Saturday, January 8, 2011

Song Insight: “Everything’s Gold”

Composer: Greg Hintermeister, ©1999
Arranged: Greg Hintermeister
Performed by: Greg Hintermeister
Recorded: 2011 in Hint of Light Studios
Emotions: Pride, Regret, Despair, Loss

Other song insights

What’s your top priority in life?

This song is about a man whose top priority in life was his career. Somewhere far down the priority list were his friends, kids, wife,  and eventually Jesus. We meet him as he reaches the apex of his career. He’s at the top. Everything around him is gold…hotels, money, power, frequent flyer status, prestige, perks.

…but he ends up filled with regret, loss, and loneliness.

I’ve met some people where I work like this. Some of their casual comments about the hours away from home…their “dedication”…it makes me sad.

This will be my 19th year at my career, and I’ve tried to balance this line between a job I really enjoy and the family I love. I think I’m doing OK since my kids still miss me and complain when I travel. But it is hard. I know there are times I am so focused on work that while physically home, I’m very far away. I also don’t think I take the kids on little ‘outings’ enough. I really need to look more at how my role model balanced his career and kept his priorities straight.

Who is my role model?
Young suited Lyle My Dad.

While he was very successful and sure seemed at the top of the rung in his career, I never felt like he was absent growing up. In fact, what I remember is how much we did together…

I remember our play wrestling (when we were both a lot younger)

I remember playing catch (and a wicked curve ball I could never hit)

I remember the Bible-study parties they’d throw with their friends (and the bursts of laughter as I was trying to sleep)

I remember Saturday fishing trips to catch crappies (Lake Clearwater…so much fun)

I remember the countless hours at his dad’s lake home helping maintain it (and his wonderful decision to stop raking the seaweed off the beach…since it was usually delegated to one of us boys)

I remember the trips he would take with his wife (and, the way-out-of-control parties I threw while they were gone…but that’s another story for another time…)

He always seemed to have his priorities straight.
Recently my dad wrote me that he felt at a loss for words and embarrassed when co-workers talked about hobbies because my dad didn’t have any.

Now that I think through this, I’m not so sure.

I define a hobby as something one spends time doing solely because he loves doing it and is passionate about it; not expecting any monetary reward.

I think his hobby was his relationships. His kids, friends, wife, and Jesus…

…and at the top of the list has always been his relationship with Jesus. I’ve never seen someone pour over the Bible the way he does (then and now).

Thank you, Dad.

You showed by example how to love the challenges of a career, and how important it is to love what you do for a living. Yet you also showed by example that when you put your wife, kids, friends, and Jesus at the top of your priority list…

…that’s when everything truly is gold.


Technical Specifics:
Recording Unit: Cakewalk MIDI software, Soundscape DAW
Drums: Roland XV-5080
Percussion: Egg shaker, Tambourine
Acoustic Guitar: Ovation 1712 Custom Balladeer
Piano: RD-500
Electric Guitar: Paul Reed Smith Hollowbody II (rhythm)
Guitar Amp: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Electric Guitar Mics: close: Shure SM57;  3ft back: CAD E100
Acoustic Guitar Mics: CAD E100, Rode NT1
Bass: RD-500

Recording Specifics: 
Since it had been 12 years since I composed and performed this song, I wanted a bit more modern feel to this song. I asked my oldest son to drum along to the chorus while I played. I recorded his drumming then recreated it on the XV-5080 unit. I’m so glad I did that as he provided a great kick-snare beat that I would have never thought of.

I then added piano, keyboard bass, acoustic guitar, then distorted electric guitar. I did record distorted electric for all of verse 3 and the B section but reduced it to just the B section in order for the dynamics of the song to keep growing.

Part of the song sound airy and open and I fought my instincts to fill it with little guitar or piano fills…I love doing those…but I felt the song needed to breathe since the character is really desperate and lost. I am VERY happy with how this turned out sonically. I finally have a decent mastering process using Audacity where I use the Leveller, EQ, Normalize functions, and then export to iTunes.

Composing Specifics: 
This is the first song I wrote for a crossWinds church service. It was performed on January 17, 1999. The topic was “Intentional Living: People - priority #2”.


Lyrics ©1999 Greg Hintermeister 
Verse 1: 
Look at me Look what I’ve done 
I’m at the top of the ladder Top of the rung
Everywhere I go people say to me 
hey, Everything’s Gold

Verse 2: 
Look at me Look what I’ve done 
I’ve spent a lifetime dreaming no time living
But everywhere I go people say to me 
Everything’s Gold Everything’s Gold...

Verse 3: 
Look at me What have I done 
I’ve sacrificed my friends, my kids, the love of my life for the good of the selfish one
Still everywhere I go people say to me 
hey, Everything’s Gold

B Section: 
I’d trade it in a second for a trace of happiness 
I’d give my entire world 
for a glimpse of what I could have had 
instead of loving all I’m worth

Verse 4: 
Look at me Look what I’ve done 
I’m at the top of the ladder it’s so dark and alone
Still everywhere I go People say to me 
Everything’s Gold

Everywhere I go I see it’s all worthless... 
but Everything’s Gold 
Everything’s Gold 
Everything’s Gold
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