Saturday, May 24, 2014


I am beginning to work on my new CD, and thought I'd try to share with you (interested folks) a sort of point by point account of the experience.

So, here's the deal: I'll post my experiences for the material selection, pre-production, studio time, mix-down, title ideas, art and packaging efforts. and release date. All you have to do is have a look. And, should you have any questions or comments, you can do that as well.
  • First entry, March 3rd:  I have been going through songs and have already selected the first 8-10 possibilities... 5-6 already chosen, working on the others.  Studio chosen, and recording time scheduled for next week.
  • March 5th entry: Worked on some co-writing songs today, one with Dawn Kenney and we're writing a song together for the first time. Also worked on a couple songs from Jack Shannon, and on one as a co-write, first one for Jack and I too. Listening to some demos of other songs, other writers, more on that later. Have a couple more co-writing ideas and appointments, eager to get going.
  • March 11th entry: A bust for studio time yesterday, but made up for it today! Recorded 4 tunes at Scott Vestal's Digital Underground studios up north of Nashville. Scott is so good and professional, he made a lot of notes and took pictures when we recorded my 2012 CD "Intrepid" a couple years ago, so setting up for me and getting tones and levels didn't take long. Two types of mics and pre-amps along with my Gallagher guitar's Fishman Aura Pro set-up feed, the guitar sounds awesome! I love my job! Recorded 4 songs: "Same Old Moon' and "I Picked The Wildwood Flower" penned by Jack Shannon; a beautiful song by the late Perry Pitney "I'm Not The Man I Was"; and a song co-written by Don Dunn and Claire Lynch (I have to get the official ok, before I can reveal the title and be sure I can include it on the new CD). More soon!
  • March 15th entry: Fun day yesterday, achieved 4 final tracks and started on 2 more. One of the new tracks is a song Dawn Kenney is co-writing with me... Purty good! Here's a pic of "sound central": 

  • March 19th entry:  A few more songs to add to the CD recorded total recorded now is 9, but one of them may not make this CD. I am excited !!! Great songs by great authors, and I am having a blast doing my versions of them, even though I'm not veering to far from the original versions, just putting my sound on them.
  • May24th entry:  Scott and I have been working on final mixes and tones, and sequence.  Now starting to work on all the mastering - unless there's is something I feel I need to change, but I doubt it at this point. I mean, one has to stop and let go at some point, or else it'll never get released.
  • Additional May 24th entry:  Didn't really get into the 'technical' aspects of this recording, and I mentioned I would.  So here it is: Scott is recording on Cubase, using a pair of Neumann KM-54 condenser mics and a Manley tube mic all ran through API pre-amps, along with a channel of my Fishman Aura Pro system with exclusive Jim Hurst Gallagher Images®.  So, 4 tracks of guitar, and one track for my of vocal, which is another tube mic (don't recall which brand) ran through an API pre-amp as well.  I may be incorrect on some of this, but I'll confirm with Scott and update here.
OK, so here is the list so far, of course this could change:
  1. I Picked The Wildwood Flower
  2. The Preacher And The Bear
  3. Same Old Moon
  4. Just One Man
  5. Richmon Safford
  6. Dead Flowers
  7. They Said
  8. A Mailbox On The Moon
  9. Nobody Loves Me But My Dog
  10. Not The Man I Was
  11. Road Scholar
Our method of choice was to record guitar solo first, then sing vocals as overdubs.  Reason being, separation and mix control, as well as easier editing for any fixes for either.  I can perform all the songs on Intrepid and this CD live, although honestly my performances of these songs are better after the recordings as I get much more experience playing them afterwards.  Scott worked hard to get the same tones for guitar and vocal each and every session.  Sounds like a default position, right?  Well it is, except sometimes there were a week or more in between sessions for me, and Scott had other sessions booked as well.  So just the fact he got almost exact tones each time is a testament to not only his ear for it, but his attention to detail, and his compassion about it. Great musician and engineer, that Scott Vestal.

I do some workshops on recording and band / artist preparation and pre-production, but the bottom line is: It is better to spend more time getting prepared ahead of time that to have to do it while the clock is ticking.  Disclaimer: I didn't prepare for this CD as much as I did Intrepid, and it cost a little more.  As my dad used to say: "Do as I say, not as I do".  But even so, there were three songs I thought were going to be on the CD that didn't make it, for various reasons.  And at least one of those I worked a good of time in pre-production.

End result, I had a great time and am still having a great time.  I feel like this is a step up from Intrepid and that's what I hoped.  There are a couple songs here that may be a little unexpected from me, but that'll be up to you to decide... I'm happy.

More later...