SCHOOL BUS MUSIC

Welcome to School Bus Music, home of producer/songwriter/artist Richard A. Salinas... also known as Rick Sal.  This site will feature music from a variety of artists who have hopped on the services of School Bus Music.  So... Don't Miss The Bus!  Join the mailing list and keep up with the latest news...   

Join our mailing list for the latest news

New Single and Request for Your Photos 

My new single “School Bus Pals” (under my pseudonym Rick Sal) is a wacky instrumental track influenced by the sound of early video game music from the late 70s and early 80s. Variations of this song will be used as theme music for videos on my upcoming YouTube channel. Click on the "Music" menu above and download the single for free (for a limited time). It is also available for purchase or streaming online at Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, and more.  
ALSO… I am producing a music video to accompany this song and I need your help. I am looking for vintage photos, preferably from the 70s and 80s, of kids, teenagers or adults on or near a school bus (bus must be visible in the photo). So, if you have any old photos or videos of bus-related activities like band trips, football games, or just plain old loading and unloading from a bus, please contact me at my website here. Please don’t send photos until you contact me first for instructions. Thanks and Always Stop for School Buses!

Where is the Album? 

Just an update on my album release...  I am still on schedule to release my CD sometime in January 2019.  I've got 2 more songs to record plus mixing and mastering.  I also have to get into shape (like Rocky Balboa, only rounder) before I take my promotional photos.  Otherwise, photoshop will have to be put into action.  In the meantime, I will be releasing a single in the next week or so which is not on the album.  It's a wacky instrumental that will serve as the theme music for my YouTube channel and misc upcoming videos.  Please be sure to join my email list so you will be notified of upcoming releases and events.  Anyone on my email list will also receive monetary discounts and perhaps be registered in a drawing to win a stick of gum (flavor to be determined soon).  Thanks and Always Stop for School Buses.  Regards... RS 

Good Latimer Video Project 

Spent a snowless sunny hot day in DFW last week with Good Latimer shooting video for the song "Go Where It Snows."  After some creative fun, sunburn and dehydration, I made it back to Austin to start the editing process.  No snow here either… but ice cubes with homemade iced tea will suffice.

Good Latimer Album Cut - "Let It Go" 

The Good Latimer song “Let It Go” off the album Go Where It Snows is NOT the Disney song from Frozen.  In fact, the song was written by Aaron Salinas, Michael Klym and Michael Zaring way before Olaf ever uttered a word on the movie screen (listen here: LET IT GO).  It was one of the first two demos I heard from the band that got me interested in the project.  It is a clever unusual song written in reverse.  Typical songwriting starts with a verse (subdued), then branches occasionally into a rise or pre chorus (building excitement), and then hits the chorus for the payoff (generally the most powerful and memorable section).  This song begins with a full blown rockestra (aka rock orchestra), then moves to a punchy melodic uptempo verse, then abruptly slows down into a dreamy soft pre chorus, and then hits the chorus in a relaxing slow movement reflecting the title of “Let It Go.”  And if that’s not enough, there is another musical switch when the acoustic bridge comes in, which is actually an acoustic version of the rockestra intro.  Here is the amazing part… there are about 7 different tempo changes throughout the song!  The way I just described it… you would think the song is a mess and hard to listen too.  But it’s actually one of the most beautiful songs on the album, packed with musical hooks and vocal harmonies (every band member sings on this one).  My recommendation is to listen to the song on headphones, so you can hear every detail in the stereo mix. 

On a side note, the huge rockestra intro was not originally in the demo.  Instead, it was an acoustic guitar part strumming the chords similar to the bridge.  However, after hearing the lyrics, I suggested the music would better serve the song if it began in a loud and chaotic thunder; reflecting the opposite of the soothing chorus advising the listener to “Let It Go.”  This idea (among others) was tossed around for months and months, and we left the intro section empty and undone until the end of the recording.  Once we realized that “Let It Go” would be the last song on the album; and that “See You In Hell” would lead into it, the need for a huge musical intro became more logical.  So, we began to build up the section with lots of tracks and instruments.  However, despite plenty of musical tracks to mix, I was still having trouble getting it to sound bombastic.  Luckily, Michael “I Love Reverb” Klym stepped in and began experimenting with reverb and delay on every track… and he made it work.  Feeling energized by this breakthrough, I proceeded to finish the mix and worked to make the transition from intro to verse seamless.   

