The Story Behind the Song “Turning”

As mentioned, in an earlier post, The new single “Turning” from Opus Anthem is arriving in digital stores and on streaming platforms early February, 2021. I had mentioned also that I was really excited for the release of this one! One of the main reasons for this, is that I was able to revisit the original song which “Turning” was based upon. This earlier song has a bit of a drawn out history, so I thought I would do something I normally don’t do and write up a blog post on how this new song came about, which brings us now to the story.

Although this new song, as in it’s lyrics and a few other musical parts were written near the end of 2020, it actually has it’s roots in a song originating back to the year 2000 (may have been as early as late 1999) and then a later version that came in 2001. That song was titled “The Slipping Sand”, and I wrote it in my final couple years living in Seattle, WA. I was approaching my mid twenties then, and was experiencing a lot of change with music. I wrote and recorded a demo of an early form of this song, just the main guitar riff really, with bass and drums somewhere between late 1999 to early 2000, while I was in another band. We were focused on other material at the time, so it never got traction as a song in that setting.

A little more than a year later, in the Spring of 2001, I had access to a recording studio and took tracks of that early demo and extended the arrangement, writing additional guitar parts, adding some additional percussion, vocals and so on. The multi-tracks from this recording session became the foundation for the 2020 recording session. This earlier song from 2001 was sort of a milestone for me, because it was the last song I recorded and produced in my twenties, and it happened right before a pretty drastic turning (pun intended) point in my life that took me away from songwriting for a number of years.

So you may be thinking, why bother with all this, going back 20 years ago to write a new tune from an old song? Well, in reflecting upon this song from 2001, it became clear it was much different in style than other material I had written up to that point. It also was a punctuation of sorts to an era of music I was immersed in while in Seattle and a chapter that had ended. For whatever reason, I looked at it as a bridge; a birthing of a new style of songwriting for me, that would later influence the direction of Opus Anthem music. Although I had been pleased with most of what I recorded and arranged, including it’s mixed meter (7/4, 6/4 and 4/4) time. It was not too long after I finished recording “The Slipping Sand” that I realized I wasn’t pleased with the lyrics (had thought they were rushed and not really what I wanted to express), also, I didn’t like how the song ended, as it trailed off in a lengthy loop, leaving some issues in the final mix I didn’t care for either.

Subsequently, I held onto that recording and resigned to the arrangement and mix I was left with. Having demoed it for a few friends, at one point, I had even planned to release it to a larger audience and present it under an artist name I was floating at the time: “Laughing Bodies”, but then time pressed on, I got busy with life, and ultimately, it was scrapped and shuffled into a musical dustbin of sorts. As years passed, it bothered me this song was left in limbo, and never completed the way I had hoped.

So, fast-forward twenty years, and upon coming to the end of 2020, with this new year 2021 marking the 20th anniversary of that earlier work, it seemed fitting to revisit this material, to see if I could work out the arrangement and share it as an Opus Anthem song. I decided the best way to do that, was to perform a reinterpretation of it; writing new lyrics, recording new vocals and scrapping the old, adding some additional instrumentation, and remixing all of that together, along with the original multi-tracks from 20 years ago to create something new. It is the alchemy of all of this which produced this new song “Turning”, which I’m glad I am now able to share!

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