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"A Musician must make music, an Artist must paint, a Poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself." - Abraham Maslow
I recently began work on my next full-length CD release. Although I've released two singles via iTunes in the past few years, my last big project was in 2003. I've been writing new songs along the way and recent intuition has made clear this is the time to record them. Thankfully, the project got off to a great start on July 20th at Cloud9 Recording in Central Islip. Having worked at Cloud9 in the past on my last CD and on last year's Kathy Fleischmann Band CD, I knew it would be great to record there again with owners/engineers Joe and Jack Napoli.
Playing this latest bunch of songs will be a talented group of musicians who I've worked with on past projects. I am pleased to have Joe Chirco playing drums and Al Improta playing bass. Joe has been flying all over the country playing with The Donna Jean Godchaux Band, The Mark Karan Band, The Dave Nelson Band - too many to list. Al is one of the finest bass players on LI. I will be singing and playing all of the guitars, I may play some keyboards, and I will be having more friends join in on backing vocals and additional instrumentation.
The first session yielded final rhythm guitar, bass and drum tracks for four songs: "Follow the Money", "Nobody's Friend", "Brooklyn, 1964" and "A Rock and a Nail". Although I've been performing most of these songs solo over the past few years with just acoustic guitar and voice, I've always been able to 'hear them' with larger arrangements. My prior experience creating arrangements for rock and jazz music comes in handy here. Arranging the music and hearing it all click into place is actually more fun than writing it. Writing is not always fun - particularly when you have an excellent chorus but the verses you've written just aren't measuring up yet, or you have some lyric you like but appropriate music just isn't registering yet. Once the song is finished, however, arranging and performing it are totally enjoyable - especially if the harmonic content and groove of the song make it a good vehicle for improvisation.
Here are some recording details for fellow guitarists: A 1960's Fender Vibrolux amp, restored to 1950's specs, was the amp used for all songs. I played a '57 Gibson Les Paul re-issue on "Follow the Money" and "Nobody's Friend". I played a Fender Strat on "Brooklyn, 1964" and a Gibson Lucille on "A Rock and a Nail". Jack Napoli had a selection of guitars ready for me and I was able to grab the right guitar for each song. They have a large collection of vintage guitars and amps at Cloud9, and Jack's selection of that Fender amp was also an inspired choice. Not a one trick pony, it brought the best out of each guitar we plugged into it, sounding different with each one.
Joe Napoli was at the mixing board. As in past sessions, he gave us great headphone mixes that made it easy to play and captured some inspired performances. It was a very productive day in the recording studio!
I'm currently finalizing some of my arrangement ideas for an overdub session, and by September I hope to get Joe and Al back in the studio to record the rhythm tracks for the next group of songs. Although I'm not on a deadline, I'd like to have recording completed sometime this fall. I'll provide updates on the recording process as it continues.