SONG BY SONG: Gregory Macdonald on Sloan's album The Double Cross

1. “Follow the Leader” This song is centered around a riff in G minor and a killer bass line from Chris. I double the bass line with my left hand and vamp on some percussive stabs with my right hand
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1. “Follow the Leader” - This song is centered around a riff in G minor and a killer bass line from Chris. I double the bass line with my left hand and vamp on some percussive stabs with my right hand on the organ. I used my vintage Korg BX3 through my Leslie 145 with a ton of reverb. I also arranged and sang a nice stack of background harmonies in the middle 8. Then there’s a whole other ending bit where the song changes key to C major and slow 6/8 time, and I play a nice ’50s-style quarter-note chord progression on the old upright piano. Another weird thing about this song is it features me on drums! I play the bulk of the song and Andrew plays in the middle 8.

2. “The Answer Was You” - This song seamlessly comes out of the end of “Follow the Leader,” and it has a ton of keyboards on it. Jay played some Mellotron flutes and strings all over the place, and I played our old Rhodes 73 and upright piano in the choruses. Then the middle 8 has a little guitar line that I double on the Stylophone. There’s also a really neat piano sound in the breakdown; I think we miked it with a Yamaha NS-10M sitting right on the piano. The outro features some of the piano and Rhodes parts looped together in a fadeout, which becomes the intro of the next song.

3. “Unkind” - This song starts before “The Answer Was You” ends, with a wall of fuzzed-out EBow guitars droning in a chord progression. It’s a straight-ahead rocker, and I play a simple piano line pedaling along in D major for the chorus. I came up with a nice little descending outro line on the piano inspired by a Garth Hudson line I heard on a Neko Case song, and I love how it worked.

4. “The Shadow of Love” - This song is another rocker, there are virtually no keyboards on it, except my famous Stylophone returns for a very simple line in the verses. I love the vibrato! I think this song came out like Fleetwood Mac doing an early Bowie cover. It rules.

5. “She’s Slowing Down Again” - Andrew’s first song on the record is an awesome piano-driven groove in F. He played everything on it; there’s some more Rhodes, essentially doubling the piano part the whole time. I sang some backups in the choruses, but that’s it. Andrew is so quick he’ll often just knock out his songs alone. I did offer a descending minor melody in the bridges with the Mellotron flutes, but it ended up being a guitar part instead.

6. “Green Gardens, Cold Montreal” - Jay’s second song started out with a full-band arrangement, but he ended up breaking it down to a bare acoustic guitar and vocal, which really made it a special moment on the record. We love the result. There is a simple melody I play on the Rhodes at one point; we ran it through our engineer Ryan’s great old Silvertone Twin Twelve amp with some nice slapback echo on it.

7. “It’s Plain to See” - Another rocker from Patrick in the vein of Iggy’s “Lust for Life” or The Smiths’ “This Charming Man.” It features a super-cool little organ solo in the middle 8 played by Patrick.

8. “Your Daddy Will Do” - This song by far has the most keyboards. The intro has a melody line played on the piano doubled with a Mellotron flute under it, as well as a G major 7 chord on the Rhodes drowned in analog delay that is feeding back and increasing in intensity until the band kicks in. The choruses have a simple Rhodes riff pedaling along and a sharp Mellotron disco-string melody between vocal lines. There are lots of Rhodes and strings all over the place. I go end-to-end in a huge C major chord on the Rhodes going into the middle 8. Then the middle 8 sees the return of the intro flute/piano melody with the feeding-back Rhodes underneath until a huge piano, flute, and string chord progression crashes in and is gone again before you know what happened! This song is going to be the most challenging for me to pull off live I think. I also arranged and sang a ton of harmonies for this song.

9. “I’ve Gotta Know” - Patrick’s shortest song on the record is a wall of fuzz guitars! No keyboards at all. 1 minute 22 seconds of pure rock.

10. “Beverly Terrace” - This song started out quite different than it ended up. Jay credits my piano riff as the reason for the change in direction. We were just messing around one day at the space and he asked me to come up with something on the spot for a song he was working on, and it came out pretty quickly. We recorded it on my iPhone so as not to forget it, and it ended up being a main component of the song. I’m thrilled with how this song turned out. Jay played some nice flute parts in the pre-chorus, I’ve got some more nice backup vocals in there, and then there’s a great little solo that sounds like a keyboard, but it’s actually a guitar, I think! Then this song ends with a reprise of the chorus of “The Shadow of Love.”

11. “Traces” - Andrew’s second song. I say it’s like the Velvet Underground doing a Bo Diddley song, and again he plays all the keyboards on it. Lots of organ and piano. It ends with a loop of the strings and flutes in the middle 8 from “Your Daddy Will Do.”

12. “Laying So Low” - The last song on the record, and it might be my favorite. It’s a nice slow number with a simple chord progression, and I play my organ and piano throughout. Again I’m trying to channel Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel on this one; I think I did okay.

Overall, I used my vintage Korg BX3 through my Leslie 145, our old Mozart/Heintzman upright piano with varying mic techniques, my Clavia Nord Electro 3 for all the Mellotron parts, our vintage Rhodes 73, and the Stylophone.