THE DRIFTING TO THE RIGHT BLOG
Picture: Ultrasound Studios recording console, Hanover, Mass
10/3/21: Well, we are finished. Stephen and I are doing final review and then we are ready to send our child out into the world. The order of songs has changed slightly and I will be getting together with Ashley Mauzy to make the changes to the back cover and also come up with a design for the inside jacket pockets, where we credit the musicians and share our thoughts about the album. I think we will be getting this out there on two fronts at the same time initially: videos of at least two of the songs and then getting the CD on the streaming services and physically produced so we can have this available for shows and for radio outlets such as WICN-FM in Worcester and WATD-FM in Marshfield. We will also be pursuing podcasts and music reviewers for the album. Updates here as we go along. We will have a record release event at Catbird Cafe at some point and I am also hoping to do something either live at Ultrasound or at the Spire Performance Center in Plymouth. We will be taking a shot of some kind of slot at Club Passim. We are also going to seek redemption from Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show (maybe pose as a cover band?). Lots of good opportunities out there as we all try to work about COVID-19 and stay safe.
8/18/21: Our last planned recording session was with Karen Sauer on piano who has been seen around the Roslindale Open Mike and Catbird Cafe in South Weymouth performing her often very incisive satirical songs as well as topical songs like her best known one, California Burning. In a previous life, Karen was on the Wellesley College Music Faculty and performed with an ensemble known as Just In Time Composers and Players, a group "dedicated to demystifying contemporary classical music and to cultivating close collaborations between composers and players." She was lauded by no less than Richard Dyer in the Boston Globe for her work at the time. In her current "ranting" life, Karen is the frequently hilarious satirist noted above. Karen was brought in to play on two of my songs, Dream and Brooklyn for Beginners and well, she knocked it out of the park. I am pleased she likes my music.
I have decided to use my Music Player as a place to preview some of the outtakes from our recording sessions so you can see what we have been up to. Final masters will wait until the album itself is ready to be shared with the world. On the outtakes, you can hear the work of my collaborators Colette O'Connor, Raianne Richards, Cliff Goodwin, Fred Meltzer, Beth Gray, Snake Gulliksen, David Jackson and Brenda Jane Meehan as well as Karen (and Joe, Stephen and myself). Six men, five women, a nice balance!
A picture of Karen from yesterday: Karen Sauer
8/3/21: On 7/24 Dave Jackson and his partner Brenda Meehan came to Ultrasound to record with us. Dave contributed guitar to two of the songs, It Is What It Is and Never Again and Brenda played flute on two songs, Dream and also on It Is What It Is (which is sounding positively apocalyptic at this point.) Karen Sauer is due to come in on Tuesday 8/17 and then we will be done with basic recording. We are aiming for a mid to late September release for the album and I am starting to draw up a basic publicity strategy for getting the word out. I didn't do this the last time when I released Firefly and I wish I had done so. There are a lot of different things to consider, including which is the right way to go for this particular album. Stephen and I are also trying to decide on what will be our first single release and what source to use for the CD duplicating and for general distribution (which might be two different sources this time.)
It's turning into a pretty remarkable album and thanks to everyone for their inspiration and contributions.
7/19/21: Last Saturday 7/17 was Colette Day! Colette O' Connor is gifted as a singer, guitarist and songwriter (her website at https://coletteoconnor.net/) and she is contributing her singing talents to the Drifting album. Colette recorded vocals for almost every song on the album and on Cadillac Dreams, she and I will be swapping choruses. Next week David Jackson and his partner Brenda Meehan pay us a visit and then early in August, we end the recording sessions with Karen Sauer contributing piano magic to the album. Stephen will be adding harmonica to some of the songs and in addition to his engineering, Joe Clapp is contributing with playing on oud, guitar and kettle drums. At this point, there is not much more to say and you, dear audience will be left to experience Stephen's remarkable production work. We're having fun and you will hear that on the album. They want to record my laugh, also.
As always, some pictures for you: https://tinyurl.com/3nwuvpsd and https://tinyurl.com/nzvjsutp
7/10/2021: Since last entry, I have been to the studio once more on 6/19 to record Fred Meltzer on drums. I wanted Fred to be part of the Firefly project but it didn't quite work. This time, it did work out and gloriously so! When the album is released, listen to the drums on Cadillac Dreams and Head Full of Garbage. Great work! Colette O'Connor was there but we ran out of time to record her so next Saturday, 7/17 will be Colette Day. I consider Stephen and Colette to be my creative core, the ones who have been with me since my five song EP Fifty Miles Away in 2011. Both of them are musically gifted and each of the three of us can be stubborn and that's why I love them!
Here is a photo of Fred, Joe, Stephen and myself from that day: http://tinyurl.com/7edbbbt3
One more note: Beth Gray and I performed together for the first time Thursday night at Mediator Stage in Providence. Beth is a Providence native now living in Western Mass. Here is a photo from Thursday night: http://tinyurl.com/dk2736ye
6/7/2021: While I am doing photos, here is one from a recent concert featuring Cliff Goodwin;
6/7/2021: Ashley Mauzy's (my niece) concept for my album cover has arrived. Here it is:
6/5/2021: We had to cancel this session. Joe was needed for a local high school graduation and the previously scheduled Friday before was rained out. We will return on the 19th.
