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Can't Complain (w/ Komrade K)

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Many thanks to Komrade K (Martyn Kember-Smith) for lending his fiddle to a remake of this tune. It filled out the spaces I thought were lacking, adding a gracious nostalgia to the last half of the recording. Thank you Martyn!

This song was originally written for my wedding anniversary with Suzanne. She wrote the first draft lyrics as a poem, my son Anton helped with the chord structure (his strumming guitar didn't make it to the final mix), and the original track was recorded mainly in GB.

I am planning a release of my favorite collaborative songs on The Lost Records, under the title "A Bit Of Light." Several of the tracks are remakes, like this one, with MJers adding their talents, and several more will be new ones (not quite ready). My thanks to Alimar for his help in putting the album together. (More on that when the time comes.)

Martyn and I plan on a bunch more collaborations, mainly in the Celtic music realm. I love working with him. It is one of the wondrous things about Macjams, people like Martyn and Alimar. But mainly, for this track, I need to acknowledge Suzanne, and thank her for her love and belief.

The original version: Can't Complain (v1)

Another collaboration with Komrade K :
Caught In The Current (Celtic jazz)
Hold ON (Dave Matthews-like alt rock)
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CAN'T COMPLAIN (based on Suzanne's words)

I can't complain for all the pain that might have been.
I can't complain, each moment had it's place.
Friendships and bonds unbroken over time,
as shallow as they are...

When I was young I couldn't lose.
I didn't care. My life was full.
So unaware of what was missing,
until I found you there.

Can't compare. Can't complain.
Had to be... all my life's led to you, now I see.
Needed time (needed everything) to make sure,
(so that I'd be sure),
to mature into this person you met,
to be ready, ready for you.
Beyond regret.

Mistakes I made, I use every one of them,
and made my way into your arms.

Can't compare. Can't complain.
Needed time (needed everything) to make sure
(so that I'd be sure)
...to be ready, ready for you.
And here I am, right in front of you,
as if I'd always been waiting.
Here I am, right in front of you.

I can't imagine living one moment over again.
Can't complain.

Why would I leave this perfect place where I am?
Memories are fickle. They are less than I'd once hoped.
But with you I know that I can,
that at last I can transcend...
Song Stats
Hits: 6243
Comments: 28
Fans: 16
Plays: 335
Downloads: 194
Votes: 12
Uploaded: Apr 09, 2007 - 08:34:42 AM
Last Updated: Apr 13, 2010 - 08:19:35 AM Last Played: Aug 04, 2019 - 05:18:01 AM
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Roland A-90; Yamaha grand; EV 757; Proteus II cellos and violins; wedding poem written on yellow legal pad
GB, Live, DP; Peak for mastering
Parichayaka said 4572 days ago (April 9th, 2007)
I love music that sounds genuine and is able to convey an uplifting idea or feeling without sounding contrived. Your songs always have that rare quality. Komrade's fiddle is fantastic as usual and seems to work with just about any genre and combination of instruments. And what a great photo - your son's guitar may not have made it into the final mix, but he clearly beat your in hair length:)
Check out my latest song called solivagant
TobinMueller said 4571 days ago (April 10th, 2007)
Hair length
Thanks for your heartwarming comments. Yes, Anton's hair was longer at my wedding, but mine has grown since and his has been cut more recently, so I am now ahead in the length competition again, but he is, again, catching up fast...
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Brian Weiland said 4572 days ago (April 9th, 2007)
What a great sentiment! I spent a lot of time writing and listening to some pretty sad and dark music for years, but more and more I have come to love and appreciate music's power to be a vehicle for love and joy. Thank you for sharing this with us. When the violins kicked in, it really took off for me. I liked that a lot. The nylon string guitar part behind the vocals is very tasteful and pretty as well.

The only clue that the drums are synth is the crash cymbals occassionally jumping out at me, and all of the percussion having the same volume levels (IE hihat just as loud as floor tom, etc.) but whoever played them did a great job- totally thinks like a drummer. It would have been easy to just play this to "70's light rock beat #12," but this way is much much better.

