Hey folks!…Sal here!!!….a little tired…no wait…DELIRIOUSLY tired but totally inspired and excited to present you all…and hopefully the entire nation, our new song titled “Lay It On The Line,” for submission to CBC’s SongQuest who are searching for the next great hockey song…
To be perfectly honest, I had been wanting to write a song for this for a good month or so…but with my crazy schedule, gloomy ottawa weather, and my body generally running on fumes…I almost didn’t do this at all…THEN, low and behold, late Wednesday afternoon, after a really shitty day, feeling frustrated and down…I decided to kick myself in the ass, grabbed my guitar, and started messing with this little idea I had had for this song….just a simple riff, maybe half a chorus with no lyrics- just melody…Anyways, playing my guitar was the perfect therapy, and for those of you who have ever been to or seen my studio, you’ll know that it feels like a little treehouse…truly a space that removes you from the everyday world and lets you feel like you are floating somewhere in space….anywhere but in the land of reality!!!….so I fired up my computer, turned on the speakers, opened a template, turned on my mic, and listened to the sweet sounds of my 12 string Takamine acoustic pump through my Rockit6 speakers….within minutes, I realized that the only thing that was going to get me out of my funk was to bear down, get comfortable, and prepare myself for what would be 4 days of no sleep, a shit load of writing and tracking, and a song that not only lifted my spirits, but will hopefully lift yours as well. Who knows why inspiration strikes when it does, but as fate would have it, all the pieces of the puzzle that I needed to get this song completed were in the right place…Once I began to piece the song together, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get everything written, let alone recorded. Once I figured out my song structure, and tempo, I didn’t waste any time tracking…..acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass, vocals…..I felt like a mad scientist mixing chemical formulas and then editing/reworking things until I felt that they were right…4 PM turned into 4 AM in the blink of an eye, and my studio began smelling like a guy who hasn’t left in 4 days…all in the name of inspiration….or maybe revelation!!! …by Thursday I had been editing my takes, changing lyrics, eating left over Hallowe’en candy at a feverish pace, and dreaming about CBC cutting montages of the Greatest Game in the World-HOCKEY-to my song…I always know when I am onto something great musically when the visuals start flooding my brain…it’s what drives me to keep going.
It also doesn’t hurt that before I ever chose to chase a musical dream, I had aspirations to play professional hockey…and all in all, had a pretty decent run…played competitive hockey in Nepean for the ‘AA’ Raiders coming up, and as I was turning 16, was offered tryouts by a few teams in the CJHL. As a small but heady 16 year old in the Smiths Falls Bears Jr A camp, I held my own, making the team but then getting sent back down to midget so that I could get more playing time. I returned from that camp, tried out for the Nepean ‘AA’ midget team, but then had my rights bought by South Ottawa that year, which was awesome as we hosted the Air Canada Cup. Even cooler was the fact that Detroit Red Wings alumni Tim Higgins was my coach, and Chicago Blackhawks alum Ted Boland was the assistant. I had an awesome time, and at the end of that year, I got drafted in the 4th round by the Smiths Falls Bears , where I went on to play 3 years, almost breaking the goal scoring record for defensemen in my second year, entertaining scholarship offers from a number of Tier 1 and tier 2 schools, until I landed at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, where I played for a few years with some incredible hockey players, before choosing to pursue music. A few offers to play pro in Europe tempted a trip to Italy but at that point in time, my love for music was greater than anything else, and I chose to follow my heart, converting that innate hockey drive I developed as a young Canadian kid playing street hockey and wanting to be the next Wayne Gretzky or Bobby Orr, into a quest to chase a musical dream and to create positive change in the world with my music….funny how things come full circle I guess….So here I am, a little older, a little wiser, a few hockey beer leagues later, yet still filled with passion as I am now vying to win the prize for the next big hockey song….the sport I love and that has ruled my heart and spirit for most of my life….If I have to be honest, although it would be nice to win and to be recognized by the CBC, I truly feel that this song was meant more for me at this point in my life than anything else….the struggle, the battle, the need to overcome the down times when the world tries to beat you down…the perseverance in the face of adversity and believing that one can change the world and create their own destiny if they truly believe in their heart that they can do it.
