Ryan is obviously the dominant voice of REB Records. His musings over the past year have documented the birth of REB Records as well as the trials and tribulations of embarking on a musical pilgrimage with nothing more than two nickels and some elbow grease. I, on the other hand, though extremely opinionated (how many New Yorkers do you know that are not opinionated or want to throw in their two cents? And why are we always yelling those opinions? “WE ARE NOT YELLING! We are emoting.), find I best express my ideas in the short verses of our songs. Go figure.
However after writing many, many, many songs for other people to sing Ryan encouraged me to go ahead and try and sing the current batch of songs we were working on which at the time were not necessarily known as Theft To The Gallows songs. I have never had any desire to be a singer or thought that I had a good enough voice that someone might call it singing. In fact when I try and sing a well known song most people ask, “what song are you singing?”. Oh, I think it’s hard for them to hear because I am not using notes, and the pitch is hit or miss, and I am changing the melody slightly, but in my head it sounds like the song they know and love. So when Ryan said just open your mouth and let whatever comes out comes out I could not believe my ears. Someone actually wanted to hear what I sounded like in the way that I sounded, in the way that I heard, and was going to record it.
The song we were working on was “The Beaten Path” and I was nervous as hell. Something happens when you have a microphone in your face. There is no hiding. You cannot fake it. Either you are going to deliver the goods or you are not. Sing the song. Be the song. Sell the song. It has to feel authentic. Could my sing song New Yorker style yelling be authentic enough to convince people that it is good enough and enjoyable enough to listen to? “Suck in the gut. Tighten the belt. Steady the nerves and harden the helm. Dead reckoning full speed ahead. Hanging over hell by a spider web.” That’s what I yelled into the microphone and that’s exactly how I felt; hanging over hell by a spider web.
Something profound happened to me during that recording session. Something as simple as recording my voice on a song that no one was going to hear that would most likely never see the light of day would have me not only come face to face with my two personas but they would become one. Sully this is B.B. Mayes. B.B. this is Sully.
To Be Continued….