Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Songs of Praise

Earlier in the year we got the call to record a few tracks for Songs of Praise. The line up was to be Kristyna Myles, Joy Ononokpono singing backing vocals and myself on guitar. Initially there was a bit of negotiation over which songs we would perform; we needed to find some tracks that would suite Kristynas soulful vocal style and also fit into the Songs of Praise criteria. We eventually settled on two Alison Krauss tracks- 'Down in the River to Pray' and 'A Living Prayer', plus one of Kristyna's songs 'Your Love'.

We went into the studio with Adam Speakman to record the tracks so that Songs of Praise could hear the songs in advance. Then the idea was that on the day of filming, Joy and I would mime over the tracks we had already recorded and Kristyna would sing live. 

In Alison Krauss's version of Down in the River to Pray, more and more backing vocals come in throughout the song and the texture gets thicker and thicker. In our version, we tried to vary the texture as much as possible, sometimes having a verse with no guitar, sometimes Joy just singing 'oooh's' and sometimes singing the words in harmony with Kristyna. Joy layered up a few harmonies to give the recording a richer texture like the original. In the end the Songs of Praise team decided it would be better to only have one harmony, as it looked too creepy to have more than one voice coming out of Joys mouth. In Kristyna's song 'Your Love' Kristyna played keys and I was able to play some slide guitar over the top. And in 'A Living Prayer' we changed the style of the original to make it a bit more bluesy, which suited Kristyna's voice better.

A few weeks after recording the songs in the studio we headed to Longton Methodist Central Hall in Stoke for the filming. As we arrived a congregation of pensioners dressed in a myriad of pastel shades were finishing off their hymns. Then it was our turn. 

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