I thought recording was all about the shoes (see last post) but alas. Here’s part two about my journey to making a new album. No fancy shoes but lots of fancy playing.
The drive to the studio was more than lovely. Fall is in full swing just across the border in Quebec. In case you’re worried, I was not driving when I took this photo. Notice the high volume of traffic.
My guitar and ukulele were finished in previous sessions so now it’s time for the bass. Here’s Ken Kanwisher creating his magic on “Learning to Sail.” James Stephens is the engineer/co-producer. That’s my vocal and guitar you hear on the computer.
On that day Ken recorded nine songs in six hours. Beautiful, creative parts. Six hours. I should call the Guinness Book of World Records. Lesser bass players would’ve taken twice that.
For the next session, Ken played piano. On a real grand. This is my eleventh album and I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone play a grand piano. We always made do on an electric keyboard, then added electronic stuff (that’s a technical term) to make it sound like a piano and while that worked, there’s nothing like the sustain of a real piano. The feel is better for the musician, too. It’s like driving a Ferrari after you’ve been behind the wheel of a ’73 Gremlin.
Conversation was often fun:
James: I’m sorry it took so long to set things up.
Ken: I’m sorry it took me so long to get that piano part.
Jamie: <rolling eyes> Canadians.
I’m only half Canadian so I’m not as well versed in the fine art of apology. And really, neither guy had much to apologize for. James had trouble getting all the headphones to work. It’ll happen when you’re dealing with cords and computers. Eventually he figured out a work around and we were good to go. And Ken took a bit of time to get the bluesy feel on one of the songs but in the end, we got a great part.
While he was pounding the keys, I was in an isolation booth singing vocals. That’s so the sound of the piano won’t bleed into my vocal mike. It makes it easier to mix later. That and you really don’t want the diva singer-songwriter to be too close to the Real Musicians.
James put a heater in the booth with me. How sweet is that? It may have been a crisp fall to the Real Canadians, but to this born-and-bred Arizonan (that’s the desert y’all), it was cold that day.
Two more sessions are planned for next week where we’ll finish up the bass and maybe add cello.
I love this part of making an album. It’s such a thrill to hear what other musicians do with my songs. There’s much more to come — banjo, mandolin, trumpet, vocals, fiddle, second guitar, and percussion. We’re recording over several months so the album will be out in 2019, maybe in the spring. Keep track of my progress at this blog, www.jamieanderson.com or simply listen for the screams of joy emanating from the palatial offices of Tsunami Recording in Ottawa, Ontario.
Until then, stay warm and wear cool shoes.