Thursday, March 15, 2012

Not-So-Live Studio Blogging!

I’m writing today from the studio of Denny Martin Music, for the first day of recording our Infinitely More CD! This is the studio we visited to record Gerald’s songwriting demos, so we know we’re in good hands.

My plan was to do some live blogging these days with lots of Facebook updates, but Denny’s wifi is being fussy.

Plan B: Not-So-Live Blogging!

I’ll be writing all day. You won’t be able to follow live, but if you keep reading, you’ll be able to enjoy a play-by-play of today’s recording experience!

So, here we go!


After catching up with Denny, we’re starting the day with A Prayer Will Find You. Denny is checking the chart he’s created from Gerald’s guitar/vocal demo. They’re running the song, confirming the chords and timing on the chart match what Gerald is playing.


Chart done – time to record the guitar track. Today, our goal is to record 6 guitar tracks and their corresponding scratch vocals. The ‘scratch vocal’ is a one-take vocal that will serve to guide the band when they come in to record their parts on Monday. We’ll ‘scratch’ that later and record the final vocals in Toronto.

Gerald is setting up in the booth. He’ll play this song on his new nylon stringed Taylor. Denny is using mics on the guitar.

Side note: Stunning day here in Nashville! Sunny, blue sky, green grass, daffodils blooming, and leaves starting to emerge. Spring seems like the perfect time to record a new project – creativity is in the air.


First take done. Gerald’s playing sounds great. Readjusting headphones and mic to get a better guitar sound overall. Getting set for a second take.

Micing a guitar is so tricky – you want to hear the live sound of the guitar, without hearing breathing, finger noise, the arm draped over the guitar, toes tapping, or the chair squeaking.


Still futzing with mics. This is fussy work, but once this is taken care of, the rest of the nylon string songs will be a breeze. This is the tortoise part of the day…


Sounding really good. Going to try one more take using the pick up. This means no mics – just plugging in and recording.


A Prayer Will Find You – done! Now that we’re set up, things will move much more quickly.

Moving on to Living Manna. Adding an instrumental solo verse between verses two and three – probably for the pianist on Monday. Also recording this on the nylon strings.


Going in the booth for my scratch vocal…


Scratch vocal done. Gerald is doing a second take, using my first vocal. This is sounding so pretty!


Lunch break!


Back at it! Setting up for There is a Voice. This is one of three super-new songs on the album. Using nylon string Taylor again, but going through a pedal to create a different sound than the first two songs.


Gerald is playing these songs to a ‘click track.’ This is a metrical beat that keeps the tempo steady throughout the song. The click is used in recording to make sure all the players are keeping the same pulse – very useful since players can rarely see each other in the studio. It gives the engineer a clean grid upon which to layer parts. It also makes it easier for musicians to add new parts later in the process. Instead of listening to the push and pull of the original musicians, they only need to follow the steady click of the track.

Not all recordings use a click (we didn’t for “Hymns in the Key of Grace” because we wanted a live, spontaneous feel), but since we’re adding more musicians next week, the click will be really helpful in making everyone sound like a cohesive band.


There is a Voice done! Moving on to You Are – the new song Gerald wrote for me to sing. Denny is building the chart based on Gerald’s demo.

Debating about whether or not to use the click on this one.

Denny is talking in numbers – nice 1 over 3… so you go to the 5 there… you’re playing 1-4-1 there, right?

Jumping back in the booth to record my scratch.


Trying a take now with the click. I was booted from the booth, so Gerald and I will record the duo part of our scratch together.


Trying another guitar take where Gerald will play along with himself. May use one, may use both – just experimenting.


Espresso and ping-pong break! Yes, we did bring our espresso maker with us – wanna make something of it?


Back at it with scratch vocals for You Are, A Prayer Will Find You, and There is a Voice.


We’ve made a decision to record I Wanna Make Some Noise with the band. Instead of recording the guitar part in advance, it’ll all be handled live on Monday. We may do the same with Real Big Fan. Takes a bit of pressure off today and tomorrow, but adds a bit of pressure for Monday.

Final song of the day: You Take Me Higher. Recording on the Taylor T5 (acoustic/electric blend guitar) with pedal.

Weather update: Instead of chirping birds, we’re hearing rain and thunder. Welcome to Nashville...


Debating the tempo of You Take Me Higher. Fine line between great energy and manic worship. Think we found it at 144 beats per minute.


Gerald and I going in the booth together to do the scratch for You Take Me Higher.


Good day’s work! Now to brave the rain, prep for tomorrow, and get a good night’s sleep.

Check back tomorrow evening for
Not-So-Live Blogging on Day 2 in the studio!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm suitably impressed!