Monday, December 31, 2007

Chicago, IL


Michelle & I walked 4 miles round trip in the freezing Chicago wind to have breakfast at Wishbone. It was worth it. I had crunchy french toast.
3pm saw me loading in at The House of Blues - which was across the street from the hotel.
I had a really great gig. We had many malfunctions but it was still a great set. Gerry Hansen, Patrick Blanchard, & myself backed Shawn Mullins up. I was in a weird position because I normally play mandolin on some of those songs. I did my best Peter Stroud impression. I thought I did a good job. An impression in the style of Rich Little; not perfect, but good enough.
Collective Soul took the stage around 11:15pm. Then New Years. It was a good time.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sacramento to Chicago


It took a while... the way that I went. Let's do everything in west coast time, shall we? I went to bed last night at midnight. I was up by 5:45am for my 6:30am ride to the airport (which was more than an hour away). Sacramento airport is pretty chill. My flight left at 9:40am. We had a layover in Vegas (I fell like I was just here). Then fly to Chicago. It took quite a while to get my bags. When I did, I met up with Kip & Shawn & we too a cab to the hotel. I checked in at 5:30pm (west coast time).
After that we investigated the deep dish pizza situation near the hotel. Luckily, there was a Lou Malnati's around the corner. I broke my diet, but it was worth it. Thanks Nexium.
I was in bed asleep by 10:30pm (west coast time).

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Oroville, CA


Yesterday was rife with travel. I woke up at 7am today. Of course, that's 10am EST. The most convenient part about playing any casino is the buffet. It's free (for us), it's all you can or need to eat, & it's adjacent to the hotel. Sometimes it's good... sometimes it's not so good. Lately I've been concerned with portion control. In the past I would make a couple small trips to the buffet line. Today I made one small trip. For some people, like myself, you have to be conscious of being full. I would normally eat until I couldn't eat any more. I just love food. Correction: I love good food.
I brought a few Christmas acquisitions on the road; one being the first season of "Heroes." In the spring of this year, just before the season finale of "Heroes," I caught the "Heroes" marathon on The Sci-Fi Channel. But, I started watching about 8 episodes in. I don't know how the story starts. I've been watching it in my hotel room today. It's pretty different. Usually something like this is not well embraced by the TV watching public. In this case, I'm very glad that it was (that means more seasons).
Also, in real life, the New England Patriots (the NFL team that I've been rooting for since '96) passed over one more speed bump on their quest for history. They beat the New York Football Giants (barely, by 3 points) tonight. They are the first NFL team to go 16-0 in the regular season. You probably already know this though. It's kind of a big deal.
We played a great, dynamic set tonight. It was very foreign but fun. In addition to my normal duties I had to play flute & keys tonight. I thought it went off rather well. Since there was one less player on stage, it was just 'that' much easier to hear & fall into the groove with the other 3 guys. It definitely wasn't the wall of sound that we've been dealing with over the past few years. It was a more 'moment' band that played tonight. The improvisations were better & there was no where to hide. I dug it!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Post XMAS Flight


Most of the folks on my flights seemed to be going home from vacation. Both flights were stuffed like a Christmas ham. I read a great deal in my "Recording the Beatles" book that I got for XMAS. It's really, really good.
We flew to Sacramento. Then we drove a little over an hour. I'm about to get into the bed around 3:30am eastern time. That's life on the road folks.
Listening: Emily Kate Boyd "Paint My Heart White" (slated for an '08 release)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Day to Forget & To Remember


I left for Macon, GA at 10am. I picked Chris HIcks up & we went to visit a friend of his. This friend was supposed to lend me a guitar that had some issues & I was to correct them while it was in my possession. After a long turn of events that I don't care to mention, Chris & I left his friend's place empty handed. On the way back to Chris's house I hit a dog. I didn't know what to do. The dog just ran in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes but still made contact. I thought for sure that it was dead. I ran Chris home. As I was making my way back to the interstate I passed the dog. It was alive & was being picked up by some one. I will never forget it. I hate myself for not stopping. I should've stopped & taken it to a vet or something.
I mixed a song for Y-O-U after I got back to Atlanta. It turned out really good. It's for a compilation put out by Paste Magazine for a tribute to U2. Y-O-U did "With or Without You" in the style of Sam & Dave ('60's R&B). I really enjoyed mixing it & for a minute I forgot about the dog.
Also, Michelle & I saw "Charlie Wilson's War." It was fantastic. It was even more impactful considering Butto's assassination this morning.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Depp sings?


