First- either way, nice composition and playing! For me, it may depend on the setting for listening/hearing. For a scene in a movie (with the strings) I would go for second version. For having on to listen while working (as I am doing now!) I would put on the first one. I am NOT a music producer but, I would be interested to hear the first version, with just a little bit of flavor/texture added: Possibly a Cajon or soft percussion like that, of some type. Even more than one. One of those shaker "eggs", conga, etc. With that guitar it reminds me of something Wes Montgomery (Jazz Guitarist) might play. SADE, she has some songs like this, deceptively simple and sparse but, when you look into it, there can be several types of percussion going, each very sparse on a certain accent but creates and texture and fills-in differently than strings. That might help the harp not be quite as "out front" but, give something woven around the harp. Now I am going to go check off the "cross-walks" in the reCAPTCHA
Initially I was certain that I would prefer the sparse minimalist jazz version in the first recording, since I usually prefer sparse arrangements. After listening and going back and forth between them I found I preferred the second arrangement. Though I don't usually care for strings (synth?) as background in jazz/blues I thought that they were subtle enough to not distract in this arrangement.
I liked the percussion in the second arrangement. I agree that some subdued percussion would have helped the first version.
In the first arrangement the guitar pervasively offered the jazz/blues tonality with rolled of highs and reverb that seems to be preferred by players in that genre. To my ears that prevalent tonality on guitar seemed to muddy the piece and detract from overall clarity of the arrangement.
[Edit: 07/15/2020 4:15 PM - Maybe it is the delay time on the lead guitar in the first cut combined with that tonality that throws me off, not just the tone.]
I was surprised that I ended up liking the second more produced version. I think it offered more balanced frequencies and clarity throughout.
Perhaps it was the production approach in the second version vs. the first?
The harmonica and other instrument playing on both versions was good.
Good writing, good performances! ----------
Last Edited by dougharps on Jul 15, 2020 2:16 PM