"Allentown" by Billy Joel, an acoustic cover by Mike Massé, featuring Bryce Bloom.
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This is one of my favorite Billy Joel songs. This is one of *everybody's* favorite Billy Joel songs. It is a masterful combination of melody and lyrics. I love how he avoids a typical verse/chorus structure. It all just sort of flows, but with a rhythm and cadence, and repetition of key phrases and sections.
This song took a little longer than usual for me to prepare to record/film, because there are a lot of lyrics (and enough fore-mentioned repetition of similar phrases to trip you up), and a lot of chord changes. It was not so easy to record three good takes (that's usually my goal, to give me a few to choose from) where I got all the words and chords correctly. It all comes at you at a steady pace, but it requires focus to remember what happens when, even when you know the song as well as I do, having heard it for much of my life. And the song is long enough that holding focus while performing the song over and over again provides its own challenges.
One of the appeals of this song is the juxtaposition of the rather upbeat music with lyrics that are decided less so. They wistfully recall a bygone, more prosperous blue-collar age. The lyrics are perhaps more relevant today than ever, as the future waits for no person or industry, and automation and efficiency rule the day. Many are left behind, and others left with the prospect of being worse off than their parents managed to be. Yet this song is in a major key, and the tune is jaunty and catchy. So let's hear it again, and forget our troubles for another four minutes. As long as there is music, there is hope!
Thanks to Bryce Bloom for playing bass on it. We pulled this together rather quickly over a couple of days, and I appreciate him being flexible with getting this scheduled and done.
He sounds great.
A note about sound effects: I bought a sample of a pile driver noise and time-stretched it, applying it where it was used in the original. The opening whistle sound effect is actually pretty common, it seems.
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