JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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Manifest Shania. Or trying to decide when a song is as good as it’s gonna get.

Manifest Shania

Over the weekend, I was talking Tim Young, Guitar God, LA, about Water Under The Bridge, a song I’ve been working on for months. Tim and I, along with Tim’s wife, Eryn, have already recorded the song once, so Tim knows the tune well. Or he did. Because since those days many months ago, when Tim, Eryn, Jaime Durr and I recorded the guitars and vocals for the song, Water has changed course. The original version seemed cool, but something about it gnawed at me, and when I got a note from a friend, whose musical opinion I deeply respect (actually, I respect all of his opinions), saying, in essence, that the song felt monotonous, I knew he was right. What to do? Revise, revise, revise.

And revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise.

Not the whole damn song, mind you, just key parts, like, um, well THE CHORUS. Sigh, it’s been a rough road, and as I lamented to Tim about how I was constantly fiddling with the song, he intoned, “Manifest Shania.” I had no idea what he was talking about. He explained that Manifest Shania was a song he had worked to death ages ago. SIX MONTHS he spent on it, along with his band, which eventually broke up because of the stress caused by Manifest Shania.

All of which brings up an interesting question: how do you know when a piece of art is done? I mean, you can change, add and takeaway to your heart’s (dis)content essentially forever. For me, I honestly never really know 100% whether a song I’m working on is done, but mostly I think I find good stopping points. And unlike Manifest Shania, which was a gem to begin with and polished to a seriously high degree, my song Water Under the Bridge is still more coal than diamond-in-the-rough. And so as I continue to obsess over it, I think my motivation is sound: the basic idea for the song is one of my better ones and I really want to make it work and it's not working. Yet.

Oh, and as for Manifest Shania? It’s a KILLER track, really. Have a listen (player above), totally cool. I should be so fortunate with Water Under the Bridge…