In the spring of 1990 my wife and I were childless and living in Richmond, Virginia. I was a little over halfway through writing my dissertation. I craved a diversion. The warming weather brought just the escape I needed: XL-102, the local FM rock station, sponsored a contest called “A Song For Richmond.” The idea was that listeners would write and record songs featuring Richmond, and then enter those songs in this contest. The prizes were modest but attractive. There was an initial airing of your song if the DJs, Jeff and Jeff, thought it was good enough to play on the radio, a second airing with an on-air interview if you made the finals, and a third airing if you were one of the twenty-four winners who made it onto the official “Songs for Richmond” tape (all proceeds to support Oasis House).
After years of fooling around with my home studio, I decided to put down the diss for a bit, write and record a song, and try my luck in the contest. So I retreated to a back bedroom (it would be the baby’s room less than six months later), set up the equipment, and began to put the tracks together.
This is the result. It’s the first airing, edited to cut out some of the patter, and it includes all the lovely smooshing and pumping that the radio station’s compressor contributed to the sound. The extra compression hides a multitude of sins in the recording and (cough) performance, though I’m sure the ones that remain will be clearly audible (and, I hope, forgiveable).
I did okay in the contest. There were 350 entries and I came in 18th, so I’m on the final tape. Along the way they played my song three times on the radio. (Maybe that used up all my fifteen minutes.) This was the last time I really did anything with that recording rig, the last time I wrote a song–now, a song from the attic.