I spent the day at Ken Lewis's upstairs studio, The Attic, alongside Ken, Brent Milligan and Ben Shive. Situated next to a powder blue upright piano, I have sauntered away this clear blue day in a green leatherette chair listening to the great parts these gentlemen have individually and collectively come up with. Brent, Ben and Ken are artists in the truest sense of the word, brushing their own musical colorings on the open-sky painting at large. They infuse so much of their own art, determination and professionalism into these songs that it puts me to shame. While no man is an island, here and now I am reminded that few, if any, artists are able to create anything worthwhile wholly on his/her own. That is easily the case here. I am a singer-songwriter. These guys are musicians. They speak a language I can barely decipher, and even when I can occasionally follow, then not all the time. I sit, nearly dumbfounded, but absolutely in awe of their abilities as they listen through each song once, maybe twice, charting notes along the way, talk amongst themselves honing in on specific chord movements saying things like "four over two", and then it's off and running as the microphones detail the occasion.
Brent playing the autoharp.
Today was Day One of bass and drums. Ken (drums, percussion) and Brent (bass, autoharp) kicked things off at 9:45am with smashing contributions to "In the Movies", then "Reality Came Crashing Down", where 1pm sneaked up on us just that quickly. We four grown men (barely) piled into my '65 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia to eat lunch at The Daily Dish where we parked and ate next to country music star Brad Paisley. After some incredible chicken and shrimp cacciatore, we (barely) piled back into the Ghia to head back to The Attic to work on "Chrome", "The Traveling Onion", "I Had To Tell You" and "Louisiana in the Dark". I say "work", but what I actually mean is that they actually worked while I reposed in the green chair, coffee in hand, nodding and offering my nimble opinion when asked.
It was good, so good, to see major progress made on these songs today, to witness the contributions of such skilled artisans to these little songs of mine, to hear beauty and space breathed into the mere guitar parts I played a few weeks ago. As I said in an earlier post, this is the fun part. And it continues again on Thursday when we'll hunker down in The Modern Metropolitan Museum of Paul where Paul Eckberg (drums), Tony Lucido (bass), Ben Shive will continue the reverie and the foreign language which they so eloquently and efficiently speak.