My favorite part, though? The ending! That percussion groove in six with sexy guitar and swirling violin and all those cool sounds! It's beautiful, nostalgic, groovin', wistful, loving, middle-eastern, and even almost Celtic, all at the same time! What a musical mind you have!

Excellent music for a Monday morning.

~Brian Weiland

Check out my latest song called The Gentle Maiden/Planxty Fanny Powers
TobinMueller said 4571 days ago (April 10th, 2007)
music's power to be a vehicle for love and joy
Thanks for the enthusiastic comments. I know what you mean about dark music. I am often reminded of Shawn Colvin's line "I got a song out of it," referring to a sad affair that ended only with her having something to write about. We often write when we are sad, writing of loss and pain; but when we're happy, we physically celebrate, bask in our life joy, and don't waste time writing it down. Since Suzanne is my main audience (when I'm not writing specifically for another project), I often write what makes her happy, and this has changed the content of my lyrics and music. Love is a wonderful muse. As I grow older, sadness and and anger disappointment is much less compelling.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
dreadmon said 4572 days ago (April 9th, 2007)
Richly textured
What a nice blend of colors! This is a sweet, sweet offering, Tobin - a feast for the mind, ears and heart.
Check out my latest song called Don't You
Brian Weiland said 4572 days ago (April 9th, 2007)
One more thing...
OK, I'm listening again, and I've got a class coming in soon so I promise I won't write a lot, but I just have to say that I just noticed the polyrhythm thing in the ending section. When the nylon guitar section is over and the violin solo begins, there's this great thing going on where the percussion is in six, the piano is squarely in four, and the violin dances on top. Man! That is just so beautiful!!! You are a genius! I'll stop, now.

~Brian Weiland
Check out my latest song called The Gentle Maiden/Planxty Fanny Powers
TobinMueller said 4571 days ago (April 10th, 2007)
Thanks for the multiple listens and extra comments. Its great to hear when someone re-listens. I know we all listen to our own songs 100s of times and all the little details mean so much, become so personal. My favorite part is the ending too. It grew from the percussion. I had a devil of a time recording the piano arpeggio, even tho it sounds simple, but I did it on a real piano before buying the Ivory pluggin. I had originally wanted a soprano sax to play during the coda (I had been recording another project with a great sax player at the time I wrote this, and the melody line reflects his influences in its lyrical feel), but the more I listen, the more I wanted a folk fiddle, which also works with where the song sits on the A Bit Of Light album. The ending is my favorite part since I have never liked my voice and the pretty multi-rhythmic ending is a truer statement of what Suzanne makes me feel like, which can't really be put into words.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Suzanne said 4572 days ago (April 9th, 2007)
..and thank you for each day... (the fiddle is a perfect fit! i'm so glad you kept adding things.) but i can't believe you used that photo. my bad eye isn't even opened! ...what a beautiful day it was, the best ever...
Check out my latest song called Rock The Baby With Voodoo (w/Tobin)
TobinMueller said 4571 days ago (April 10th, 2007)
Thank you
I still smile whenever I sing "Friendships and bonds unbroken over time,
as shallow as they are..." It is such a real lyric that just slides in there, unnoticed yet biting and so honest. Thank you for such wonderful material, on many levels, to shape into a less-than-adequate approximation of the beauty you bring into my life.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Jim Bouchard said 4572 days ago (April 9th, 2007)
Martyn's fiddle really does add a bit of flavor to this wonderful composition. It's so clean and tailored perfectly to fit in here. He's supa-dupa! This piece was sort of reminding me of Sufjan Stephens for some reason, the careful orchestration and ultra-melodic sense. Nice!
Check out my latest song called Big Yawn (Apogee One mic demo)
TobinMueller said 4571 days ago (April 10th, 2007)
Martyn's fiddle
Martyn sent me a series of phrases that I cut and pasted, some phrases I elongated, held out notes, changed timing, and replayed certain licks; I'm sure I surprised him quite a bit by what I ended up choosing. Like a fiddle construction kit. I look forward to everything he sends me. I hope he likes what I did to this one!
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Scott Carmichael said 4571 days ago (April 9th, 2007)
sheesh Tobin
really what a work you've done here... the production is splendid, I'm using headphones and I want you to start mixing my stuff... I love the touches on the drums... instead of picking loops I think someone got in there and did the work... was that you? The peice builds masterfully, as you make choices and introduce elements along this journey... I"m really diggin' the swing under the nylon guitar... It kind of reminds me of "we belong together" ricki lee jones... a fav musical moment... the swing is only implied untill it is revealed... Ivory is on top of my list because of what I've heard from you... I'm listening a second time... I am patient, but I want to say, I can't wait for the colab... your heart comes thru in spades here... and I'm in awe of what you bring to the table...

