Andy Pond at Hollow Reed Studios

Last week I had a couple days in the studio, and the highlight for me was my old friend Andy Pond stopping in to record a few banjo tracks. I have to admit that one of the tunes we threw at him was a “hail Mary”, the first song that was going to be on the chopping block. It is one that I really like, though, and we had spent a good bit of time on it and recorded a bunch of options, but none of them were working. So before I threw it out I thought I’d give Andy a shot at fixing the dang thing. We stripped it back to just my live performance and Will’s bass track, and started there. And within 45 minutes Andy had recorded a banjo track and a cajon hand percussion track that put the song squarely back in the list of the very best on the album! I will also admit that just hearing that particular way Andy plays with my rhythmic style took me back about 15 years to the time when we played together up in Boone as we were both just getting started. I won’t lie, I got a little misty thinking about it. It’s funny how time can change a lot of things but can also leave a lot of others untouched. There was a moment in time that the sound of me and Andy together was the best thing I’d heard and a part of the soundtrack of my days. There are some recordings of us made by our friend Jimmy Dulin back in the day that sound very much like this tune we just recorded, although not quite as good. Well, at least not quite as “mature”.

So good progress was made on the recording front, and so far no songs have been cut. I do have one or two in mind, but we’ll see how they play out over the next week. I don’t give up easily.

I’d be remiss in reporting my activities in operation “figure out how to make a living or at least really enjoy yourself a lot of the time playing music” without conveying the part about the actual business of getting gigs and making music. I had a meeting last week with an advisor on the music scene, and I would call it very productive, at least from my point of view. He helped me get refocused on the bigger picture and remember a lot of things I’d heard before but not internalized about how it’s done and how to keep on moving forward even when it feels like you can’t. And here’s what it looks  like today: I have been working here on the computer for the past 3  hours sending out booking inquiries and making follow up calls to venues. That’s what I’ve done after my 9 hour work day on the day job. It really takes a lot of time, and there’s no way around that. Somebody has to do it, and every single time someone has offered to or said they’d do it in the past I’ve been let down, so I guess it’s time to start to learn how to do it myself. I’ll get it, it just takes time to work up relationships with venues and booking contacts. And here we come back full circle to the “do the next right thing” mantra and let the stuff after that come up later.

Then after the music business for the day it’s time to reach back out and keep in touch with all of you reading this, as none of it will work without you. I’ve been a little slow posting the past couple weeks. but it’s just because of having to concentrate on taking care of the day job and fitting in a couple days of recording as well. There are only so many hours in the day, in case you hadn’t heard.

I am back in the studio on Thursday and Friday, recording my (shredding) guitar solos and (non shredded) vocal harmonies. That’s not too bad a part of the process, but it can have a lot of the same mind games action as the initial recording. I’m not too worried about it, because I can just show up and do my best and that will be good enough.

There’s no doubt at all that this is the CD I’ll be most proud to hand out to anyone and say “Here’s a good example of my music”. It’s got some rough spots, but so do I. I can’t wait to get it to you all, and thanks again for your support. I already said it once, but I’ll say it again: I couldn’t do it without you.