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HOW COULD IT BE? – March 2018 R&R

4PAN1TOkay, so this song is being released in May… the recording was also started several years ago. What seems like a long, long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away), there was a group of Worship Leaders / Song Writers who called themselves the “SongWriter’s Guild”. It was actually a group that I pulled together to write songs together once a month. They were songs for the church and from the church. It was a lot of fun!

One of the songs that we wrote was called “HOW COULD IT BE?” The song was originally meant to be sang in three distinct sections by three different Worship Leaders. You can imagine the chorus being sung by one Worship Leader, the verses being sung by a second Worship Leader, and then the bridge being sung by a third Worship Leader. We recorded it that way several years ago and it was offered as a free download during one of our Seize The Summer tours.

When Polen Band began recording for our upcoming album “There is Nothing New Under the Sun (Vol. 2)”, we decided that we wanted to revisit HOW COULD IT BE? and release it in a way that we were proud of. We started with those original files, but replaced most of them.

This song was actually my nemesis throughout the recording process for “There is Nothing New Under the Sun (Vol. 2)”. Something was very corrupt with the file and I experienced massive problems with it, but we were able to make it work.

This #Record&Release project has been great for me because it has kept me working purposefully in the studio each month. However, I had no shortage of time spent in the studio during March and April 2018. In fact, I spent most of my time in the studio working on the Polen Band album. We will be releasing the full album on Friday, June 1, 2018. Knowing that my March and April R&R songs would be from the album, I wanted to wait until early May to release them.

About the Song

As mentioned, this song was written by the SongWriter’s Guild. It is a simple (but I think profound) worship song. It is really fun to sing and deeply meaningful to pray out. The song is a simple response to God.

How could it be that the King of all glory hung on a tree and died for me? How could it be that the fullness of heaven took on flesh to set me free? Oh, how could it be?

I am really excited to release this song.

About the Recording

I created the main loop on an iPad using the Korg iELECTRIBE Gorillaz Edition app. Most of the background electric guitar parts were recorded several years ago by Jeff Kaufman (member of the SongWriter’s Guild and former member of Polen Band). The only electric guitar part that I replaced was the main riff. I used my faithful Gibson Les Paul Standard through a Vox AC15 and used a Sennheiser e906 to record the main riff.

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Martin D-28 Custom

The acoustic guitar is my Martin D-28 Custom being captured by the Blue Blueberry on the sound hole and a Neumann KM-184 on the fretboard. I am always so happy with how that guitar sounds!

Keith Byler (member of the SongWriter’s Guild and current member of Polen Band) recorded the bass guitar. He actually recorded it on his own and sent me the raw signal .wav files. I re-amped the signal and worked with it to get it sounding how I wanted it to. We worked back and forth on the actual part and I love how it turned out. The bass line during the main electric guitar riff is super groovy.

Nick Mast (current member of Polen Band) re-recorded the drums for the song. We changed up the beat a little bit, but I mostly just wanted to recapture the drums in my space. I am really happy with the drum sound that I am getting in Taylor’s Playground Recording Studio.

Mark Rowe (member of Polen Band) recorded the keyboard at his place and sent me the midi files. I messed with them a little bit, dialed in the sound that I was looking for, and set them in the mix.

Keith Byler and Heather Schlabach sang Harmony Vocals for the song. At one point I asked Keith to go ahead and sing it again and he asked, “From the beginning?” It was such a great moment, I had to include it in the recording… My kids appreciated that.

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Multitude of Voices

At the end of the recording process for “There is Nothing New Under the Sun (Vol. 2)” we brought in what we call a “Multitude of Voices” to simply sing along with the songs and make them feel more like a typical worship setting. I felt like the Multitude of Voices really helped to make this song shine.

This is actually a final mix / mastered version of the song. After spending many hours mixing the song, I sent it off to Nathan Dantzler at The Hit Lab to be mastered. Nathan is pretty much awesome (and a great guy to boot)! I love working with him on the Polen Band albums.

Big Wins

I love how this song turned out! The March and April R&R songs are far more polished than my January and February songs, but they had an immediate placement on an upcoming album so it makes sense that they would be. I am excited to hear what the songs can sound like when they get to 100% completion.

Areas for Growth

Listening back through the song, I do think it could have used some high frequency strings. There is a lot happening in the midrange. I am still happy with how it sounds, but  that may have improved the song a bit.

What Do You Think?

I would love to hear your feedback on the R&R song for March. Feel free to comment on the good, the bad, and the ugly. You won’t hurt my feelings (you won’t puff me up too much, either).

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