Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Studio Day!

Okay, now I'm home, I'm still tired, but I have to blog about yesterday before all my memories slip away.

Yesterday, we gathered at the Soundshop on Music Row to record tracks for my new hymns CD. After our Monday rehearsal, I was very confident about the music, but I still had some nerves in the morning. How could I not? Tracking days are always expensive, and you hope and pray that you'll get everything you need in the time you have.

The Soundshop is an amazing studio with a long pedigree. Last summer, Aaron and Johnny Minick bought it and snazzed it up. We were in the smaller Studio B, which is cozy and intimate - the perfect place to record this music. Aaron was there to help us get set up, and my friend, Rebekah, has just started her internship there, so she spent time with us too.

Brian Speer played dual role of engineer/producer, and it was good to have a fresh set of ears hearing the songs. When Aaron heard a bit of "Just a Closer Walk", he pulled out this gorgeous old Gibson for Gerald to play. Ends up the guitar was once played by Chet Atkins. The piano Teri played was, over the course of its history, played by such people as Buddy Killen, Paul McCartney, and Ray Charles. Where else but Nashville?

Then, we started making the music, and it was awesome! We did the guitar songs first. It took a while to get all the sounds balanced (as it so often does) but once we got comfortable with things, it was great. The guitar songs had a lot of flair, and then we moved on to the really intimate piano songs. For most songs, we only did one or 2 takes. We'll do my vocals on a later date, so the most important thing was getting a gorgeous, moving instrumental take.

Once or twice, Teri would replay just a few bars and Brian would "punch it in". (Basically, it's like pasting that little section into the larger song.) But for the most part, every instrumental part you'll hear on the CD was done in one take. Amazing!

When we broke for lunch, we went across the street to the Pie Wagon for blackened chicken and chess pie. As we're walking in, 'Whispering' Bill Anderson was walking out. Ben Speer came to join us for lunch. A few minutes later, the Isaacs walked in. They were recording in Studio A, right across the hall from us. As I was sitting there, I had the most surreal moment. I thought, "I'm recording on Music Row," and it had all the excitement and aura and cool details that you think that moment is going to have. It was awesome and good.

At the end of the day, we had all the tracks, and they sounded excellent. I was tired - physically and vocally - but very, very satisfied. I'll get copies of the tracks on Friday, start rehearsing, and record the vocals in a few weeks. In case I haven't said this in a while: I love my job!

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