Sweeney Todd is really good. Good in the way of 'these are well written songs.' Sondheim was a pimp. Is he dead? I dunno. They used all of his original lyrics & music. His arrangements are stellar. The melodies are kinda lame, but the lyrics are as good as any Kristofferson or McMurtry song. Well done. And Tim Burton did a great job like always.
Anyway, I got many episodes into the third season of Lost. It's getting really wacked.
I deserved all the lazy I radiated today.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas


I was up at 5:30am when I heard my Mom making coffee downstairs. I don't drink coffee, but I couldn't sleep. No particular reason... just couldn't sleep anymore. We had Christmas breakfast & presents at Mom's. Then we drove back to Atlanta for more Christmas fun. MIchelle & I did presents & she finished preparing the house while I put the presents away. Our Christmas 'dinner' started at 3pm. Everyone was gone by 6pm. It was a good time.
Also, I remembered that I got my first electric guitar on December 25th, 1987. 20 years ago today. It was a Lotus blackguard Telecaster copy. My first guitar cam two years earlier. It was a Franciscan 3/4 scale classical guitar (I was kind of a small kid). The electric was full scale & could get real loud due to the Fender Sidekick 25 that came with it. It's hard to believe that I've been playing guitar for well over 20 years. I feel like I should feel like an old man... but I don't.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve 2007


It only happens once a year. Michelle & I did a bevy of errands preparing for tomorrow. We're having Christmas lunch here at the house tomorrow.
We left Atlanta for Snellville at 4pm sharp. It was business as usual for XMAS Eve. I got to see my grandmother, Michelle's family, & Wallace. After the party at Michelle's Mom's house we left for my Mom's house. The boys (schnauzers) are with us. We are spending the night with my Mom & Brother. We'll see how the sofa couch holds up.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Decatur, GA


After I got ready this morning I helped Michelle prepare some food. We made sweet potato casserole, squash casserole, two cakes, home made mac & cheese, & sausage balls.
I then went to the studio to pack my car with gear. I played with Shawn Mullins tonight at Eddie's Attic. We did a handful of XMAS songs. Eddie Owen sang two with us as well. Jennifer Daniels played the late show & to my surprise Bret Hartley was playing guitar with her. It was good to see Bret. I haven't laid eyes on him since my birthday (in April).
XMAS is coming soon... hold on tight!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

to Spartanburg & back again


Josh, Michelle, my sister Ana, & my Mom went to Spartanburg for our annual XMAS get together for the family up there. It was a long day: over 7 hours of driving. I've been going up there every year since I've been alive. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Juno


Michelle & I saw the movie "Juno" today. I think it was very funny. It was the same kind of funny as "Superbad" but "Juno" had a center to it. I didn't feel that way about "Superbad."
I just got back from getting my brother from the airport. He flew in from southern California for the holidays.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Taveren, day five (or knocking it out of the park)


We worked solely on background vocals, barring the tune that needed a lead vocal today. I think that we all agree that the record it ready to be mixed at this point. Everything seems to have fallen into place on their album. I love it when that happens.
Not much else to report. It was just one of those days where you lower your shoulder & push forward.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Taveren, day four


I was up & erranding by 11am. I had a dentist appointment/cleaning today. It was the fastest that I've ever been in & out with the hygienist. Apparently, I've been doing very good homework.
I resumed with Taveren today. I worked for a few of hours before they showed up at 6pm. I had cut some electric guitars, wurlitzer, & acoustic 12 string guitars before 6pm.
Our main goal today was lead vocals for every track. We got 5 out of 6 done today. The reason our goal wasn't met was because they changed the words, melody, & melodic rhythm for a few songs. Some of these phrases none of them had ever sung before. It was a little frustrating, but if this is the worst out of this project then I'm home free.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chris Hicks, Day Two


A.K.A. Easy day. I ran some errands with Michelle (like most days). I also made it in to the studio by 4pm. I did some 'house cleaning' & such. Chris & his crew were a little late. Friend & Marshall Tucker front of house engineer Keith Glenn showed up early though. We had Ru San's sushi for dinner. We took our time.
Tonight's rehearsal went off without a hitch. Every one came prepared. They ran 10 songs (to the "T" I might add). The recordings I did turned out pretty good. I'm really happy with them. I think everyone was happy with the past two days of work. Especially Chris... it's his baby, he was the only one that I was worried about.\
Sleepy fun time!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chris Hicks, Day One