5/30/2021: Beth Gray came down with me to Ultrasound in Hanover, Mass yesterday afternoon and made contributions on bass guitar to both Cadillac Dreams and Imaginary Tomato. We may be able to use Beth on a couple other songs, notably the It Is What It Is song. Eric "Snake" Gulliksen has contributed bass guitar work to Drifting to the Right and I'm A Realist. Cliff Goodwin's tracks have arrived and he is featured on Cadillac Dreams and Imaginary Tomato. I am waiting on Raianne Richards for her clarinet contribution to I'm a Realist. My studio engineer Joe Clapp performed Oud on my Dream song (beautifully!) and Stephen has added some other additional studio music touches. Joe sent me three tracks last night. We have two more scheduled sessions in June on the 5th and 19th where we will hopefully be adding vocals and drums. It's coming along very well and thank you so much to Joe and Stephen Martin, my producer for everything so far!
5/26/2021: The remote contributions are starting to come in and I can't wait to hear them! I am going back to the studio on Saturday 5/29 along with Beth Gray who will be recording live. We have two additional sessions booked after that for 6/5 and 6/19. The recording has gone quickly and soon we will need only vocals and drums. My niece Ashley is at work on the album cover design. Thank you to Rick Kneeland and Studio 50 for recording Cliff Goodwin's tracks and thank you also Cliff for your generous spirit!
5/10/2021: Talked with my producer Stephen Martin last night. Work has begun on production of my basic vocals and guitar tracks. Stephen is adding an additional guitar to Never Again. Joe Clapp. our engineer is playing Oud on my Dream track. Eric "Snake" Gulliksen, the producer of my last album is coming in to Ultrasound to add both bass tracks and fretless bass tracks to some songs. Beth Gray is scheduled to come to the studio on May 29th to do bass for Cadillac Dreams. Other contributions coming from Raianne Richards, Cliff Goodwin (!), Fred Meltzer and other musician friends as we go along. We started talking about a single release which could be my I'm A Realist song. We will be working through May and June on this and new developments will be posted here as we go.
4/24/2021: We finished the basic tracks at Ultrasound Today. The modulation on It Is What It Is went smoothly and the recording of I'm A Realist also went well. As it is about my mother, it is an emotional track to sing and sometimes that makes it easier to get it right. We also had time to review all nine songs and the next steps are up to Stephen, my producer. I return for any additions I personally need to make at the end of May and also to review what Stephen has done. Joe Clapp will be playing on the album, adding dobro to Cadillac Dreams. We will be also adding another guitar and a fretless bass to that song and it will likely be one of the strongest songs on the album. I took a picture of Joe's guitar army while listening back to the tracks and it is an eclectic collection: /files/1121454/joes-guitars.jpg
It is an angry album and that is what I intended. But I try to also balance the anger with humor and beauty and I think that is happening. The recording is going quickly and smoothly and the prep and voice lessons are having good results.
4/18/2021: Good recording session yesterday with Joe Clapp at Ultrasound Productions in Hanover, Mass. We recorded three tracks and the template for a fourth song, Imaginary Tomato. On my song Cadillac Dreams, we had to tune down my chords one full step and Joe had a guitar that was already tuned down to D G C F A D and also was nylon stringed, so shazam, the problem was solved. The seven songs we have in rough draft form are Drifting To The Right, Head Full Of Garbage, Dream, Never Again, Brooklyn for Beginners, Imaginary and Cadillac. Two more will be completed next weekend. Then starting at the end of May or before, the orchestration begins courtesy of my producer, Stephen Martin. We have several musicians in mind to help out with this and it's going to be fun. I had been having some issues with my voice but then halfway through yesterday's session, I found it again! I have registered the song titles with ASCAP so that is taken care of. We might be ready to roll with this album sooner than I expected. I am including with this blog a picture of the engineering deck and a picture of the recording space which is a really live room. /files/1120707/ultrasound-recording-console.jpg and /files/1120708/ultrasound-recording-room.jpg
4/9/2021: Starting to contact fellow musicians for the album. Recording my basic tracks may proceed more quickly than I expected that it would. Tried to paste a photo of my rehearsal space but couldn't do it here. But I do have a link: /files/1119270/rehearsal-photo.jpg
4/5/2021: I forgot to take pictures of my first session. I think I was a little in awe of getting the chance to record with Joe Clapp at Ultrasound Productions at https://ultrasoundproductions.com/about which was totally unnecessary, as Joe is as gracious a guy as you could imagine and I was immediately comfortable there. We recorded three songs with my vocals and guitar: Drifting To The Right, Head Full of Garbage and Brooklyn for Beginners. With the Brooklyn song, we decided to make it a mostly spoken word song with some singing in parts. Stephen brought ice tea, crackers, cheddar cheese and raspberry cookies, which I wound up taking home and have just finished off as I am writing this.
I am enlisting my niece Ashley Mauzy who works for Vision Marketing in Lynchburg, Va. to come up with a cover design for the album. Ashley did the wonderful, intricate cover work for my Firefly In A Jar of Emotion album and I am intrigued to see what she comes up with this time.
4/1/2021: And so it begins. On my way to do my first recording at Ultrasound Studios. Meeting my producer Stephen Martin there. Pictures to follow...