Thursday, October 24, 2013
Dogs can indeed grin. As we near the end of the mile-long washboard road that leads to Stone Bridge Studios, our car is greeted by Micah, Sugar, and Dante, our three enthusiastic hosts for the week. We climb out of the car and among barks and kisses we are herded by these three insatiable hearts into the 19th century stone farmhouse. Quite appropriate for the recording of a collection of songs we intend to call "Ruby". We are further greeted by the warm smile of Stuart Martin, engineer and owner of the studio, a few horses and cows, and yes, three grinning dogs.
"We", by the way, are myself and two dear old friends: Jake Armerding, who has played fiddle, guitar, and mandolin with Eddie From Ohio for the past 6 or 7 years, and with whom I undeniably share some DNA, musical and otherwise. He'll not only be playing, but producing this project. I was introduced to Jake well over a decade ago by Rachael Davis, who has just flown in from her home in Nashville. I met the Michigan-born Rachael when she was about 17 ("I've known you for about half my life!". Thanks Rachael), and she's in possession of one of the more soulful voices and delightful personalities you'll ever encounter. In case you aren't sold yet, she also plays the banjo.
So, yes, we are three old friends gathering to record about 10 new-ish songs of mine and although we know each other well, and it already feels like the making of a band, we have never, ever actually played together as a trio. Jake is committed to recording this album almost completely live, vocals and all, with very few overdubs. This is a rare approach in this day and age when technology affords artists convenience and flexibility, and a certain ease of process that didn't used to be available. It's more than a little scary. This live approach makes it necessary for us to not only play the right notes and sing the right words--it requires us to do something a bit more soulful, something less easily grasped. It requires us to make music.
It's this tension between the very familiar and the complete unknown that has us all a bit giddy, and by the time we complete the first few takes of "By Your Side", we all know something very special is going to happen here. We grin. The dogs grin back. Life is good.
ON THE HEELS OF RECORDING, I WILL BE PERFORMING MANY OF THESE SONGS AT JAMMIN JAVA, VIENNA, VA ON SATURDAY, OCT. 26, WITH MY 16-YEAR-OLD SON, ETHAN OPENING THE SHOW. CHECK THE TOUR PAGE FOR DETAILS.