Author Topic: Album Blog Part 1  (Read 2563 times)

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Offline justinguitar

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Album Blog Part 1
« on: August 05, 2009, 06:35:07 pm »

Hi all

Lots of people have written in and asked me to do some blog about recording my album, so I thought I would try and do some text blogs in my down time (when my producer is mixing or comping vocals)...

I am filming bits as we go but don't have time to get it all edited as we go, so we'll probably have a video together for the release of the album. We hope to get it all recorded and mixed by the end of August, probably for release in late October or early November, at least that is the plan...

So where are we at now?

All the writing is done, I wrote about 25 tracks for the album over the last 6 months, and I'm going to include a few older tracks too that I never really felt were finished and we have selected 12 of the best to record. We'll have 13 tracks on the album, one is still to be decided from the rest.

It looks like it breaks down into 3 kinda areas at this stage: We have 5 tracks with full band, 3 instrumental guitar tunes (solo acoustic vibe, not widdley widdley) and 4 tracks with lots of stuff going on but not drums. This is of course subject to change as we continue on, the songs seem to get a life of their own...

Well we recorded the band songs in June with Henry Spinetti on drums, Tim Harries On bass and me playing acoustic guitar, all live in the same room. We used Hugh Padgham;s studio which is a floor below my studio and has a great sounding room, an SSL desk and loads of great outboard and great microphones. We then had 3 weeks off while my producer Cesar finished off a project with Hugh.

So we started "tracking" (adding the overdubs) last Wednesday, and we are now full time into the recording, we work all day every day with weekends off... but I have lots to do then (like web site updates) so I am really busy as a one legged man in an xx--xx kicking competition...

Proposed Track List:

1. Cutting Out
2. I Pity The Rose
3. Love & Levity
4. Forevergreen
5. Falling Next To You

6. Waste This
7. Page 99
8. Imperfect
9. Turn To Tell

10. From Katie's Window (song for my sister)
11. Broken
12. Nashville (working title)

13. To be decided...

Wednesday 29th July

We started off going through all the tracks and just listening and getting vibes for them all and decided which ones we would work on in roughly what order, but it is always changing as we get new ideas.

We settled on starting with Cutting Out, a nice 6:8 feel medium tempo tune that I wrote with a girl called Emily, I had written all the chord and melody as a guitar instrumental, but knew the melody was too strong to leave it as that, it wanted to be a "proper" song and I was struggling to get the lyric right so I got Emily to come over and help me write the lyrics, which came together pretty quick. I like co-writing because it cuts out all the debate, you have someone to bounce ideas off and it makes it a lot faster than when I write on my own.

We started by recording electric guitar overdubs, little lead lines and the solo. I used by Telecaster into a 1967 Fender blackface Vibro Champ which I love the sound of. We used a borrowed Royer ribbon mic and a Sm57 blended together which sounded fat and full, surprising for such a small amp.

The solo was a first take that I played while just tracking the rhythm guitar, just played a little harder and and the sound broke up just a little and it sounded right. I find trying to play solos hard sometimes because I get into thinking about it too much, but this one just happened on it's own which was cool.

Then we added some shaker to the track and experimented with loads of eggs and other shakers trying to get the right sound for the track.

Once we did that we decided to have an early night (8pm) and went to the pub to chat about the vibe of the record and plan the rest of it.

Thursday 30th July

We started by working on some vocals for Cutting Out, we want to get the vocals done as we go and not leave them all until the end and then struggle to get them all done in a few days, which is hard on the voice. I don't think we'll use much from those takes because we recorded the vocal again on the Friday and they came out a lot better...

Next we got stuck into Page 99. Tim played upright bass on this once we finished the band tracks, we were not sure if it was going to work, but it sounds fab, his note choice and groove is superb. We re-recorded the acoustic guitar (Maton Messiah with a Neumann KM86 mic into a Neve 1073 Pre) which came out way better than the demo I had recorded. Next up we did the Mandolin parts which was fun, I have a very old Gibson Mandolin made in 1908 which sounds lovely so that plays the solo sections and rhythm bits too.

After that we started playing around with percussion and ended up me playing a big old bass drum that was lent to me by a drummer mate and just doing some flabby big hits to sit under the bass, and then playing some brushes on it's rim which sounds kinda like a shaker. Quite funny...

We also started playing around with a "Chordette" an old (1940's we think) Italian keyboard that Cesar owns, it kinda sounds like an accordion which we will use to harmonise the mandolin parts. I started working out how to play it, but then it got to late so we left it for the day...

Friday 31sy July

We started the day working more on the vocal for Cutting Out which went a lot better. Even though we started pretty early I seemed to be feeling the track better. That took quite a while but we got there. I never like the sound of my voice, but I think this sounds ok, and we'll cover it up with lots of backing vocals later! ;)

We then got into recording Waste This acoustic (Maton Court Jester) which I got down in only a couple of takes.

Then we started on the lap steel part... which took quite a few hours. I used my 1941 National New Yorker and Hinton volume pedal. We had problems getting a sound that we liked, so we tried out all my amps and settles in the end on the Fender Twin Reverb going through a Roland RE-201 Space Echo tape machine. We then went through each bit of the track one bit at a time and worked out where needed what and then put it in. We had a lot of laughs and it turned out pretty good in the end.

We finished about 9pm and had the weekend off. Tried to chill a bit and get ready for this week, cos we have lots to do.

It's Monday now and Cesar has just finished comping the vocal for Cutting Out, now we're off for lunch. More in a few days...

"You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room." Dr. Seuss


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