In our ears today at the Send Me Your Ears studio, we’re listening to the warm and gentle Americana style track Oh Child by Brendan Lane.
Brendan is an Annapolis, Maryland (US) based singer-songwriter whose latest single, Oh Child, is out on May 10 2022. This is the tale of years of growing up in small town America and all of the constraints and expectations that area placed on kids as they grow up. It’s the story of two lovers who want to escape from their small town and discover what’s beyond those county lines.
In true Americana/singer-songwriter style, Oh Child is poignant in its lyrical themes. A very relatable song that manages to say a great deal and paints a perfect picture of small town frustrations.
The opening line, “there’s a house on river street where the sun shines through the trees
warms the face that i can’t wait to see” lets you know that Brendan Lane is a superb writer. This brief line paints the perfect picture of childhood sweethearts and the excitement of a first love.
Starting gently with beautifully recorded stereo guitars, the song has little instrumentation, but it really doesn’t need anything more. It presents the story it wishes to tell with just two guitars.
Lane’s lead vocals reminded us in places of Justin Currie (Del Amitri) and they’re backed up wonderfully by several layers of harmony vocals. At one point in the song, there is a section which is almost completely a capela with layers and layers of vocals, including some gorgeous bass vocals.
The writing style of Oh Child, and the way the song is presented reminded us very much of John Prine. There’s a story to be told here, and it just happens to have been put to music. This is just the kind of track that you can imagine being covered around the campfire all across North America.
As a gentle singer-songwriter track with nothing but guitar and vocals, this track is simply perfect for background music in a TV show. Music supervisors are actively seeking out exactly this style of music, and with the stinger ending, Oh Child is a superb contender. We could picture it being used, for example in Netflix’s Firefly Lane.
Our thoughts on production;
Because this is a guitar only track, it may be an idea to give the overall master a little boost around 125Hz. This will add some extra warmth to the guitars and fill in the gap that a bass would have taken. It may also be an idea, as there is no low instrumentation, to high pass anything below 50Hz or even perhaps 60Hz. This will take out any rumble caused during the recording process in the vocal tracks. Perhaps a dip in the vocals around 600Hz and a tiny dip around 6kHz to balance out some sibilance in the vocal tracks. A boost centred around 3kHz will add some extra definition in that area. Perhaps a little more compression and make up gain to add even more warmth to the track.
We absolutely love this gentle, story-telling, singer-songwriter track from Brendan Lane. It is a wonderful tale of small town American with some beautiful guitar playing and charming and endearing vocals. A winner for us!