Friday, March 16, 2012

Not-So-Live Studio Blogging - Day 2!


The rain is still coming down! We’re back at the studio for another day of guitar tracks and scratch vocals. Charting all the songs for the day. Denny is loving Gerald’s chord choices on the originals and the covers.

All the band charts will be written in the Nashville Number System. I’ve written about that before, but the quick review: NNS uses numbers to signify the chord changes. It's used extensively in Nashville studios, and allows the band to learn songs quickly and change keys easily. Instead of pages of sheet music, each player has only one piece of paper covered in numbers, lines, and diamond shapes to signify the shape of the song. Their own creativity fills in all the musicality of the piece.


“Great songs are a combination of the surprising and the familiar.”


Starting with the guitar track for Infinitely More, recorded on the Bourgeois (steel stringed acoustic guitar). We’ve tweaked a few little things in the guitar arrangement – going to give it some great energy!

Using mics on this guitar, so Denny is in the futzing stage again, trying to glean the best possible sound for the guitar.


So, we did the guitar track, started to sing along and realized, “This is way too fast!” Just sat with the metronome for a bit, and we’ve taken it back 6 beats per minute. Much better! Feels like a groove song now. Gerald is back in the booth to record the guitar again. Better to find out now and redo it than get to the vocal recording sessions and find it’s too fast.


Track done and the groove is perfect! Time to record a scratch vocal. Gerald and I will do this in the booth together.


Vocal done! Love recording the parts in the same booth, sharing one mic. It feels more like singing live. Might do some of this when we're doing the final vocal tracks.


Lunch break!


Afternoon session! Starting with How Great Thou Art. Double checking notes and chords on the chart. We want to do our own arrangement while honouring the original.


Just laid down a guide vocal for Gerald as he does a few takes of the guitar for How Great Thou Art. We do this song a lot live, so it’s interesting making the small tweaks to make it sound great in a recording.


Gerald and I going in the booth to record scratch vocal for How Great Thou Art.


Moving on to Real Big Fan. Yes, that’s the title song of my first CD. When Gerald wrote it, I heard it as a jazz song, which is how we recorded it first. Now, we’ll record Gerald’s bluesy, old school R&B version.


Taking a while to work out the chart on Real Big Fan – no simple chord progressions in this one!


Ready to record Real Big Fan now. It’ll be as close as we can get to live-off-the-floor. Gerald will record the guitar without a click, and record the vocal at the same time. I’ll jump in the booth to do my harmonies at the same time. Just choosing the right guitar patch for the electric guitar. Getting wild in here!


Well after all that, we’ve decided to ditch the track and actually do it live off the floor on Monday! It’ll give it a real jam band feel.

Denny’s making the chart now for I Wanna Make Some Noise. This will also be done live off the floor with the band on Monday.


I Wanna Make Some Noise is gonna rock! Just reworked it Black Gospel style. So excited to hear the band work this up!


Two songs to go! Moving on to Wondrous Journey. Gerald is sharing the story behind the song while Denny works up the chart.


Chart ready to go. Locking down the guitar vibe. Ready to go in the booth to do the scratch vocal.


After working on Wondrous Journey, we're rethinking how we're going to record it. Originally, I was going to sing the verses. But we've changed the vibe, so maybe Gerald would be a better fit? How does this affect the vocal balance of the CD? We need to take a second look at things....

Heading off for dinner to discuss. Coming back to the studio tomorrow to finish up the final guitar tracks in prep for Monday.

A great day's work!

Really looking forward to hearing how this all sounds with the band.

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