Over the course of two days last weekend, I spent around seventeen and a half hours holed up in the studio recording a new release. Not only was this my longest continuous stretch of time recording, but it was also my first longer release where I was the only person playing...well, everything. I feel like I learned a lot, and wanted to fill you in on what I've been up to.
The short version is that I officially have a new release on the way (yay!). It consists of six songs, some of which are brand new, and some of which are old favorites from my catalog which never got a proper studio treatment. Clocking in at just under a half hour of music, it's sitting pretty much right between a more traditional album and an EP length release. So yeah, 2019 will be a year of new music!
Given what an awesome and unique experience recording this album was for me, I wanted to go into a bit of detail about what it was like. So, the longer version...
Starting on Sunday morning, I recorded from around 10am to 10pm. During this first day, I hammered out all of the main guitar tracks, as well as vocals for four of the songs. Then on Monday I woke up at 8:30am, and by 9 was back in the booth cutting more vocal tracks. Recording vocals in the morning is always a challenge (unless of course you're going for deep "morning voice" takes), but when the songs require belting, it can become downright nerve racking.
Luckily, everything came together, and by late afternoon, the rest of the vocals, lead guitar work, and preliminary mixing was finished, and we called a wrap on the session.
Preparation was absolutely key to making this studio time the success that it was. Originally, the plan was to record this album last year, but due to a freak blackout and packed schedules, the session got pushed back. As a result, I spent around fourteen months honing these songs to a razor's edge with the express intention of recording them in mind. I demoed each one out on my iPad's Garageband app, and then, not trusting that I could remember everything exactly, I brought that to the studio with me. After all, I don't sing harmonies to my own songs regularly, and when I'm performing I only have one set of hands to play the guitar.
Tuns out that bringing the iPad ended up being clutch. There were a handful of times when being able to pull up my demo sessions and soloing out a specific line I was trying to remember saved a ton of time.
One of the other things that made this experience so great was being able to work with another musician behind the board. I first met Frank Migliorelli a few years back when I performed at one of the Singer/Songwriter nights he hosts at the Green Growler in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. He did an excellent job producing the songs, and being able to bounce ideas back and forth brought a depth to some of these tunes which really pushed them to a new level, as well as got me doing some completely new things. Two of these tracks have a resonator guitar on them...an instrument which I never played before this weekend. And in some places I used a lighter pick (0.46mm thick, as opposed to the 1.14mm heavy picks which I swear by with religious zeal) to get a brighter tone. You wouldn't believe the difference that half-millimeter makes.
Now comes the exciting work of final mixing and mastering, crafting the release plan, and all the other elements that go along with unleashing music into the world. I'm in the midst of planning an album release show, as well as prepping for the summer gigging season (new shows are up on the calendar!), so it's a pretty busy time here.
As of right now, it's looking like this album is going to have an early summer release. I am psyched with how everything is shaping up--I think it's some of the best music I've made to date. Can't wait to share it with you!