Friday, August 20, 2010

In the Studio - LIVE BLOGGING!

Welcome to my first day of live blogging!

Today we're in the studio recording Gerald's demos, and I'll be blogging throughout the day in real time. I'll keep this post open, and just keep adding to the bottom. Check back often and remember to refresh this page so you can join in the adventure of the day!

9:18am - We're here in Antioch at the studio of Denny Martin. The players are arriving and enjoying the Krispy Kremes we brought with us. The coffee is flowing...

9:31am - The players are all here in the booth with us, reviewing charts for the first song. Everyone's nodding along as they listen to Gerald's worktape and review the charts. People are taking notes, figuring out the tempo, and debating how to play the details. Compliments are flowing - nice! These guys hear a lot of songs.

9:40am - Gerald is in the vocal booth to record a scratch vocal. The demo singer will sing the final vocal next week. The scratch is simply to guide the musicians. They've started - it sounds AWESOME!!!!! WHOO-HOO!!!! I'm grinning like an idiot :)

9:54am - Instruments on the session are keyboard, drums, electric bass, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar. Denny just explained that when the band is playing, the electric guitar will play rhythm, keeping along with the band. After he'll do an overdub to do more solo, wailing, cool stuff. Amazing to see all this creativity coming together.

10:00am - "I'm not very smart, but I'm a good listener and a good eater." as said by the guitar player. Possibly the best quote of the day :)

10:08am - Instrumental solos and licks are being improvised by the guitars and keys. Wow.

10:13am - First song done! On to the next!

10:20am - Reviewing charts for song 2. Gerald is showing them how he wants the hook played.

10:33am - Just received a note from Monika asking for song titles. So far, we've done "Watertower", and now they're doing "Last Payphone in the World." It's sounding amazing. The players are so tight and so fast, and in between takes they're sharing jokes, jabs, and kudos.

10:54am - Debating tempo. Tempo can make or break a song. Should it be more Kenny Chesney or more Brad Paisley? Playing it several ways right now, different speeds, different grooves.

11:13am - Here's how the music looks as Denny is recording the different tracks. Each coloured line represents a different instrument. The half lines on the screen are the solos/overdubs being added to the tracks that the full band just recorded.

11:33am - Starting "Me and Patsy Cline." Debating starting with just piano and building the track by having the band come in on the chorus. Making sure the key will work for Lisa on Monday. Making sure all the chords on the chart match what Gerald is playing on the worktape.

11: 40am - Gerald waving from inside the booth.

11:54am - Doing the first take of "Me and Patsy Cline." Finally understand what Gerald meant when he said they way we play it is too 'folk' for country radio. This sounds like something you'd hear on the radio. It has more drive, more power - really embodies the empowerment experienced by the lead character. Sounds different to hear it this way, but it's really cool.

12:30pm - Lunch!

1:27pm - Back from lunch. Awesome little Italian buffet with piles of pizza, eggplant, and mussels.

1:29pm - Starting the afternoon with "Johnny Cash's Eyes."

1:38pm - The players are getting back in place after the lunch break, new charts in hand. Retuning the guitars and making sure we have all the right sounds on the keys and drums. The drummer is behind the panels, and that's Denny on the left making sure everyone has what they need.

2:17pm - Just took a slew of photos. Going to post a few today, but I'll post lots of facebook and my site later, maybe when we get home. Getting ready to start "All Her Flowers are Wild" - one my favourite songs Gerald has ever written!!!

2: 27pm - Here's a shot of the chart for "Johnny Cash's Eyes." If you click on it, it should get larger and then you can see the Nashville Number System in action. The numbers allow the players to change keys without changing charts. Notice too how the foam is placed between the cymbal and its mic to act as a bit of a buffer (I'm sure there's a technical name for this? Feel free to add to the comments if you know it.)

2:57pm- Couldn't get online for a few minutes - freaked me out! Back now, and they're doing the first pass of "Fifteen Minutes of Shame." This is a song that needs a great band, and it sounds amazing. It's incredible how these guys can make a first pass sound like a song they've been playing for years.

3:14pm - My drum solo...

3:19pm - Adding B3 organ to "Fifteen Minutes of Shame" - we're all very happy!

3:47 - Don't think I've said this yet, but I'm realizing that session players are process-based and not product-based musicians. They're not saving and using all their creativity for their own completed songs or CDs. Instead, they get in the studio every day, sharing their creativity with other artists and other songwriters. They won't get copies of all their work and they won't get to play their arrangements every night on the road. Instead, the joy is in the process of making great music, in this short moment, and then moving on to the next great moment of creativity.

3:54pm - Moving on to the last song of the day, "When Saturday Morning was All Day Long." A few weeks ago, I suggested to Gerald that this would make a great duet, so that's how they're going to record it! Still pushing to see if that qualifies me for a co-writing credit...

4:04pm - Debating a last minute key change - whether dropping it a semi-tone will make it too low to sing nice harmonies next week?

4:10pm - After one take, we've decided the new key doesn't work, so we're back to the original. Going to slow it down a click or two. Gerald is showing them the vocal on the bridge so everything can get tight. Doing a water bottle run out to the vocal booth.

4:19pm - New key and new tempo sound great! Single take is done. Now the different players are going back and saying "Just let me redo bar 5 of the chorus..." and other such tweaks. Denny will just punch those in when he's doing the final mix.

4:34pm - Learning the history of the people we're working with. Our acoustic guitar player didn't start playing til after university. Amazing! Don't ever think it's too late to start following your dream...

4:41pm - Our songs are DONE! Whoo-hoo!!! Just wrapping up now. The players are going to do one more short piece of their own before we pack up.

4:53pm - After playing country music all day, the players have flicked the music switch in their heads and are now playing a 50's style film soundtrack.

5:11pm - Taking group photos and collecting email addresses.

5:22pm - Photo of us and Denny.

5:23pm - We're finished and packing up and heading out. Saying thank you and making sure we have everything we brought with us. Heading into Nashville for supper and to watch a round at the Commodore. Love live blogging! Hope you enjoyed it too :)


Jozette Angelique said...

WAY TO GO ALLISON!! Sounds like an awesome day!! =)

Allison Lynn said...

Thanks, Jozi! We're having a fantastic time!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your adventurous day with those of us who are way, way up north far away from recording studios. Loved reading every word and seeing the action packed pictures. - Canadian, Kay

Anonymous said...

What a great idea .. blogging in transit .. real reality internet .. congratualtions to Gerald, Allison and all the crew. We are 'very well pleased'.

Anonymous said...

Sooooooo proud of you and happy for you!

Allison Lynn said...

Thanks, Kay and the double H's,

We had an amazing time! I had high expectations for the day, but the results went far beyond what I anticipated. Thanks for following along with us.