Another year, another album and another great album cover by my artist wife Nancy. This release though is a bit different in that it is an all instrumental work. Wheelhouse is finally mixed and mastered and will officially be available on all the streaming platforms June, 19th. What started out as a bit of an experiment throwing a few Jazz chops on top of some 808 beats soon grew into a full blown studio effort. I will say not having vocals became much more difficult than I originally thought. The guitar becomes your voice and demands very well crafted song components too properly lift a song. A.K.A, no shredding. It turns out that the more 'spreadable' guitar songs I recorded didn't make this release, going with the more slow hand compositions. I tend to compose now in an ad-hoc approach, arranging, layering parts and melody as they offer themselves realtime. In this way song production can completely change as it progresses and hardly ever finishes the way it starts out. Of course this approach completely contradicts established contemporary music production but Oh well.... I think I used all my guitars but relied primarily on my main Fenders, Though I did employ my PRS more than the last few albums, rediscovering what a fantastic instrument it is. Almost all these guitar parts were virtually tracked through my Kemper amp profiler. This tool makes it very easy to come back and replicate exact tones for dubbing which is essential when doing all the tracking solo. The tracking/mixing was done both in Seattle and North Carolina across most of 2019 and into early 2020. Mastering was done once again by ZenMastering in SanDiego where Paul Abbott does a wonderful job framing my work. Obviously a lot has happened over this timespan and I suspect not too many people are going to be that interested in someone's new music. In some ways I'm glad this effort lacks lyrics which could never pay tribute or offer any comfort to what many folks are going through. So maybe these little snippets of songs can at least be a pleasant distraction like they were for me to the events of the day.
FYI, Full Funkle is the first song on the album. Kind of my vision what it would be like if Jeff Beck jammed with the Chills Peppers, enjoy..
Its been a year since South by Northwest was released and my new album Cascadia is just now finished. Still working on the artwork and distribution details but it will likely be available at all the digital outlets in late spring. Most of the writing and recording was done in Seattle last year in my tiny mobile recording enclave (i'm being kind here). A bit more electric than South by Northwest, a sort of anti-genre mix-tape which seems to be my wheelhouse these days. Once again it was mastered at Zenmastering in San Diego where Paul Abbott always does a fantastic job cleaning up the sonic presentation. Everything else was hammered out by me, myself and I in classic auteur fashion. l'll include "Common Ground" in this blog post which is the leading song from the album. I don't do too many rock songs anymore so this is a bit of a throwback. Lots of Jazzmaster and some Hammond organ gives it a bit of a B.O.C. vibe.. Enjoy.
Tracking and mixing my new album "South by Northwest" is finally completed and is currently being mastered at ZenMastering in San Diego. Finally.. I am shooting for a late March or early April release to all the digital outlets, CDs too follow. This one was a lot of work, a lot more pro tools tracks and moving parts than the least two releases. The album is a move away from the Singer Songwriter genre and back into the power pop/rock vein where my strengths lie. A lot of effort was put into production and arrangement. What started out as a labor of love turned into to a relentless drive to make it the best it can be. When singularly performing every aspect of the creative process, the studio itself becomes the band. This tends to work best as an iterative process of tracking, mixing and re-tracking as the production solidifies. Thats how I work anyway and its a slow process. Regardless of the future reception this represents where I am musically at this age and I am grateful that I can still spend the time and have the skill set to make these records.
Thanks to my understanding wife for both hanging in there and creating that awesome cover art!!
I have not posted for a while but have been busy working on my new release entitled "South by Northwest". Nine songs are tracked and nearing completion of the mixing phase. This record is a significant departure from Bungalow in terms of sonic structure and genre. Departing from the traditional Singer Songwriter platform of Bungalow, "South by Northwest" brings in a much more electric vibe paying homage to my early influences. Present are Rundgren and Bowie style introspective pop, Allan Brothers classic rock and even Jeff Beck instrumental songs. Once again all songs are written, performed, produced and recorded by myself. A significant portion of the tracking and mixing was accomplished in my remote Seattle location, which I think gave a new sense of energy to the songs. Looking for an early fall 2017 release and a swath of Central Florida supporting gigs.
Its been a long six months tracking and mixing my new record. The engineer in me just wants to keep tweaking. In the end these eight songs are more introspective that my previous recordings and represent where I am as a musician and a person. "Bungalow" features a wide range of styles from americana, dream pop, blue eyed soul to instrumental. Hopefully there are tunes here some folks will enjoy as much as I did recording them. The album is currently on CDBaby but will be up on all the digital sites within a few weeks.
A few studio upgrades to the "Green Truck on Shine (GToS)" project studio! This nice feature wall was installed on the shared wall between the tracking/mixing spaces (AKA code name for the living room/bedroom apartment, Ha!) Highly recommend "Red Rhino Reclaim" who did the work. Really helped defuse and soften the sound in this tight space. Currently tracking a Steve Bailey solo project and have Lauren Lester scheduled for late August to work some demos. Oh, and Who Hit Willie will start tracking a new release this fall as well.. Looking to record more performers. All work is done "in the box" with pro tools 11 so it will be comparable with any other studio integration. I tracked and mixed my "Long Way Home" EP here this year. A sample equipment list as follows:
Software - pro tools 11- Waves, Slate, Antares, Massey plugins, Ozone 6 Mastering
Interface - Apogee Quartet
Monitoring - PSI audio A17-M, Avantone Mix Cubes, Focal headphones
Mics - Sm7b, SM81, CK-1 (pair), CV-12, various dynamics
Outboard - 1073 Neve channel clone, RED tube DI
Guitars - Fender, Gibson, Taylor, Music Man
Amps - Bad Cat, Carr, Gibson, Fender, Orange
Finally closing out on my solo EP project! Mastering the final mixes this week. Working title is "Long Way Home" which is the title cut and the quasi meme of the effort. What a learning experience. I have a lot of respect for the music professionals who do this day in and day out for a living. The hardest part of doing all the writing, producing, recording, engineering and mastering is... EVERYTHING. It would be nice if one area ends up being less important to the final product but everything matters. Some of the more surprising things, guitar strings, what time of day your voice works best, small mixing changes give big results, bug crashes with almost all the pro-tools/plugins and how important it is to get your source sounds and arrangements done early and well. Four to Five songs are all I can handle in this process and one didn't make the final cut. A humbling experience for sure but I will be much more proficient the next time. Going to work the cover art, publishing and submission for print (CDBaby) over the next few weeks. Should have CDs by July!
I'll go ahead and include a rough master of one of the songs called "TWENTY Seven" on the main page.
Finally making some headway on my project studio! I have a half dozen songs to start recording which are going to be more organic than the WHW album from last year. Think "Lo Fi". No working title for my EP yet but its time to start putting some bits down in Pro Tools. Hope to bring in a few friends to help keep me honest and moving forward. Pro Tools 11, a few good mics and instruments and a healthy desire to put something down.. Oh, that cow hide stool cant hurt the mojo either..
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.