Check out my latest song called He Has Passed this Way
TobinMueller said 4570 days ago (April 11th, 2007)
your heart comes thru in spades
Thanks, Scott. Yes, I did the drum work from the keyboard, using external modules (like the old days) instead of internal software kits; except for some of the latin percussion grooves in the ending, which were cut up layered loops with real hand articulations. Thanks for noticing the implied and then revealed "swing under the nylon guitar," that is one of the subtle aspects I'm most proud of. I love transitions, subtle variations - I have to listen to my songs so many times, I need to do that sort of stuff or I start to get tired of the piece before I'm finished. Sorry I've taken so long to get back to our collaboration, but I've created such a backlog of projects (a good thing) due to the months taking care of my father last year (a necessary thing) that I'm way behind. But it is one of the prizes at the end of the tunnel (our collab) and I don't want to jump the gun until I have enough time to do it justice. Thanks again for your generosity.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
jesushairdo said 4571 days ago (April 9th, 2007)
hey. simple but beatiful chord work! loved the strings here and there too. and i really really loved the lyrics! made me feel like i know Suzanne and you for looong time. lol
Check out my latest song called Dawning
Norman Goodman said 4571 days ago (April 9th, 2007)
Piano is very tasteful and I really enjoyed the chord structure. Violin playing is in my opinion an exceptional addition to this piece and takes this song to a new level. The melody is pleasant enough ( some of the notes are excellent ....ex.- last two measures of each verse ). The main problem I do have however is with the vocal performance. To my ears ( and you will note that I am alone in my assessment when reading the other comments thus far) the harmony vocal is not very tight with the lead vocal. There are some minor timing issues you may want to address as in quite a few sections some of your efforts come across as cluttered ( chorus is particularily awkward ) and can be a little trying to listen to. I found this detracted from what could otherwise be a very good piece of music. As for the percussion there are also a few timing issues (particularily after the first chorus during the drum fills in the acoustic interlude) I also noted a few out of place hits towards the end of the song, which can maybe be more of a mixing issue as some of the percussion hits may be a little too hot in comparison to the percussion level overall . It is nice to listen to a piece of yours that is tastefully played and has a solid melody, I would be very interested to hear your Celtic pieces as I am originally from Ireland and grew up on that style of music. It appears that Komrade really hears you and I am sure that future offerings from you both will be nothing short of excellent!
Check out my latest song called Love Devotion Surrender
Peter Greenstone said 4571 days ago (April 9th, 2007)
Epic love
Your songs are always so expressive of the great love you share with those around you in your life. Through the ups and downs, trials and gifts, a great appreciation for the life it brings.

Komrade's violin really is a perfect addition. What can I say? It all sounds great to me. Musically captivating and dynamic.
Check out my latest song called Iridium Flare (2013 Re-Release)
said 4571 days ago (April 9th, 2007)
From the opening chords...
...through to the final notes, this has the ability to reach in and grasp my very soul. The vocals work well within your range and style. I know at times you are uncomfortable with your own voice.

Delightful performance on your part, seasoning with the right "touch" of real violin... I'd give my left... well, you get the picture, to have "real" strings to include on my compositions (can I call them "compositions yet?). And, of course the time signature change to a fade.

Windham Hill lives.

said 4571 days ago (April 9th, 2007)
another beauty
When the drum kick and the picking guitar come in with the violin I know that there is still so much more to learn when it comes to music. thanks for sharing the greatness!!!!!!
guitapick said 4571 days ago (April 10th, 2007)
A wonderful tribute...
...to love. In real life...

"Memories are fickle..."

Couldn't be more on it.

