Lisa Smolen

the music of...


Less Than Three release fast approaching!

Posted by Lisa Smolen on November 29, 2010 at 5:05 PM

It's been a difficult 2 years in the making, but CD #4, Less Than Three, is finally finished.

In November of 2008, I was hard at work finishing Time Lapse. Just a few months away from a self-imposed deadline of a March 2009 release, I found myself deep in emotional turmoil. My marriage fading, depression gripping me, in the wee hours of a winter morning I woke with the line "These blank walls could tell you all you need to know about me." I wrote it down on a scrap of paper, but couldn't get this line, along with it's simple melody, out of my head. The next morning I wrote the remainder of the lyrics in a stream-of-consciousness, resulting in the rare occurrence where I did no more editing to the text. The next day, I laid down scratch vocals & a basic acoustic guitar line, but singing the song left me drained and quite frankly afraid of facing the dark emotions that were bubbling just under the surface.

There was nothing for it but to finish Time Lapse, so "Blank Walls" nestled into a little cranny on my hard drive & waited patiently for me to return to her after Time Lapse's release that spring. When I finally brought out the song in April 2009, I could barely sing the backing vocals, but managed to power my way through it. Only a few extra instrumental tracks added, what you hear in this song is the beginning of my divorce - fearful and regretful, but hopeful under the surface. Saying goodbye to "that other me" was difficult & frightening, but I was on my way to healing & finding myself again.

Between April and August 2009, I wrote and recorded 10 tracks with the exception of "Unbreak Me" (which wasn't written until June 2010 and later recorded in November 2010). Putting aside the CD to deal with my divorce, moving in with my parents for 4 months, then eventually moving to LA in February 2010, a large part of me did not want to even face the songs. Several of the songs deal directly with the emotions of the divorce, but a few of them are love songs to my dearest friend and ally, while others are mere dreams of what could be out there waiting for me.  A few days after meeting Louis in August 2009, I wrote "Less Than Three", with lyrics that reek of uncertainty, hope & compassion. Those were the last vocal tracks I recorded (in August 2009) before putting the songs aside for almost another year.

Once settled in LA, I slowly felt the desire to bring the songs back out during the summer of 2010. Listening to the vocals that had been recorded in the middle of the divorce was difficult - the sadness in the background was ever present, but... perhaps that was the only thing that could make the songs work. To rerecord the vocal tracks now, when those emotions were so far behind me, might do the songs a disservice. The decision to leave all the original vocals, regardless of their accuracy, feels so right to me.

I recorded "Unbreak Me" in November 2010, the last song to be written, deserves to the be the last track on the CD. Louis has spent the last year unbreaking me. He is the only one who sees all the broken pieces of me that I wish I didn't have to be and so that's how he unbreaks me...

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Reply Lorraine Gilmore
7:33 PM on November 29, 2010 
I listened to the sample songs from your upcoming CD and I can hear those emotions so you probably made the right decision to let them be. The songs are great. Keep doing what you love and eventually good things will happen to you and with your music! Wish you the best with this new release, Love Aunt Lorraine
Reply Lisa Smolen
8:28 PM on November 29, 2010 
Hi! Thanks. It was hard to listen back on the songs & hear my voice like that, but in the end I think it was the right decision. I only went back to record the verses on Stone, and of course Unbreak Me was just finished in November, so no helping that!!