You can think about it, talk about it, dream about it. In the end, you just have to go do it.
GO time in Nashville.
With input from Gary Beard, my producer, I chose to record at Kenny Royster's studio -- it’s a small, intimate setting and I felt I would be comfortable there. Plus, Gary had worked with Kenny before, and that brought a certain comfort level from the start.
Our first session- recording the tracks (music) that would go along with the vocals- started at 10 am. I allowed myself one final round of nerves at breakfast. Who would love my children? My little songs – my babies – would these guys take them and love them and make them something I could still recognize afterward?
I was counting on Gary to bring his knowledge and his ear to the project, and help keep this train from derailing, sending car after car plummeting over the cliff, along with me and all my "children."
Okay, that’s an extreme analogy. I wasn’t that worried. I didn't foresee disaster. I just really wanted the best for my songs, the hour was at hand, and I had one shot to get what I wanted. It made me jittery.
The basic process goes like this:
Everyone listens to the work tape (the songwriter’s rendition of the song, very basic version – in my case, a recording of guitar and vocal).
Everyone talks about what they are going to play, what they think would sound right, etc.
Everyone disappears into a booth or room at this point (including me)
Everybody can hear everyone else thru headphones
They start playing and I sing the song to record a vocal (I would record the final version later).
Everyone listens, and we see what works and what doesn’t and go from there.
Repeat until as close to perfectly awesome as possible
In this case, I’m happy to say that we came away with 3 stunning tracks and 3 great vocal recordings. Oh, but we weren’t finished. That was only Day 1.
|At the beginning of the session - Jon, Dennis & Dennis: Guitar, Drums, Keyboard|
|Big pile of guitars|
|Pretending to have a clue|
|Gary Beard - Producer|