from the heart of Georgia
|So, just got back from hard hittin' New Britain, Connecticut where I spent the week helping Barry Richman, Jaimoe, Dave Stoltz, and Matt Zeiner do some recording.|
Barry is an amazing musician from Atlanta who I have been fortunate to work with for the last 15 or so years. A highly advanced guitarist. What Barry's producer, Paul Kelly (HoraceGammet on this site), likes to do is put Barry together with our friends we know in the business and let them create, total freedom. We had used Jaimoe once before on one song that never has been released to date and since Jai, Paul, and I are all very close, we wanted to do a whole album with him.
I met Dave Stoltz and Matt Z through Dickey, and have always been knocked out by their playing and vibe, and it was a natural thing to include them on this project. Matt opened a studio called monsterlabs (aptly named, because Matt is a monster player and can sing his ass off...) in an old factory and the room has this really warm sound.
After having our fllight canceled into Hartford on Sunday, we begged and wheedled until Delta had pity on us and got us on a flight 7 hours later. We had to go directly to Sully's from the plane where Jai and Dave and Matt were waiting for Barry to get in some jamming before the sessions started. Our Pammy Moondrops and Sari were there to greet us and they sure were sweet to be there for us. It was Pete Scheips gig, and he cleared off the stage for the big boys, and that was a very fun way to start the adventure. Thanks Pete!!
Barry and I had talked about which tunes to record on the flight up, and had already sent a tape of stuff to the guys, just as ideas to work from. Paul had also done a bit of pre-prod stuff, so although we didn't have a solid plan, with improvisors of this calibre, there is no need to plan out the session, just have an idea of the general direction and then let the players creativity rule the day (and nights)...with Jaimoe as drummer, we wanted to play to his strengths, which are jazz, blues, and second line New Orleans funk.
Our schedule was usually 12 to 6, take a break, and then come back around 8 or 9 and play until everyone was ready to stop.
Once we got in and started cutting, Barry would start playing a progression, the guys would chart it out, and then would have a go, fall in and find the groove. After each new song, the guys would be wondering what song that was, seemed sorta familiar and Barry would say, oh, that is something I just wrote, on the spot.
Paul and I were real busy, keeping the good vibes, uh, high. Production is hard work!!
The 'proper' way to work in a studio is to isolate each player in a room, put headphones on everyone and play. Well, Barry has never liked that way of recording. He likes a live situation and so we ended up putting everyone in the same room and baffling amps. I could tell Matt (as engineer) was thrown some by that approach, but once we started cutting, he was amazed at the sound and feel of that method and it worked out great. His studio has a great sound. Something about the brick walls and old wood floors and ceilings just produced a fantastic sound.
There were many highlights on this session. Brother Dave started out on a newer Fender bass, but it was a tad trebly, so he switched to his 64 Gibson EB0, and the difference was amazing. Beautiful round tone now was issuing forth. It is funny how these old vintage instruments make such a huge difference in regards to tone.
The covers that were recorded ranged from Sonny Landreth to Freddie King to Coltrane and Bird, among others, plus the original tunes from Barry. It was a very productive session and we have 40 or 50 cuts to sift through, which will be alot of fun!! I can't wait for everyone to hear how Jai was swinging his ass off. Dave and Matt were playing very intersting and compelling lines all week, too. Man are they good.
Barry is one of the few cats who can shift effortlessly between jazz and rock and blues. An extemely soulful player who fuses the blues with jazz, jazz fusion, and anything else that flows through him at the moment ( he calls himself a classic rock player, but he is really a jazz/blues/funk master). This is not a man playing scales, more like a sax player blowing phrase after phrase, an endless supply of ideas that gels into one of the most original voices in the business.
We had to leave early Wednesday night to head into Manhattan where Dave and Matt had a gig at BB King's playing with former members of Great Southern. Barry got up and played on Southbound, Whipping Post, and Liz Reed and brought down the house. Kris Jensen was just knocked out and laughing the laugh of incredulity at the stuff Barry was throwing down on those tunes. Not your ordinary solos on those songs, to say the least...a great night, and capped off by elagrua, Heidi R, Sari, Danny, Rainy, Yan, and others who came down after Dickey's Beacon show let out. Tommy Booth was also there and jammed a fine Elizabeth Reed with the guys.
All in all, a memorable week...it was great sitting next to Jai in the cutting room as he was doing his thing...Sitting between Barry and Jai while they were going full out was like being between Coltrane and Elvin Jones...the ideas that were just flowing like water, the intensity, the groove...I was in heaven.
Not much sleep, full out Gonzo production from HoraceGammet and Goliath, who have done this before a time or two, LOL...the pros from Dover came in, screwed it on, and departed in a sorry shape, LMAO...I imagine the players are pretty exhausted too...not easy playing for 10 or more hours a day for five days straight in an improv situation.
Anyways, coming soon (it only takes us 3 or 4 years or longer for us to finish records, so just hang tight, LOL...just kidding, it will be out within 6 months I hope) have some overdubs and post prod stuff to do and this will be available to the public.
I have an idea: let's pretend we're real human beings.