Monday, February 19, 2007

Kenny in Command

With three songs completed (Heavyweight, Back from Little Rock, Great Big Cosmic) at two different studios in the past couple of months, we now have ventured to yet another recording locale to finish our new album! Ted and the boys cut basic tracks for seven more songs a couple of weeks ago with Kenny Jones at Cotton Ridge Studios. We've been working on overdubs sporadically since then. The songs are sounding really great so far. Kenny's very understanding family (they had to listen to me sing harmony vocals, with no audible accompaniment, for a couple of hours yesterday) has allowed him to convert much of their home's ground floor into a recording studio. The control room, pictured above, is in a small finished attic above one of the second floor bedrooms. It's a cool setup and a very comfortable recording environment. Kenny is a fine engineer and producer and a lot of fun.

We're now working on arrangements for 6 or 7 new Jay-C tunes that we also plan to cut with Kenny, while polishing off T-Ho's new ones. It's shaping up to be a very different record, in a very good way, I think. Ted's playing a fair amount of piano, and I'm playing more electric guitar. The songs seem to be really distinct from one other. Refrain was designed purely as a last minute attempt (before I moved to the Midwest) to capture the songs that Ted and I had been writing and playing together over the two previous years. Having Marty and Casey join us was really exciting and made the record much better, but these were songs that could have just as easily been recorded as a duo. I see Can't Remember the Last Time as much more of a band record. While Ted and I still wrote the songs independently, the recording is much more informed by a full band "aesthetic" as these were songs that we had been crafting and playing live together for quite awhile.

This album is totally different in that sense. While some tunes have been kicking around for a year or so, many of them are very new. This has made arranging and recording them a little bit more challenging, but also much more interesting. I'd say we have fewer pre-conceptions about what they're "supposed to" sound like. We're definitely hearing some sonic departures, too. Not that we've ever been all that concerned with genres, but I definitely think this one is going to stretch us a little bit. In case you haven't noticed, I'm pretty excited about it. We all are!

Stay tuned!