s encouraging! They both began offering input on the arrangement. James suggested we extend the outro, Kenny offered a tweaked drum breakdown in the solo section, etc. Within 58 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N minutes, the song was elevated, and I felt ex- cited about it again. I recall saying out loud, “I almost didn’t show you this song.” In the end, I came out of that recording session feeling very energized about the track. And as mentioned, I never did care for my original lyrics, so with a renewed spark for the song, I did a complete re-write and re-titled it “Ragged Hand,” with a [KBX\H]H[ N \\H[\HܞK]H^[\Hو\[Y[BܛH^Hܚ8$ܚHX^H]H\\B\Y8$[[YYHX\]HH\\X]KHUܚ][\[ۂHXۙܞHx&[\H\X]H]ܚ] B[\[ۈ][۝X[ X\Yۙܚ]\؈]\ˈۈ\\X[\ܚ][\[ۋ؈[HY\Y[\[H[XZH]ۙ[Y8'[[HZK'B[ܚ[[[^HH\XHXYX[B[Y[X\Z[[[YYH\]H\[H[HXۙ\H]HZY H\YH[\وH\H\N[[\^H[ZHHY[[YHY [YH[K[YHYۜ•[[H\X܈YBHZY 8'HYYH[YH܈8&YK&HYK[Kۈ8)ZHYYZ[ۋZ ]8&\ 'HH]ZXH\Z\YHYXB[؈ZY 8']ܚˈX]8&]\YYHۋ&H[Hۛ\[8&]\˜Hۛۋ&x'H\XH8']\YYH۸'BX[YHH\[HوH\H [^B]ܚ]H[HوHۙK[[H\X܈YB]\YYHۂx&[H\H[[HZH[H[ܛ[[\\H]Z]\ۙHو\[]Hܚ][][H[ۙK[Y[X\[܈H[YHH[XYۈBܙ8'YY8'H[8'ۋ8'HH\[[›]\[H]H[[H\]ZX\HYXK؈\]ZXX\]HYZXY [[H[YYBYXH[H[ܙHY]\ܚX[^K]ܚY H\\X]H]Y][]B\\HY[Y\YKHZX]^B\H\HHو]]H\XܚB[]\ˈ[YH\X]KHY[]\›X\\H܈ۙܚ]\ ]\[ۙHX[HJB[ݙH^[ۙH]YH]ٝ[X\[Y\H\ܛK\YYY[H]ܚ][ܞK][H][[ H[]HHYYوH[X[HYXNY] [ܚ[[ۙK][BX\[HZ\Y܈\Z\Y H]ܚ]\[\H\H[[\[Y][Y\]ۙH8']^x'HYXHZYXYB[\]\]H\B]ZY X[Hܚ]\^\[[YY [ܚ]HHوX]\X[[ۙKB\ۈHX\YHHXܙ[\[ۂ][H\ۛٙ[[Y\Y[š\] Yܚ][[ۙK]YHYK]\š[\ܝ[\H[\ܚ[X]YYXHH[H\[BY][H[YK\KH\ZH[]][^H[\[\\[HܚˈH^H\\\HH8'[\'H][HY[\B\X ]\HH\][ۜ]X]H[HۈH[H8$Hۙ\[HZY]H\\Hۈ[H\