Here's the deal. I'm getting really close to wrapping up the production of my album "Follow the River Bend" (...release date: 11/1/2011!).
I've learned a lot more about recording music in the last two months since I've been doing regular visits to Handwritten Recording Studios in Chicago to get the album recorded. Working with Rick Riggs (sound engineer and studio co-owner who has helped record over 85 albums there!) has been a huge help in me achieving my goal of producing an album this year because of his great enthusiasm and expertise in the studio. In looking back, I can summarize our strategy and one of the things we did from the start was decide that we were just going to be authentic as possible. Essentially, we would do this: embrace imperfection.
This was a handy strategy because I am a passable guitar strummer-person, a fairly inexperienced vocalist, and an untested songwriter. Rather than worry about being perfect, and having a recording that was "ready for radio", I needed to face reality. That kind of music is exactly the opposite of the spirit of what I wanted to do. I wanted to take some of my songs and render decent versions of them for me to get out into the world. I had no plan to redefine the speed of light, but rather, take music I had written throughout the year and make it into something I could share with people.
At the studio, every time we started a new song, that was the most anxious moment. On a few occasions we stepped away from something that wasn't working, but it really helped that I was prepared and somewhat rehearsed. So when it came to laying down the first track -- let's say just plain ole guitar -- I didn't strive for perfect. We did several takes, of course, but all in all, we embraced the imperfections of the moment. The buzz in the strings (due to my playing). The momentary timing issues here and there. My singing perhaps not quite timed right at the end of a line. All kept. Not looked at as disaster, but as opportunity. Not something to necessarily be fixed using software. Rick's first-class work with microphones, wiring, studio sound proofing -- and wizardry with digital audio workstation software -- allowed us to quickly move through songs and embrace the writing, or at least the attempt to do something completely human, completely authentic -- and spiritually, my music.
"Follow the River Bend" will be released on November 1, 2011.