Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio, we’ve been listening to Roger Ambroos’ latest single, I Still Can Remember.
Roger Ambroos, from Belgium, has been a working musician since 1987, trying to write and record songs in between household chores. The whole songwriting, recording, and production is done alone in his improvised home studio. I Still Can Remember is a song about an unexpected relationship breakdown.
The song fades in slowly with a cavernous kick drum and tambourine. A picked guitar joins the mix and immediately displays Roger’s technical ability. The guitar is warm, expertly played and reminiscent of a John Prine or Simon and Garfunkel song.
Lyrically, this is an emotional song. The line “happiness is not meant for me” conjures up a picture and is a great example of an authentic Americana/Folk/ Country lyric.
Roger’s voice has some superb vibrato in it and he holds his long notes with interest and ease. There’s just a touch of twang in the vocal to appeal to country music fans, and the whole song has a mournful but positive simple feel.
I Still Can Remember would sit well on a playlist alongside John Prine or the Notting Hillbillies and we feel that Roger would do well to be sending this track out to internet folk radio stations. We also feel that this is a track which would be well suited to being played in the background of a TV drama during an emotional scene. We would urge Roger to seek out licensing opportunities.
Ideas from our ears
A couple of EQ cuts around 220Hz and 520Hz in the vocal track would reduce some occasional ‘muddy’ and ‘honky’ tones. A small low shelf boost in the bottom 3 octaves would increase the warmth in the track too. Finally, since the track is fairly quiet and the guitar is not as high in the mix as the vocals are, a compressor set for up to around 6-8dB of gain reduction followed by the same amount of make-up gain would reduce the peaks in the vocal as well as adding extra warmth and raising the overall volume in the track to match similar releases. As far as the arrangement of this track is concerned, we feel that this song would benefit from the addition of some harmonies in the choruses and perhaps an extra instrument or additional percussion in the second verse to keep the listener engaged. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.
I Still Can Remember is a gentle acoustic guitar-led track with some high-quality playing and a warm and inviting slightly country-tinged vocal. Definitely a song for fans of John Prine, Notting Hillbillies, and gentle Americana.