Michelle & I ran some errands today. I also saw a movie on onDemand today."Rescue Dawn" was one that fell underneath my radar last year. It was a really great picture.
After that I went straight to the studio & started setting up for Chris Hicks' rehearsal. It was quite an undertaking... only because I've been charged with having a PA & recording the rehearsal. I maxed out the mult lines in the patchbay... but I got it done.
It was a good night. I actually didn't 'press record' but I did get it sounding really good. Tomorrow we'll record a version of each song. Tonight was getting everyone comfortable & familiar with the arrangements.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More Holiday Cheer


Today was full. Full of cheer. Michelle & I went to Loganville (where's Loganville?!) for her nephew's 5th birthday. I had three hotdogs. They were so good. I couldn't help myself.
After that we went to Mark Cobb's house for a Christmas party. It was fun. After that we went grocery shopping. It was a full day.
It was really cold today... cold for Atlanta. It was hovering above freezing all day.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday Cheer


I went to Music-Go-Round today. I haven't been there in a while. I traded a few mics that I don't use for 2 mics & a guitar. I got a Beyerdynamic M88, an Astatic DR10S, & a Regal RC1 round neck resonator guitar. It was definitely a better trade on my end. I haven't used the traded mics at all since I moved to 800 East.
I got to see "I Am Legend". I really enjoyed it. I would love to see it again. That doesn't happen often with me. It was a rather tense movie.
MIchelle & I went to see her Dad's side of the family. We had dinner & opened presents. The wedding was a common topic. That's fine with me.
After that, we went to The Star Bar for Rodney's Toys for Tots charity.
It was a long day.

Friday, December 14, 2007

TaVeren, day three


I was supposed to meet a guy to do some modification to the control room. He cancelled an hour before our appointment. I wouldn't normally mention this but I could've slept in this morning & I didn't. I was in the bed last night at 3am & up by 9am. Today was filled with 'my type' of excitement. I went to Atlanta Pro Audio & used some newfound store credit, via sold consignment items, for a pair of Josephson C42's (short, small diaphram mics). They're kinda like the old Neumann KM84's. They were used extensively for tonight's session.
Marty Kearns engineered as I played Hammond, mandolin, Weissenborn, & a little bit of electric guitar. There was still work to be done on electric guitar, but I'll have to wait to see how the vocals sit in the mix with everything - how much space is left to add to the songs. Time finally caught up with me tonight. I was pooped by the time the end of the night rolled around.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

TaVeren, day two


Michelle & I drove home from Nashville today. We were both a little burnt from yesterday. I took a nap when I got home.
But that didn't last long. I met Carl from TaVeren at the studio at 6pm. We cut acoustic guitars, bass, & steel guitar for the entire record. Well, for the 6 songs that we're doing in The Small Room. This record is moving along nicely.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mo


Michelle & I drove to Nashville to celebrate Maureen Murphy's birthday. After we got to Nashville & checked into the hotel, all three of us went to Katy K's & Gruhn's Guitars. I got to see a friend from a long time ago, Rick Wilson. He was the guitar tech for Marshall Tucker when I first started with the band in 2000. He's now working for the repair department at Gruhn's Guitars.
Our dinner was at Watermark. It was a really nice restaurant. I had the Arctic Char. Drinks were at Sambuca.
I can't wait to sleep. It's been a long day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

TaVeren, Day One


Just drums. Just drums. Mark Cobb in on the drums. I got there early & set up. Mark walked in to a 'complete' situation. Not only was the kit set up & mic'ed but since I had charts for him we blazed through the first 3-4 songs. However, when we got to the last song, the boys in TaVeren "button hooked me." I didn't know they were gonna button hook me. They decided to change the last song all together. I wasn't so bad. The worst part was the loss of the 'gained' time that we manufactured due to our early prep & speed. On the glass half full side, we were lucky to be ahead of the clock. Otherwise, who knows, I may have still been there tracking 'til some time tomorrow morning.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Some Guy Named Kirk


