Dear Jolene…

Find a cover of a song and combine it with the original version of the song to create a new/remixed version of the song. After you’ve finished remixing your version, listen to it and see what kind of emotion it now makes you feel.

In the early 1970’s, when Dolly Parton and her husband had been married just a few happy years, Dolly started touring. While she was away on tour a bank clerk named Jolene would flirt with her husband. Dolly’s best friend alerted her of the situation and Dolly came straight back home to Nashville.

After confronting her husband and hearing that the allegations were true, Dolly gave him more than just a piece of her mind. She went to the bank where Jolene worked, and tried to ask her politely and quietly to back off. Jolene did not respond to Dolly’s pleas.

Dolly then asked to speak to a manager. Jolene had a history of trouble with her female clients, so she wasn’t happy to show Dolly to her boss. Well, they went to the manager and Dolly told him that Jolene had been refusing to do business with her, and would only see her husband, which was pretty much true. Well Jolene got an earful from her boss that day and never did cross that line again. Much to her dismay, the matter was not at rest. A couple years later the single Jolene came out, and everyone in town knew exactly who it was about.

I was drawn to this 4 star assignment  because I wanted to learn a little more about Garageband and try out some simple techniques like cutting and splicing songs that I hadn’t tried before. I also really love listening to music and different covers, so the title drew me in. The first cover I thought of was Miley Cyrus’s cover of Jolene by Dolly Parton. Cyrus had done a few covers of her favorite songs during The Backyard Sessions, and this is one I love. I had also watched the movie based on Dolly Parton’s life this past winter, and I was also remembering her amazing life story when choosing this song. Unfortunately, every version of her singing the original song was a faster tempo than the cover. I tried to slow down the original song, but Garageband doesn’t have the capability to change tempo of just one part of a recording.

So, I decided I had to choose a different cover. I chose the Pentatonix and Dolly Parton collaboration. Even though Dolly Parton is in both songs, the Pentatonix cover is very different from the original. It is a different pitch and tempo than the original and the lyrics only line up in the beginning of the song. Although the lyrics don’t overlap perfectly, I actually like the end result. The different pitches give an eeriness to the song in the beginning that I like because it makes the song sound more menacing, which is how I would sound if someone were trying to steal my man. I also like the gradual canon effect the song has as one version lags more and more behind. It sometimes seems like an echo which reminds me of the sorrow she must be feeling in this song. I also really like the very end of both songs, how they both fade into each other. I think this combined version shows the true hurt behind this song, instead of the more upbeat original version.

The first step is to open Garageband and select the voice option.

Then, either press the media button in the top right hand corner and select the songs to overlap, or click and drag them from the desktop into Garageband.

Once the two songs are in Garageband, line up the start of the songs so that the lyrics start at the same time. Just click and drag each orange audio box to move it. Use the vertical white line to decide where to start playing the audio from. This step will just be trial and error until both songs line up. 

Once the songs are lined up, the unneeded parts can be cut out. To do this, select the box to cut. Then, go to edit > split regions at playhead. This will break the audio box where the vertical white line is. Then, just click the unneeded boxes and hit delete on the keyboard.

Then click and drag both boxes back to the beginning of the recording. Go to file > save as and give the new recording a name. To change the file from a .band to .mp3 file click share > export song to disk and select the mp3 option on the pop-up screen and then click export to save as an mp3.

2 Replies to “Dear Jolene…”

  1. I LOVE Jolene! When Miley released her cover I was addicted to it, same with Lilac Wine. You mention an echo effect that Miley’s voice has – I notice it the most at about 1 minute in when her vocals come in right after Dolly’s. It’s just perfect, and it really does seem sorrowful – the echo is like “I’m begging you.. (i’m begging you..)” dang! The way they blend together at the end really did turn out great!

    I’m REALLY jealous that you have access to garageband. I’ve never used it before (PC person here) but your instructions are very clear. I like how you bold the most important steps – very eye catching!!

    What I think would be a neat project with the two songs (especially Dolly’s original) is having the songs bleed into each other, like having only Dolly for a while and then (using the magic of music, I’m not a musician lol) finding the perfect spot to stitch in Miley’s cover to make it sound like Dolly’s is morphing into Miley’s and then do it back and forth. It’s probably a lot more ambitious than I think it is >o<

    1. I bold all the key words in my tutorials, I think it shows the reader exactly which buttons to click. This being my first real editing attempt in Garageband, I don’t think I could have been as ambitious as your suggestion, but it does sound nice! I think after this week of trial and error I might be able to do a rather crude version of your suggestion, and I might try that out in the future!

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