I’ve made some records in my day – believe you me. This was the best experience that I’ve had making recorded music. Without question. Eric McConnell was just freakin’ amazing and his studio, which sits comfortably in the favorite area of my beloved Nashville, couldn’t be more inviting. Don’t get me wrong, making the Pretty Bird record with George Bradfute, Viktor Krauss, Fats Kaplin, Paul Burch, and Wes L’Anglois was an amazing experience, for sure. One that I’ll never forget. However, I can’t honestly say that I was as comfortable making that record. I felt like I was in way over my head. I was right.
This time, sure, yeah, I suppose it was hard work. I mean, we knocked out 7 tunes in 2 days – including vocal, keyboard, pedal steel, and horn overdubs. But, man…it was a party! Nothing but good friends hanging out on what turned out to be an absolutely beautiful weekend. Not only folks playing music but visiting, sitting in, getting a listen, talking, drinking, and congregating while we made what may turn out to be the best record that I’ve ever made. The one that I’m finally happy with. I was so glad that our friends Sarah, Ry, Annie, Dave, Wes, and Paul could stop by and be a part of it. Wood and Frank completely KILLED the grooves in these tunes – IN A GOOD WAY! They just tore it up. I dunno, I suppose I’m rambling. Trying to put this into words in a way that has a beginning, middle, and end is difficult because, for me, it hasn’t ended. I’m still giddy from the experience.
One funny thing…I was walking around the whole time taking photos. Seriously, I took like 160 photos. That is…until Eric and I got talking and I mentioned that I couldn’t find any photos of his place on the internet. That’s when he informed me that he doesn’t really let anyone post pics of his studio. Oops. That’s why the only pic you’re gonna get of the sessions is this swell shot of my boots.😉
Tomorrow, Thursday, March 6th, we’ll be packing up the ol’ Chevy Van and heading to Nashville to record our first EP. We’re honored to be working with Eric McConnell, who, though I’m sure he is tired of being forever linked to this project, recorded the now-famous/classic Loretta Lynn record Van Lear Rose which was produced by Jack White. Eric has also worked on projects by Todd Snider, Will Kimbrough, and MANY others.
The rehearsals for this recording have been just fantastic. I have to admit that I was a *little* worried since our efforts thus far have been rehearsing for live shows since we had things booked before the band was even a band. Time to work on new material has been scarce. Essentially, we’re taking 3 days this week to hash out tunes that will be on this record. It’s a busy week but, man, it’s just great. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday: rehearse (and bleed the brakes on the van Tuesday). Thursday: Pack the van, drive to Nashville, load-in to the studio. Friday: Record basic tracks. Saturday: Overdubs. Sunday: Drive back to WV.
I’m also really happy to have three great friends joining us on this record. Paul Thacker (horns, keys, accordion), Wes L’Anglois (pedal steel, harmonica), and David Kirkpatrick (upright bass). All three of these fine gentlemen were in Travis Egnor & the Mighty Oaks (c. 2011). Wes and David were also players on the Dead Leaves record and Wes did some touring with Dead Leaves in mid-2012.
I’m happy to say that this weekend should be one swell time! On Friday, I’ll be doing a solo set at Taylor Books in Charleston, WV. Saturday, the Horse Traders are playing at, legendary venue, The Empty Glass for a Gov’t Mule after party show. With any luck, Warren and the boys will come and join us for a jam or two. Wishful thinking but, hey, a guy can dream can’t he?
Starting in early March, the Horse Traders and myself are Nashville bound to start on our first record together. We’ll be at the Tone Chaparral with the Tone Chaperone himself, Mr. George Bradfute. George is a bit of an underground hero in Nashville who’s worked with the likes of Todd Snider, Richard Bennett, and a personal hero of mine, Steve Earle. I’ve worked with before. George did my first solo record, “Pretty Bird” and I’ve regretted not doing every other project I’ve ever done with him.
This summer will see a lot more shows and – well, who knows at this point? One thing’s for sure, we’ll be making music somewhere.