Sunday, November 29, 2009

Recording Report #2: Drum Tracking

So last Monday, November 23rd, we hunkered down in an old farmhouse in Dane, Wisconsin to record all of the drums for the upcoming album, the "we" being: Jeremiah Nelson and Andy Hartman (engineers), Adam Cargin (drummer), and myself (devilishly handsome songwriter extraordinaire).  Jeremiah, Andy, and myself went out to the farmhouse the night before and set up all of the recording equipment, and then proceeded to have a campfire and drink a few beers.

We started setting up drums at around 10am on Monday, and worked until 8:30pm or so.  It was a long, but super productive day of recording, and I'm very happy to report having all of the drum parts for the entire album done.  Next up, we'll be doing the rhythm guitar parts, probably at the beginning of next week.

Here are a few pictures of the farmhouse and from the session:


Jeremiah and Andy setting up the night before.

The farmhouse, my dad was born in 1941 and grew up here.

The farm in the morning, shrouded in fog.

Adam setting up his drum kit.

Room mics, set up at different distances from the drums and in different rooms.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recording Report #1: Demos

So work on the new JS album has begun.  It will be my first album with a full band on it (drums and all), and I am super excited to work on it and release some new songs.  I will try throughout the process to keep anyone who bothers reading this blog updated on the progress and perhaps provide some insight into the process.

The addition of drums on this album brings a whole new level of work to the project that I am pretty inexperienced with.  First of all, I have never really had to worry too much about the tempo and consistency of timing before, as it never had to fit into the rhythmic framework of percussion.  As long as I concentrated on doing my best to keep in time when recording the guitar, we could just add in the vocals, banjo, mandolin, etc. on top.  That is how we did it with the last studio album, Our Love Was Made For Canada. 

This time around, we have to record everything to a click, meaning that while recording the guitar and vocal parts I am listening to a metronome set to the right tempo in headphones.  Last night we went through this process at the apartment, recording demos to a click in my bedroom.  The we, being: myself, Jeremiah Nelson (who is engineering the project), and set wizard Adam Cargin (drummer for the Blueheels), who will be playing the drums on the album.  Sound engineer Andy Hartman will be joining us next week for drum tracking, and for tracking on the rest of the album as well. 

We spent 5 hours or so recording demos for all of the songs with drums (most of them), just the guitar and vocals.  You may remember from a previous post that I had mentioned already doing some demos.  At the beginning of the month I sat down with Jeremiah and recorded some basic demos, not done to a click, just to get to Adam so he had an idea for what the songs would be like.  The demos recorded last night are more utilitarian, so we have something to build on.  Next Monday when we track Adam's drums, the demo tracks will be piped through headphones while he lays down his parts.  Then, we will simply discard the demo tracks and start adding things on top of the drums.  Cool, huh?  Can't wait to start drum tracking next week, we're doing it in a 100+ year old farmhouse that my dad grew up in, just north of Madison.  Stay tuned, I'll keep ya'll posted on how we progress!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Song - Lyrics and such...

So I wrote a new song last week, and wanted to share it with you as best I can over a blog.  They lyrics aren't the deepest I've ever written, and I'm a little hesitant about them as they are more risque than those I usually write (and I know my family reads this blog), but I really like the feel.  Its a shame I can't transmit that feel over a blog, but you will just have to come out to a show sometime soon and hear it live!  It doesn't have a name yet, but for my own purposes and amusement, I am temporarily labeling "The Booty Call Song".  

Phone rings, every other week,
You've had a few, and say I'm what you need.
Some day, I swear I'll say no.
But you had me persuaded at hello.


And you take your dress off fast,
and you take your dress off fast,
and I'll always be your last,
Yes, you'll always call me last.

Leave you, when you fall asleep,
And walk home through the empty late night streets.
Leave you, by yourself,
That's the way you like it, just you and no one else.


When you, when you call again,
I'll come over back into your bed.
When you, when you fall asleep,
I'll say goodnight and kiss you on your cheek.  


The feel of the song is in 6/8 time, and it switches between the measure being broken up into two groups of 3 beats and three groups of 2 beats.  I hope to record the song in Budapest in January, but until then, you can catch it live!  Check my website for tourdates.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Work Started on the New Album, Euro Tour Update, and Midwest Shows

Wanted to keep you updated on a few things:

Recording has finally started for the upcoming, full band album! I recorded most of the acoustic demos for the album last night with my friend and cohort, Jeremiah Nelson. He and Andy Hartman will be engineering the album. We only have one demo left to record, and they are then being passed on to the drummer for the album, with drum tracking happening at the end of this month in Madison. I'm really excited to begin work on this new disc, and hopefully we can have a Spring 2010 release!

Also, I've been continuing work on the Europe Tour this coming January, 2010, and have several gigs booked already. Here are the dates scheduled so far:

9th - Tovarna Rog, Ljubljana, Slovenia
13th - iF Kavezo, Budapest, Hungary
15th - Subterrarium, Vienna, Austria
19th - Subway to Peter, Chemnitz, Germany
21st - Sptaz Und Wal, Unna, Germany
24th - Mobile Blues Club, Hamburg, Germany
25th - Pony bar, Hamburg, Germany

I'm currently getting help from a booking agency in Belgium and working on some gigs there, and hope to add Prague and Paris dates soon as well. I'll keep you posted.

Lastly, Until I leave for Europe, I have lots of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois dates coming up. I'm playing this Thursday at the Brink Lounge in Madison at 9pm, with another prominent Madison date being November 18th at the High Noon Saloon with Cait Shanahan and her band. Two Milwaukee shows this month as well (Nov. 7 and 20), and some Minnesota dates in December with Josh Harty and Blake Thomas: December 10th at the 331 Club in Minneapolis and the 11th at Beaner's in Duluth. Lastly, I am doing a residency at Uncommon Ground in Chicago in December, and will be playing there every Wednesday that month with special guests.