Long Shot - Details
LONG SHOT album participants:
Aurora Beagle. She is a high school senior interested in music therapy. Aurora has participated in school musical productions, the Uptown Music Collective contemporary music performances, and her church.
Cassie Blair. Freelance graphic artist, Cassie, finalized the design on the photos Dave and Janet Heffner took for the album. She also rendered the CD design and text layout for production by Disc Makers.
Tim Breon. Professional guitarist, bass player, audio engineer, and teacher, Tim is much sought after for his superb playing and creativity. Having played on a couple of my past albums, he returns playing both electric guitar and stand up bass.
Len Cagle. German professor and accomplished jazz saxophonist, has been on more of my tracks than anyone else over the last few years, never knowing what genre will be next. I like to quip that, “when I present a music score to Len, he plays something better.”
Shawnee Floyd. Recent high school graduate, Shawnee, has been involved in several music productions and performs regularly at brewery and restaurant venues. I was told, “You have to hear this guy sing!” Glad I did.
Dave Heffner. I have written the music and lyrics, engineered, and produced all of the songs, except where noted on each song. I am primarily a composer and keyboardist, but am experienced in audio engineering with Pro Tools and various plug ins. With the exceptions of performances by guest artists, I play and sing all the remaining parts.
Janet Heffner. My wife, sings on many tracks, helps with lyrics, marketing, and continues to be my biggest fan. Her involvement with music as a vocalist, guitarist, pianist, and songwriter has been life-long as a student, teacher, and performer.
Lucy Henry. Retired music teacher, flutist, and singer has been very involved in the local community music scene. She plays flute for a couple compositions. Her performances are both precise and interpretive.
Alice Weiler. Guidance counselor by day and singer - songwriter on her free time, Alice performs at many venues, particularly for children. She has recorded and released her own CDs with original children’s songs.
Dudly Ulysse. Recent graduate from college in music production, Dudly is a producer, drummer, and rapper. He has released EPs and a CD of his original beats and produces projects for clients in the hip hop community.
GOOD ODDS (Alice Weiler - vocals, Dave - vocals, piano, synths) Style: pop
Inspired from a rhyme written by my late mother-in-law, “There is one thing on which you can bet: Stand in the rain you’re going to get wet.” I expanded this idea into the lyrics, exploring things that are a “sure bet.” Alice has a very clear soprano voice, allowing the listener to hear all the words, which is important to me. Musically, I wanted something with a simple chord structure that my 8 year old granddaughter could play, as I am giving her piano lessons. I am happy to report that she learned it by memory.
FIREFLIES (Shawnee Floyd - vocals, Dave - piano, synths) Style: ballad
Adapted from a poem written by Janet Heffner as she made a nostalgic account of the fireflies in our yard, during what was our last summer before moving. I expanded the profound phrase, “Fireflies… to teach us all that living, can be beautiful art.” into the chorus. Shawnee has such a resonant voice, which really shines when going into the upper register. I hoped to catch the movement of the fireflies with the piano and string arpeggios played to an unusual 12/8 meter, creating a waltz-like effect.
IT’S ABOUT TIME (Aurora Beagle - vocals, Janet Heffner - backup vocals, Dave - vocals, synths) Style: electronic dance
Also adapted from a poem written by Janet Heffner as she observed and appreciated the wildlife around our fully landscaped yard and great Victorian porch. Aurora’s high soprano voice is ideal for celebrating the tiny creatures around our house. The background “ooh-ahh” was my musical inspiration for the whole song. The musical style I chose is popular dance with a “four on the floor” beat for a fun song.
WHERE DID THE MONEY GO (Janet Heffner - vocals, Dave - vocals, synths) Style: progressive electronic
One often hears the rhetorical comment about not knowing where the money went. This is a fun satirical song claiming that it is frequently one’s own fault of overspending and trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” Musically, I was exploring the use of many layers of vocals. Heavy drums support the distorted electric guitar sound. Almost in the style of heavy metal.
PRECIOUS TIME (Alice Weiler - vocals, Janet Heffner - backup vocals, Lucy Henry - flute, Tim Breon - stand up bass, Dave - piano, synths) Style: pop
Alice Weiler wrote the lyrics to this song that definitely has a Caribbean flavor, Timbale drum and all. I originally created three guitar tracks that had less of a rhythmic swing, but once the drums were added, the song took on a whole new flavor. This prompted me to ask Lucy to play her flute and to add a brass track. This was the first time I ever recorded a live stand up bass, which Tim hauled up to my second floor studio. “Precious Time” was a semifinalist in the Nashville Songwriting Competition.
