Written by Christina Horn and Performed by Hudson K
Recorded by the Kelly Bros. at FLRS in 2010, Remixed and MFI 2016
For "I Gave It All" we recorded similarly to how we recorded several of the other songs on Hudson K's "Shine": we cut scratch vocals and fake piano at FLRS, overdubbed real drums onto that form/scaffolding, then Christina went home to record several passes of grand piano. Then we overdubbed strings, a lot of Jeff Christmas guitar, and then Jonathan and I added odds and ends (percussion, horns, more guitars and keyboards, etc) here and there.
We put a lot of overdubs on "Gave", and we had trouble getting a mix to work. Track after track of really cool ideas did not equal a sum greater than its parts. We ran many rough "in progress" mixes, and none of them really worked. So in the end, we went with a stripped-down version of the song---pretty much just Christina playing piano and singing, with a backward guitar solo played by Jonathan.
Recently we began playing with different variations on the arrangement of "Gave" and we hit upon a combination of parts that we think works really well. This new version uses only about half of the overdubs we originally attempted, but this particular combination of sounds sits and plays together nicely. Nate and Jeff's backing vocals are great, as are Nate's drums (two different passes of it, one Left and one Right), and the strings. I'm really enjoying everyone's parts in this mix.
This was one of those songs that, as you added new elements, the older elements just kept sounding worse. It happens from time to time. The arrangement was just getting more and more complicated, but not in a cool way. By the end of the project, we were tired, and we just couldn't find clarity with this song. We would have figured SOMEthing out, but as luck would have it, about two weeks before were were due to be finished with the recording, Christina wrote "Fade." It was a strong song, and we really wanted to include it on the album.
So a deal was struck: we'd strip "I Gave it All" down to its essence (which worked better than anything we could come up with at the time), and use all the extra time, energy, and sanity we'd save by not having to wade through that mix to record and mix "Fade." We knew we could do it. In the course of a recording project, if it's going well, you develop a shared language and understanding what everyone needs to do. By the end, we had a shorthand for putting it all together, and "Fade" went from zero to done in about two weeks.
We always felt there was a cool arrangement of "I Gave it All" in there somewhere, and the remix project happened to be a good time to revisit with some fresh ears and see what we could do. I think it came out really great.