Friday, May 29, 2009

Percussion Rhymes with ?

Today was full-on yard work, so I've not had a chance yet to post about yesterday's proceedings, which were good.

After spending two early morning hours at the Apple Store trying to get my iBook G4 (yes, it's old) back up and running (but not before first believing with such hope that I had managed to spare all my iCal (booking), address book and *possibly* iTunes library in the hard drive cleanout of '09). It was not the case, and all is gone. I went from euphoria to a sick stomach in the time it takes to click a button. Still ill from losing the information all-too pertinent to my business, I managed to meet Ben at The Beehive by 10:30am where Steve Hindalong - of The Choir fame - was to hold court with his oodles of percussive instruments and the great faces he makes while playing them. I was honored Steve was willing to do it since he had no idea who or what I was. A very nice man who is very skilled at what he does. Steve *listens* to the songs. Not many players actually tune in to lyrics while they're recording, but he does and proceeds to pick out the percussive instruments according to the lyrical image being painted at the time, in an effort to further color the scene. Brilliant. Steve is also a wearer of bright green socks; that, I appreciate immensely. I originally thought we'd get Steve for a couple of hours, on two, maybe three songs, but he was quite generous, working for several hours and playing on nearly the entire record. He played on 9 of the 11 songs. How great of him.

After Steve departed, I added a few background vocal parts we had forgotten to record on "In the Movies", and then called it a day. The Shives and Peters later ate fried chicken tenders together that night. 4 adults, 6 kids -- you get the idea. It was a good day, not an especially productive week on the album front.

I hear rumors that we will begin mixing next week. This is a good thing. That means all/most of the actual recording is finished. But then again, I think I've said that before, so you probably shouldn't pay me much attention. *Insert chuckle*

Friday, May 22, 2009

Nearly Complete!

Ben and I returned to work this week after a couple of weeks off (I had shows in Louisiana). It was good to be away from the album for a bit. Those last few days prior to our break were exhausting and punishing in their humbling.

We picked back up on Monday and Tuesday with more background vocals. My old compatriot, Andrew Peterson, was kind enough to drop by and sing harmony on "Run Down". We ate (yet more) Mexican food, this time with AP, Ben, and Mr. Paul Eckberg, who played drums on half the album.

Wednesday was Hammond B-3 day at Ben's friend's place. It is still hard for me to dislike B-3, try though I might. Ben worked hard for three hours recording keys, whereupon we disconnected his portable system and reconvened, Subway sandwiches in hand, back at The Beehive. After lunch, I sang more BGVs, and we convinced Andrew Peterson to come back up to the studio to help us sing a "gang" vocal (sort of like a choir, sans church robes) to a counter-melody part I had written/imagined early on for "Come Back A Fool". Though I wish we would have had another three or four folks in attendance, it seemed to work well enough. The more voices, the more variety, the better.

Thursday was another day of overdubs with Gabe Scott. We all met at 11am, and he played pedal steel on "Louisiana in the Dark" and "I Had to Tell You", and lastly played lap steel on "Reality Came Crashing Down". Good, very good stuff. Ben played accordion on "Louisiana", also. This was a good day. Doing overdubs (the ear candy) is extremely gratifying because you have the chance and the privilege to witness your songs come alive in the hands of talented musicians. When it comes to recording an album, this is easily the fun stuff.

After Gabe left, I sang a few more final BGVs, and came up with a spur-of-the-moment counter-melody to the outro of "You Don't Have the Strength". So very glad that moment happened when it did.

Today, Friday, was brief, but good in its progress. I met Ben at David Henry's studio at 1pm, where David played cello and violin on three songs: "Sad to Watch You Wave", "Come Back a Fool", "Traveling Onion". David and Ben seem to be similar spirits, both talented and musically astute fellows. I've spoken of my deficiency in this before, but these guys easily engage in that musical language that I know little to nothing about. I tried not to beat myself up too much, and simply to listen for ideas. They were kind enough to accept my suggestions, something I am still terrified to offer up in the presence of obviously skilled musicians and producers. David knocked it out of the park. He was kind enough to brew me a pot of coffee, too. Brilliant.

Folks - or whomever, if anyone, is reading this - I can't wait for you to hear this album. It's shaping up nicely, thanks in very large part to producer Ben Shive. I'm glad I get to call him "friend." As soon as I figure out a release date, I will start taking pre-orders for Chrome. More work, including french horn overdubs, hopefully, next week. Stay tuned, please.

Lastly, happy birthday, Danielle!