I AM RIGHT HERE (Janet Heffner - vocals, Dave - vocals, piano, synths) Style: progressive rock
Initially, I intended to write a song about outer space and one can still hear related special effects and overall tone. However, at the time I was writing the music, my wife found an unfinished poem written by her late mother that explored one’s inner space, specifically the psychology of the “inner child.” After a little study on the topic, I wrote the lyrics and recite some of the poem in the middle bridge.
LOVE AND THOUGHTS GO ON (Alice Weiler - vocals, Len Cagle - tenor saxophone, Tim Breon - stand up bass, Dudly Ulysse - drums, Janet Heffner - vocals, Dave - vocals, piano, synths) Style: jazz
“...it’s goodbye my friend, Like all earthly things, they must come to an end. But love and thoughts go on.” This lyric phrase sums up many of the feeling I have as my wife and I prepare to move from Pennsylvania to Colorado. As in a few of the previous songs, I continue to explore layering the vocals of Alice, Janet, and myself. There are two main musical themes that converge in the ending. In the second theme Alice and I do some “scat” vocals combined with Dudly Ulysses’ driving drums, Tim Breon’s rapid acoustic bass improvisation, and Len Cagle’s jazzy saxophone. A lot is going on, which is challenging and fun. The overall test for me is: does it “swing?” I believe the answer is “yes!”
TIME EXTENDED (Lucy Henry - flute, Tim Breon - electric guitar, Dave - piano, synths) Style: progressive rock
Lucy carried the melody in this progressive rock instrumental. The piano and synthesizers support the chord progression and rhythm, while Tim’s electric guitar is primarily improvisational. I enjoyed hearing how both of these experienced artists enhanced my original composition. This is one of those tracks that I like to turn up the volume and surround myself in the musical experience.
SAVE ME (Shawnee Floyd - vocals, Len Cagle - tenor saxophone, Dave - piano, synths) Style: ballad.
Shawnee captures the reflective mood of this ballad, enhanced by his additional harmony tracks on the chorus. Len’s funky sax playing enhances the groove I was hoping to capture in what were more complicated bass and drum tracks than might be apparent. For example, marimba is woven into the bass sounds to create a more rapid attack on the beat. One must be careful to not be overly complex and lose the hook and swing of a song. This piece is one of my favorites.
WHERE DID YOU COME FROM (Dave Heffner - vocals, piano, synths, Janet Heffner - backup vocals) Style: rock
This was written as a playful lyrical response to a friend’s wondering why a romantic relationship was beginning at an inopportune, unplanned time. The voice tracks are me singing multiple parts. In fact, other than Janet singing three vocal backup tracks, I play the other 20 instrumental tracks. As the lyrics state, “How does a love song really go?” “I have no idea!”
IT’S THE JOURNEY (Aurora Beagle - vocals, Dave - vocals, piano, synths) Style: ambient
“Life is a journey, not a destination” - Ralph Waldo Emerson. This ambient or meditative song is carried by layering Aurora’s lovely high soprano vocals in a musical journey, contrasted with my bass vocals. Melody and harmony are supported primarily by piano and strings. Rhythm is supported by bass arpeggios and ethnic drums. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey.
WHAT’S YOUR NAME (Shawnee Floyd - vocals, Len Cagle - tenor saxophone, Dave - piano, synths) Style: electronic dance
The music was written using “Ableton Live,” which is new software for me that is optimized for live performance of electronic tracks; however, in the end, I transferred everything to my long-time friend “Pro Tools” to perform the final mixing. The lyrics were written while visiting friends in Maine. The premise of the song is that a relationship goes to a new level once one knows someone’s name. I like the way Shawnee can effortlessly move his voice into a higher range.
IT’S OKAY (Dudly Ulysse - vocals, Dave - vocals, synths) Style: electronic ballad
The lyrical message is to not hold one’s emotions inside oneself when upset, but to find a trustworthy person in whom to confide. There is a lot of pain in the world and we are here to help each other. The intense lyrics are musically supported by heavy drums, layers of synthesizers, and 10 tracks of vocals. Admitted, somewhat “heavy.”
I’M NOT DONE YET (Dave Heffner - piano, synthesizers) Style: electro jazz
I love to have other musicians participate with my compositions. However, sometimes it’s fun to just do a song by myself. This instrumental seemed appropriate because it is complicated rhythmically and might prove difficult to have other musicians know what I wanted and would be a challenge to write the musical scores. I play every part, but feature the piano as my lead instrument with a contemporary big band support. The song has a few false endings, reflecting the name of the piece and my attitude about this musical adventure which I am enjoying. Thanks for joining me.