Category: Creative process, Music, Studio

… or a week in my case.  There’s not always something to write when things aren’t moving quickly, then there’s a torrent. That is pretty much how it felt this week. John (bass player) and I rehearsed on Monday night in preparation for the Cobbs Mill Inn feature set at the end of the week. On Tuesday I played six songs as Ratso and Johnny G’s featured artist which was made all the more fun by friends and new fans turning up.

Wednesday was a music night of sorts. I’m a member of the Stamford Photography Club. They’re not only great photographers but a super nice bunch of people. The club has a wide age range and mix of backgrounds, which adds to the diversity. Anyways, to finish the September-May season the club hosts a Digital Photo Essay Night*.  Limited to 5 minutes in length per entry, optional sound could include one’s own commentary, taped music, or sound effects.

The ‘Keep on Walking’ music came runner up. It’s wonderful a) for the club to have let me include it even though it’s not my photography and b) to know that Alex and Chris Kiener, whose photography first inspired me to write Keep On Walking, were regarded in such esteem for their sensitive eye.

Thursday was a long-awaited session in the recording studio to work on ‘Softly’, the 12th and final song for the forthcoming album BookCoverJudge. It was the first time Steve Hansen and I had come together since Steve layered in Harry Whalley’s rhodes, organ parts, and his horn arrangement. There is a whole blog I’d like to write about this song but for now I’ll keep it to the highlights. We had a lot to go over, especially as I truly wanted to serve the song. The twist in the tale is that the sound of the song in my head had a late 60’s soul style. Scottish lassie, American 60’s soul? Hmm.

The first time Steve and I met in session for ‘Softly’ I came ladled with songs that I wanted him to listen to so as to help set the tone/style of the drums and bass. Amongst them were Aretha’s A Natural Woman, and Bridge Over Troubled Water, both great examples of how the bass tucks into the drums. Amy Winehouse’s Love is A Losing Game had an interesting reverb on the snare and a great guitar sound.  So, at Thursday’s session I came to the table with two more songs: Aretha Franklin’s I Can’t See Myself Leaving You and Say A Little Prayer. The former was a good example of how the bass is a really prominent instrument and how the guitar and horns replicate certain parts. The latter was more straightforward, namely how a good triangle can sound :-).

Through our discussions Steve and I not only got on the same page but were dancing on it, so much so that the session was a dream because we were in sync.  In short, we changed the bass line, swapped out the Epiphone for a Telecaster and jammed together to help Steve find the right guitar sound and style. Less was definitely more. It was a full-on afternoon going into the early evening. However, I still had rehearsal to do for Friday’s show.

Friday arrived. The show went well aside from a few hiccups.  Having only just leased a car over here, this was my first experience of driving in pouring rain, on unfamiliar country back roads, and late at night . Definitely a night to remember. However, once home I got onto my wee balcony, and played through Troubled Town. It then dawned on me that Steve had sent a file of our Thursday session. Headphones over Beanie hat, I listened to the song. My heart swelled. It’s beautiful and totally resonates with what I had in my head.

It’s also a hell of a way to finish the album. One more session on May 30th should do it: vocals and possibly a sax/trombone.

Reading back this blog, there have been a lot of busy days. But it’s all good, I mean, what would we do without music in our lives?

Time for the Greenwich Town Party. Buddy Guy and Santana await! 

Happy Memorial weekend!




*From Wikipedia:  A photo essay (or “photographic essay”) is a set or series of photographs that are intended to tell a story or evoke a series of emotions in the viewer. A photo essay will often show pictures in deep emotional stages. Photo essays range from purely photographic works to photographs with captions or small notes to full text essays with a few or many accompanying photographs. Photo essays can be sequential in nature, intended to be viewed in a particular order, or they may consist of non-ordered photographs which may be viewed all at once or in an order chosen by the viewer.

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