Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Monday, on King Day, I had my final recording session at Karma Frog. It was a wild adventure making this album. There is still mixing (which my producer Adam Marsland is also handling) and mastering to go. But here's a recap of what we hath wrought.
The session focused on backing vocals and a little ad libbed spice. We polished off five tracks with some wild results. Vocalist Teresa Cowles joined us midway through the day so that we could manage some live three part harmonies; as well as a poignant counterpoint duet on Huckleberry Finn. One of my favorite moments of the entire deal, sitting right next to Lady T in the studio to put down that vocal. I am persistently moved by that song each time I hear it. I had been joking about Eddie Murphy's riff on Michael Jackson crying in the studio. Of course, then I get misty listening to the playback. Oh, irony.
Prior to that Adam gave me a little stage direction and room to create and I invented some new scat vocal parts for the bridge and the coda of the title track, So Sophisticated. Much to our musical delight.
The most rigorous vocal was the last chorus of the album for the song A Miracle Is On The Way. The last part just wasn't satisfying and I realized that I needed to channel Martin Fry and do a full-throated finale, not my trademark falsetto to ride off into the sunset. It still took Adam to convince me that it was the right performance. That's what producers are for, not to say "yes" to every whim of the artist. Ha ha.
Also, I finally determined which episode of Parks and Recreation features my composition, U Had The $. It is the show entitled Fancy Party from Season 3. It is available through iTunes and Hulu. So check it out. Starting around the seven-minute mark, you will hear it playing at the party for several minutes. Super cool to watch Amy Poehler and hear my song. Super cold!
So for the next few days, I will be listening to Adam's mixes to get a handle on the finished recording. We are accelerating so that I can release a single in March. I will announce shortly what I have selected. You are going to dig this entire album; but there are some truly special moments that I cannot wait to share with you.
Peace & Disco Beats.
Monday, January 09, 2012
Hendershotts Across The Bow
Tonight, I had a great collaborative meeting with Adam and Sylvia Hendershott who will be photographing the album cover for So Sophisticated. I am excited to be working with such artistic people. The project is motoring along nicely. We listened through parts of the new record; rapped about some favorite album artwork; drank some Folger's. I made a wisecrack about doing an album cover using only Instagram and Adam H. snapped a shot that is straight-up David Ruffin. Brilliant. Ha ha. Not only did we discuss the LP cover and what we want to accomplish, we began preliminary talks for a music video to coincide with the album release. Several different groups have approached me about videos; I look forward to working with all of you. Anyway, I am preparing for a March release at this point; just to make sure all facets are joined and shiny.
This morning, I got to hear an early mix of "Saffron Dancer" and the horns! Oh, my. In a word: COLD! The horns come blasting through. Adam (Marlsand) recorded and mixed them very effectively. Of course, Messers. Davis and Williams did some sublimely dynamite work. I can't wait to share these tracks with you.
The final recording session at Karma Frog will be on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I think that's an appropriate occasion to celebrate and finish the album. The last session will entail putting down the remaining backing vocals. I am pleased to announce that the Urbane Hobos have been brought into the studio to do backgrounds and have been recruited for the last session as well. Adam M. does have a bit of trouble keeping them from laughing over each take; but it is worth it to work with them.
Tomorrow night, I will be joining Adam M. and his band for his next '70s show at Cinema Bar in W. Los Angles. It's a night of free entertainment, your favorite and some obscure covers from the 1970s. Not to be missed. Hit this link (The Return of Adam's '70s Show) for the show info! I hope to see you there.
Time to turn in, perhaps another cup of tea and a little reading.
Monday, January 02, 2012
Top 10 of 2011
The holidays were a wonderful time for me. I hope they were for you. Lots of blessings and fun events going on at church and the studio. That's right. During the last two weeks of the year, I finally got the horns laid down for the album. Larry O. Williams (Gap Band) and Rahmlee Davis (Phenix Horns; Earth, Wind & Fire) provided tenor sax and trumpet, respectively. It was a true honor to work with them and even more of a thrill to hear their playing on my own compositions. Our next and final recording session at Karma Frog is scheduled for King Day, Jan. 16. We will be wrapping up the background vocals. Then it is all down to mixing and mastering.
Then I will be able to concentrate on artwork and the other promotional material to go along with the album. I am sure that this will be my favorite record of the Dozens as my friends and I are calling 2012. Of course, how can I let the year begin without a recap of my favorite recordings from 2011? Well, here goes; a combo of LPs and singles. In descending order:
1. Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part 2. Don't call it a comeback, call it a party.
2. Tom Waits - Bad As Me. A close-shave second. Rollicking, dark and danceable.
3. Duran Duran - All You Need Is Now. Call it a throwback. Their best complete album since Rio.
4. Roy Orbison - The Monument Singles Collection. Monophonic bliss circa 1962 from the man in the glasses.
5. Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do? Motor City soul by way of Ann Arbor for the 21st Century.
6. Hanson - "Give A Little." A pure single serving of pop.
7. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues. A sublime collection of modern folk-rock.
8. Wilco - "Dawned On Me." I actually heard this on the radio. Remember radio!?
9. Foster The People - "Pumped Up Kicks." The catchiest single about mayhem and gunplay this year.
10. Midnight In Paris. Original Soundtrack to Woody Allen's comeback. File under Jazz.
11. Bonus for 2011. Black Keys - "Lonely Boy." The video for this single sold me.
Happy New Year! Check back soon for more updates from the studio.