You are invited to arrange and produce a new Jonathan Rundman recording!

UPDATE, AUGUST 9, 2010: Mark LaForest of the band Flincho has submitted his version of this song! Download it on my Audio Page.

UPDATE: SUMMER 2010: the .wav files have been removed...if you still want to take a stab at a remix, email to request the .wavs

UPDATE, FEBRUARY 29, 2010: Richard Bruxvoort-Colligan has submitted his version of this song!


Many of you loyal readers and music fans are also musicians and recording hobbyists yourselves. Knowing that, here is a fun little experiment I have always wanted to try:

YOU are invited to be the arranger and producer for a previously unreleased Jonathan Rundman recording!

Here's the idea:

1. you download the vocal track and drum track (in .wav format) for an unreleased version of my song "The Sound Of The Cicadas"

2. you import those .wav files into your recording software (ProTools, GarageBand, or whatever)...feel free to change the file format to .aiff or .mp3 or whatever you normally use

3. You finish the song...add more instrumental tracks, edit the song, chop it up, cut and paste, whatever; and then bounce a final mix of your version of the song

4. Email me an MP3 of your mix of my song. Who knows, I might even blog about it, post it online for the world to hear, link back to your webpage, etc.

That's the plan. I've already heard some folks express interest in this process...we'll see how many potential producers are waiting out there in cyberspace.

Once you've downloaded these files, import them into your recording software and slide the regions to the far left (zero) of your mix window. They should sync perfectly together.

Here are some details on what you've got to work with:


This song "The Sound of the Cicadas" was written in the Fall of 1997, and arranged by me and my cousin Bruce Rundman. We'd play it frequently in concert, but we had no recorded version of it. In the Fall of 2000 Bruce was visiting me at my place in Chicago and we tried a recording of it...we dialed up this drum track on a little '80s-era Yamaha keyboard and recorded it on my digital minidisc 4-track recorder. Then we recorded acoustic guitar and banjo tracks, and finally sang the vocals together on one mic, and in one take! These are the vocal tracks and drum tracks you are downloading now.

Later on I attempted to finish the recording, but I realized that our guitar and banjo tracks were unworthy...too sloppy, out-of-tune, etc. So I was left with a drum machine track, and our double-vocals. These tracks sat unused and unheard for a decade. This past year I was transferring my minidiscs to ProTools and I discovered these two salvageable tracks, and thought the best way to utilize them would be for me to turn them over to the public to complete.

By the way, Bruce and I eventually did record the definitive version of "The Sound of the Cicadas" in the fall of 2005, and that version appears on my album The Best of Jonathan Rundman: 20 Songs from the 20th Century. You can download the song individually at the iTunes Store by CLICKING HERE.

SO, if you'd like to take a crack at arranging and producing this previously-unreleased version of "The Sound of the Cicadas," then be my guest!

Here are some helpful hints as you work on it:

+ the version that you're downloading right now is in the key of E minor and the chords under the vocals are like this:

Em | Em | B7 | Em
Em | Em | B7 | Em
Am | Am | Em | Em
Am | Am | Em | Em

If you want a reference to how the song sounds with guitars and stuff, then listen to the version that I mentioned above that you can download on iTunes, BUT be aware that the version on iTunes is in Gm and NOT Em.

+ Of course, if you want to abandon the song's original arrangement and chords, that's fine. Feel free to write a whole new chord structure beneath that melody line.

+ Also, feel free to abandon the cheesy keyboard drum program if you want. I included it here for downloading to make the structure of the song easier to work with, BUT feel free to play live drums, create some kind of electronica loop, or do whatever you want with the drum track. I'm thinking the only necessary part of this project would be the Jonathan/Bruce vocal track.

+ DRUM HELP: Estimated BPM is 126, for those of you using drum loops.

+ And again, feel free to throw out the structure of the song as well. Chop it up, edit it, move verses and choruses around, etc. Go crazy. Just make it sound cool and interesting.

+ Go wild with effects and plugins. Whatever EQs, reverbs, compression, delays, pitchshift, or sound effects you'd like, you're welcome to use.

+ And of course, there are no requirements for instruments. The initial version of "The Sound of the Cicadas" was a Gillian Welch -like minor bluegrass tune, but feel free to play keyboards or add a horn section or sing 18 more vocal parts. Whatever, dude.

+ Lyrics are below. Song credits are as follows:
"The Sound of the Cicadas"
words and music by Jonathan Rundman
c & p 2001 Salt Lady Music (ASCAP)

Have fun with it, and feel free to email me at rundman at gmail dot com if you have any questions.


seven years of peace and quiet
now we can’t go back
that shadow fell across our state
and now we can’t relax
the noise has kept us up at night
it’s all we talk about
i bet we’ll all remember
the month we had to shout
over the sound of the cicadas

when we got the sad news
it was just like being there
when moses called them locusts down
to rule egyptian air
we got ourselves a rented car
and quietly set out
across a hundred farm fields
without a word to shout
over the sound of the cicadas

at this small town funeral
we watch the big sun setting
but yet we mark our calendars
for a wheaton wedding
yes, life is loud and life is mean
and life is full of doubt
but yet we know a day will come
when we won’t have to shout
over the sound of the cicadas


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