Hey StrandSongs and welcome aboard!
Do take a look at the Audacity and Reaper programs if you get a chance. Both will support multiple track recording and do a nice job of mixing with a huge selection of effects to choose from. I think most of us do track on track recording, laying down each track as an individual. ie: Bass line, percussion, guitar 1, guitar 2, keyboards, vocal lead 1, backup vocals, etc. You can then edit each individual track and "tweak" it to your liking while monitoring the full mix until you get the sound you are reaching for, then do the final master mix as stereo, adjust your pan and export the final as an MP3 to file, burn, or whatever. Audacity will handle something like 74 tracks, although your PC tends to bog a bit if you are short of RAM. Eight tracks seems to be optimal at least for me, but your mileage may vary.