Friday hits and I realize I’m going to have to track drums….WTF!!!…Drums?!?…in a rock song?!?!?….lol….and so it begins…my usual foray into convincing my bros in the band to “free up some time” and to “do something great” that will change the world…”Is the song ready? Do you have a mix? Are we tracking instruments after? When is the song due?”…are just a few of the questions that my drummer Matt Babineau asked me, to which I replied “no the song is not ready yet, I might have a rough mix ready before you come to the studio…maybe not, no we are not tracking instruments after, I’m doing them first, and the song is due in a few days”…lol….and then I realize that I need gang/group vocals…and so Friday night, I message a bunch of my friends, last minute of course, to see if they could come to the recording studio for midnight on Saturday…the next day…luring them using my typical Canadian charm…..FREE BEER!!!!….Luckily for me, I have a network of amazing friends who not only rose to the occasion, but did so on practically NO NOTICE, and never once complained. My girl Angie, Kim of The Red Rails, his wife Josee of Torn Beloved (two great Ottawa bands), Karen, Samantha, Matt, Mike, and more importantly, my friends Christine & Steve, who, despite losing a close friend earlier that day, still arrived in good spirits and sang their hearts out….what can I say…it is moments like these where I truly feel lucky and blessed to have such amazing people in my life…it’s the power of community that pulls together and lets one know that many hearts can truly beat as one…So Saturday and night comes and goes off without a hitch, and we have a total blast doing it…nevermind that I am so tired that I can’t even notice it anymore…the energy and vibe of everyone singing the words to the song erases any notion of fatigue, and it is during these moments that I realize that the song is not just a hockey song…it is a PEOPLE song…a song we can all sing with pride, a song we can all sing to help lift our spirits….
It is now 9:18 PM on Sunday night, and as I am sitting on a weathered but comfortable recliner in my studio, struggling with the stale smell of coffee, crumpled subway and candy wrappers, watching my girlfriend sleep on my studio couch while my brother and guitarist in my band, Mike Goyette, works on the mix…this has not stopped since Wednesday, yet fatigue has left the building, and I realize that I am exactly where I want to be, doing exactly the thing that I want to be doing and love, surrounded with positive energy and the people that I love. !!!…we are so close, and the mix is really coming to life…by the end of tonight we’ll have our first mix done, catch a few hours of sleep (hopefully), and then tweak it again tomorrow before sending it off to my brother Corey MacFadyen in St. Catherines for mastering tomorrow or early Tuesday…once we have the final mix, I’ll be uploading the song to my cbc site at: http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/Sal-Piamonte , and we’ll be asking all of you to listen to it and vote the hell out of it from November 23rd until December 11th…so the way it works is this:
As mentioned, public voting goes from Nov 23rd until Dec 11th, and on Dec 14th, results are posted to reveal the Top 50 songs. Songs are rated on the following criteria: 1-Public voting results, 2-track plays, 3-adds to CBC music playlists, 4-likes on CBC music, and 5-judging criteria.
Then, out of the Top 50, the Judging Panel will select the top 10 songs based on all of the above criteria.
Finally, out of the Top 10, a public vote will determine the Winning Song.
Seems impossible with so much talent in Canada…but as I sit here, knowing that sleep will continue to elude me for another solid day…knowing that this studio is not going to be smelling any better anytime soon…and knowing that hundreds of hours of putting this thing together might not guarantee anything at all…I realize one more thing..that it did in fact guarantee one thing…it guarantees that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE…even this!
Hope you’ll help us spread the love for this song by letting the good folks at the CBC that you want this to be the next great HOCKEY SONG!!!
Have a great night everyone…and remember…..”KEEP YER’ STICK ON THE ICE!!!”
Much love and positivity to all!!!