Didn't hear the original. It's all great in this one, though...kudos, Tobin

( 1 with Brian on the polyrhythms at the end...beautiful touch)
Check out my latest song called 'Cuz I Can
thoddi said 4571 days ago (April 10th, 2007)
The vocals
They are very pleasant and relaxed. You make harmonies and vocal arrangements like the best.

The rich piano chords suits the melody and gives the song a sort of intelligent identity. This is reinforced by the arrangement that get more complex along the time line.

The perc/drums is very tasty. Especially what you do after "...Beyond regret". And also where the instrumental part starts. Is it all drum loops?
I could maybe have wished for the kick drum to follow the syncoped beat in the piano/bass at some places.

The fiddle is a wonderful addition to the song:)

The thoughtful words makes sense to me.
I think the sentence "all my life's led to you, now I see" is pointing at something we may not be so aware of... and is probably the truth for most people in a relationship... at least the good ones:)

To sum it all up with one word: Beautiful!
Check out my latest song called How can I make it up to you
Reinholt56 said 4570 days ago (April 11th, 2007)
An enjoyable song...
I enjoyed listening to this song. It had, for the vocals, a 'musical number' as in a Show-type vocal, to me. The music matched really well and the musical ending is my favourite too.

I haven't listened 'technically' to this piece as I class it as enjoyment, nothing else. I don't feel a need to analyse the piece.

I look forward to more of your collaborations.


Check out my latest song called The Ups and Downs of Life
said 4567 days ago (April 13th, 2007)
This made me all misty-eyed. I've had over 35 wonderful years with the woman (Diane) who changed my life so I really rsonate with the message of this fine tune. Nice arrangment. Lovely vocals. Sublime fiddle work. Bravo.

Be well!
jiguma said 4566 days ago (April 14th, 2007)
Gentle Giant
This is lovely Tobin and Martyn. There is a distinct feel of Gentle Giant in the measured pace and intricate rhythmic/melodic stuff going on. A real pro piece. Martyn's violin adds a perfect touch of emotion which would be impossible to convey lyrically.
I like this a lot.
Check out my latest song called Le Chemin De La Vie
Komrade K said 4565 days ago (April 15th, 2007)
Glad to have played a part
I really liked this song from the moment I heard it although adding to it was a challenge because to my mind at least it already had a well rounded and detailed arrangement. Listening again I wish I'd had a shot at redoing the sampled fiddle bits as they're not really as challenging (to a non-classical player such as me) as I first thought...

Having worked on a track with Mysti and hearing what you've achieved by layering the fiddle here has given me some ideas for arrangement which may well crop up in one or two of my own pieces sometime soon ;)


Check out my latest song called Urra Moor/The Leckie/Reel CJ/Willafjord
TobinMueller said 3917 days ago (January 23rd, 2009)
Thanks again for your excellent contribution to this and to the song "Hold On."
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
grid stalker said 4562 days ago (April 18th, 2007)
Can't complain either
Cheers to your lovely family and music!
Check out my latest song called Bad Land
mbehar said 4560 days ago (April 20th, 2007)
Nice piece but needs stronger bass
Enjoyed listening to this piece. Very nice lyric, heartfelt and meaningful.
And the violin is very lovely.Thesong structure, melody/chords all very interesting. Piano work all very clean and nice. The ending "jam" with the
percussion also very nice and playfully delightful.

The problem for me in this tune is that there really is not much of a bottom. I think a strong bassline would pull this all together. Perhaps acoustic bass just anchoring everything and driving the tune foward. Because at times it sounds a bit thin and empty

Check out my latest song called Naked Joy v.2.2
TobinMueller said 3917 days ago (January 23rd, 2009)
needs bass
I agree. I think the lightness works where the song sits within the large album (on A BIT OF LIGHT). But there really is no bass, except for my keyboard's left hand. Since it is already on the album, I doubt I will change it, but I agree it could well improve the piece. Thanks.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Artist Info
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Name: Tobin Mueller
Location: Rowayton CT USA
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I am a professional musician, composer, playwright and director. I've led a charmed life. I'm married to fellow MJer Suzanne and MJer Twonicus is my son, who currently sings and writes for rock bands in the NYC, D.C. and Cleveland areas. My second s... [see more]

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