One of the most ethereal musical sections of the album is the ending to “Let It Go.”  It is a wonderful combination of piano fills, melodic bass, multiple guitars, and the smooth drum work of Hubert Payne (of Little Big Town fame).  Here is a fun video clip of Michael Zaring and Aaron Salinas trying to work out the final guitar parts (studio work is tedious, so laughter is essential to keep things flowing):

 

Special thanks to guest drummer Hubert Payne, who always does fantastic work.  If you are interested in his services, contact Hubert at: https://www.airgigs.com/user/Hubertpayne

Good Latimer Album Release - Go Where It Snows 

My name is Richard Salinas -- supermodel, part time astronaut, and mother of three in my spare time (well, the last one is true).  My new title is Record Producer, and here is the first project I’ve completed since returning to the music business.  Have a listen to Go Where It Snows, the new album from Texas pop-rock band Good Latimer.  Available for sale at goodlatimer.com, as well as online stores and streaming services like iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play and more.  Please support the band by visiting and liking all their social media pages, and by leaving positive reviews on the various online stores.  Thanks for your support... RS

Good Latimer Single - “This Little Moment”  

The Good Latimer song “This Little Moment” could make the Tin Man feel his non-existent heart (listen here: http://hyperurl.co/thislittlemoment).  It’s a well-crafted song written by Aaron Salinas and sung soulfully by Michael Zaring (aka Zee).  The first time I heard it I liked it, though it was very different.  In a rough demo, Aaron had put together a quick guitar arrangement with some backing strings and a soft, subdued vocal take (think Paul Simon).  Though he sang it on the demo, Aaron intended for Zee to sing it in the final song.  And boy did Zee nail it.    

In the actual recording, Aaron laid the groundwork by recording the guitars and bass, while Michael Klym added his own piano part separately.  Zee took the demo home with him to craft his own vocal rendition.  Meanwhile, we spent days working out the orchestration, moving it from just strings to a full-blown orchestra with brass, woodwinds, strings and percussion.  When it was done, it was a beautiful piece of music.  All that was needed was Zee’s vocal.

So… Zee comes in to record, and starts to sing the song in a strong, bluesy, soulful voice.  It was an excellent performance, but very different from the demo, which we based the arrangements on.  As I began mixing the song, it became very apparent to everyone that the full blown orchestration was not going to work.  Zee’s performance was so raw and emotional, it didn’t need strings to tell you how to feel (like they do in the movies).   So, we scrapped the orchestration and completely stripped down the song.  Instead, Michael Klym added a beautiful haunting piano solo; and Aaron followed that up with a moving guitar solo.  We kept a few strings in, but only in the instrumental section.  On the plus side, if the band ever plays this song live with a backing symphonic orchestra, we have an alternative arrangement ready! 

Special thanks to our guest drummer Hubert Payne, for laying down the core groove on this song (we added additional percussion on top of it).  Hubert is currently the drummer for Nashville band Little Big Town, and is by far one of the smoothest drummers I’ve ever heard.  He has a distinct style that is so fluid that it locks you into a song; and you don’t even realize it.  Here’s a great article about Hubert in Drum magazine: http://drummagazine.com/hubert-payne-of-little-big-town-discusses-the-breaker-his-upbringing-and-his-career/.  If you are interested in his services, contact Hubert at: https://www.airgigs.com/user/Hubertpayne.

Good Latimer Single Release - “Go Where It Snows”  

I grew up in South Texas, and I rarely saw any snow... so this song resonates with me.  I love the arrangement on Good Latimer’s reggae-influenced pop song “Go Where It Snows” (listen here: http://www.hyperurl.co/gowhereitsnows).  This song is loaded with vocal and musical hooks.  It’s the kind of song where you keep hearing new things with each listen.  Aaron does a great job on the lead vocal and plays a bouncy melodic bass guitar that playfully drives the song.  Michael Zaring (aka Zee) plays the rhythm guitar and performs one of my favorite guitar solos on the album — that delightful riff that signals the outro (ending) after the final chorus.  Funny thing is… there was no ending to this song when I first heard the demo.  They could not figure out what to do after the last chorus. So two things happened at the same time… First, Aaron and I went off to my RV (Winnabagel Studio) and spent hours working out the ending.  He stood there singing nonstop, coming up with all kinds of improvisational vocal riffs, until he finally came across the hook “I want to see it snow.”  Meanwhile, Zee went off on his own and created a cool and unique guitar solo.  By chance, both parts ended up working perfectly together when the tracks were assembled.   

