A new album is almost finished, but the last few pieces have been the hardest to complete …
The recording process began in February of 2013 at The Narrows Recording Studios in Buckhorn, Ontario, just north of Peterborough. It’s a small, one-room cottage-style house set on a hill overlooking a forest with coyote howls in the air, the night sky as dark as your closed-eyes and a solitude that lends itself to making music. With uber-engineer James McKenty at the wheel (James engineered the new Blue Rodeo album and has worked with Matt Barber, Cuff the Duke, The Sadies and more), I knew I was in good hands and set out to record a handful of tunes. I ended up being my own band, playing drums, guitars, synth and bass, with McKenty adding some guitar touches. After two weekends, I ended up with four songs that sound killer.
As I let those tunes sit for close to a year and bide their time in my CD player, I wanted to record more material. I had been in touch with Don Kerr (owner of Rooster Studios in Toronto), so we set up some recording time in December. His studio is a handmade hub of creativity and love, with old doors used as a drum booth, hanging curtains as sound barriers and a natural reverberation in the space that lends itself to an honest sound. I love that place, the walls drip with creative vibes.
I went in guns-a-blazing with close to twenty songs that we banged out over a week’s time, LIVE off the floor, very few overdubs. No tricks, no auto-tuning vocals, no chopping up parts of songs to make one final cut. Music played by humans. Some of the mistakes made for the BEST takes! Very lucky and grateful to have such great musicians on the project including Don’s magical drumming (Ron Sexsmith, The Rheostatics, Communism; his musicianship is hard to beat), Rob Isabella’s lyrical guitar-playing (Rob and I have been doing gigs together for years, his playing is GOLD), and Chris Banks on stellar bass (a jazzman at heart, his soul and concentration to music is crazy good). They took the songs to a new level and the musical experience was unrivaled.
So now I sit with all these tunes, and continue to write more songs, write write write write …I recently went back to see James McKenty to fix a few things from previous recordings and to lay down a few more tracks, one of which will be on the new album. I’m also going back into Don Kerr’s studio to finalize a few more tunes. By then, I will have enough recorded material for TWO albums.
Lately I’ve been finding my creative well swimming with ideas. That’s not a bad thing, as it gives me more flexibility to decide what the album can be. It’s nice to have that option.
Part of the process is artwork. I’ve narrowed down a few album cover ideas …(please post and let me know your favourite picture for a possible album cover!)
A pleasure to have you here reading this. Thanks for being a part of this album-making journey. I’ll post some tunes shortly.
See you next time.