Another highlight of the song is the steel drum musical hook that Michael Klym came up with for the chorus.  It’s a memorable melodic pattern that sticks in your head after each listen.  Michael also came up with the other woodblock/flute sounding hook you hear most clearly at the beginning of the song.  

As far as vocals go, I could spend several paragraphs going through the process, but I’ll keep it short.  In the chorus, Samantha does all the background vocals on top of Aaron’s vocals.  Both Aaron and Sam’s chorus vocals were assembled with many tracks, using cuts, delays and reverb to achieve the wide vocal effect.  One of the background vocal highlights is on the pre chorus (aka rise) when Aaron sings “and you know it’s a feeling…”  That’s Sam and Zee singing “ah” in harmony.  Originally, the harmonies were an octave lower but I noticed they were interfering with Aaron’s lead vocal, since they were sharing the same frequency range.  So I asked Zee and Sam to go an octave higher.  Zee’s falsetto vocal and Sam’s brassy tone ended up sounding great together, just like a human horn section.   

Finally, I have to thank drummer Milos Delic for playing such a wonderful and inventive part on this song.  His style is so unique and complex, using skillful hi-hat and cymbal work to move the song.  If you could hear the drum tracks soloed on their own, they would mesmerize you.  For more information on Milo’s services, visit https://www.airgigs.com/user/Delichdrums or http://www.topdrumtracks.com.

Good Latimer Single - “Then I Will”  

This is one of my favorite songs on the album (listen here: http://hyperurl.co/theniwill).  It’s an uptempo pop rock song written by Aaron Salinas.  Aaron wrote this specifically for Samantha Klym to sing (formerly Samantha Salinas, Aaron’s sister, Michael Klym’s new wife, and also my daughter).  She does a wonderful job singing at the top of her range, switching back and forth between her falsetto voice and regular voice.  It’s really difficult to do, and we spent a lot of time finding just the right key for her to pull this off.  Another highlight for me is the twinkly piano riff Michael Klym came up with in the chorus.  We double tracked a vibraphone instrument on top of his piano to create the effect.  Pay attention to Aaron’s bass guitar work.  The more you hear this song, the more you will appreciate how the melodic bass lines drive and color the song.  Is that a real trumpet you ask?  Why yes it is.  Michael Zaring (we call him Zee) dusted off the cobwebs from his high school trumpet and played a wonderful hook that will stay in your head for days.  And last, my hat goes off to Brian Petry, whose powerful drumming brought life to this song.  He does a wonderful job on the drum fills between sections.  You’ll be air drumming along with him after a few listens.  For more info on Brian’s services, visit him here: https://www.airgigs.com/user/gmsdrummer.

Where Have All The Drummers Gone 

The first dilemma we had when the recording process started was the fact that the band did not have a drummer.  Despite an ongoing search, they could not find anyone to Ringo on up.  They also did not like the option of using computer-generated drums.  So, I decided to try the online service Airgigs (airgigs.com).  It’s a great concept which partners up musicians all over the world.  You simply upload a rough track mix with instructions, and the musician adds his/her part and sends the files back to you.  The key is to find the right musician for the song with the skills and equipment to give you a well-played quality track.  Luckily, we managed to secure some great drummers.  I will be going back to some of them for my own album coming out in 2018.  As I talk about some of the songs in upcoming posts, I will be mentioning the drummer we used for each particular song -- just in case some of you fellow musicians might want to use them for your own project.

The Musical Fork in the Road 

Several years ago, as I was going through the process of selling my toner cartridge/printer repair business (laserlux.com), I began working on a solo album.  I was about halfway through the project when my son Aaron Salinas and future son-in-law Michael Klym approached me with a demo they had made using Garageband.  The song was Shout It On Out (first song on the upcoming album).  I was blown away.  The demo was quite raw, but the songwriting and performance were excellent!  I was intrigued, so I asked to hear more.  They came back later with the song Let It Go (last song on the upcoming album), and I was blown away again.  The song was complex yet catchy, with an intro, three repeating sections, a bridge and an outro, all at different tempos and featuring different singers. After that, I just couldn’t sit still.  I decided to put my album on hold and get to work recording their first album.  It was a long process, but we finally pulled it off.  I will detail some of the highlights in the posts that follow.