I played a session today for producer Marty Kearns at Exocet Studios. It was a lot of fun. Greg Lee & Gerry Hansen were also on the session. It was like I was just hanging out with friends all day. We played a few songs for a guy named Kirk. I have no idea of his last name. I guess it was rather rude of me to not know.
I used the ES330 & the 65 London. I also played one tune on the mandolin. It was a day of success. Hopefully it will be contagious to the rest of the week.
Listening: "Dreaming My Dreams" by The Cranberries

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Still Undefeated


Two things to do today: it was Kile's birthday. Kile is Michelle's step father. We had mexican food. It was good. The other thing to do was watch the New England/Pittsburgh game. The Pats took care of business. I was wary of this game more than the rest of the schedule. They came through with flying colors. It looks like Mercury Morris might be getting worried too.
Listening: "Gymnopedies" by Erik Satie (I love piano music)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

TaVeren, pre-production


7 hours modifying songs. We took a real hard look at six sings for TaVeren's new album. They've already recorded their four singles in Nashville. I'm working on their remaining 6 album tracks. It's a sticky equation to work on songs & have them fall in line with other material. I guess the good news is that I don't have to mix it to match it with what they have. That's some one else's responsibility.
After that, Michelle, NIcole Jurovics, & I went to Eddie's Attic. Josh Joplin Group was playing for the first time in 4 years. My friend Geoff plays bass with Josh. It was a pretty good night. It has been a while since I went to the Attic & didn't have to play. I also met Garrison Star. I'm a fan. She's also really down to earth.
Listening: "Unchangeable" by Garrison Star

Friday, December 7, 2007

Try, try try, again


I went into the studio today with the best of intentions. To put it plainly as possible, some one else "took over" the studio for the weekend. They really had no rights to do what they did, but it would've made more mess than solution to try to work today. I did get a handful of useful things done. I played bass & modified each session by removing tracks from the session that I didn't like. I also cleaned the room a bit & tried to wire in a couple of other things.
MIchelle & I made a rare journey to Atlantic Station tonight. This was even more rare considering the time: nighttime & the fact that we're so close to XMAS. We try to avoid malls & such if we have nothing to buy. All, or most, of our shopping list is fulfilled. We had California Pizza Kitchen & went to see The Golden Compass. In the avenue of Harry Potter, Narnia, & Lord of the Rings, The Compass held up quite well. I really enjoyed it. I can't wait for the next one. I know that movie genres come & go, but I hope this lore-fantasy genre stays around for a while.
Listening: "Christmas Time is Here" by the Vince Guaraldi Trio

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Shopping DONE~! (as far as I know)


I'm done with my Christmas shopping. I usually get it done in one day. Yeah, I lower my shoulder & go right at it. Of course, I only shop for Michelle. She handles everyone else's present. However, this year, our list was rather small. We're saving our money for the wedding. We're the primary purchasers for the event. It's just easier on everyone (especially our parents).
I also ran some other errands today. Nothing to speak of. I will tell you this: whatever you do, don't ever patronize the Ruby Tuesday in Decatur. Their a big 0 for 2 with me.
The new diet is working out very well. I feel better. My throat is almost cured. Everything is illuminated.
Listening: "The Great Compromise" by John Prine

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Decatur, GA


Had early lunch with Mom & Michelle. Was in the studio by noon to listen to what I did last night. I'll admit, I was a little scared that it wasn't going to be a good performance. I'm glad to say that I'll be able to rest easy. I changed the keys on all of the songs. Shortly after 4pm I went home to change & pickup my guitar for the Eddie's show tonight.
Stephen Simmons opened up. He was great. The line up on the writer's in the round was Sonia Leigh, Adrianne, Emily Kate Boyd, then me. I had a blast. We did 4 serious rounds - then did a cover song each. The only thing about the cover is that it had to be a cheesy song. Everyone's choice was perfect.
What a great night. It was also good to see Shalom & Eddie.
Listening: "RIde Like the Wind" by Christopher Cross (cameo by Michael McDonald)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tolcher, again


I was up early... early for watching the end of that game last night. I met Michael Tolcher (as pictured) at the studio at 10am. We recorded a demo of a new song. He's been doing that with me & submitting them to his record company. All of these songs are really good. It's been a lot of fun to work on. 
After he left & I had lunch, I made some 'scratch' tracks for new songs. Well, one new song... I am reworking two older songs to fit the vibe of the record better. That took up most of the afternoon. Dinner & home. Michelle made fish. It was good.
I came back to meet Marty Kearns at the studio. He engineered me playing the drums on those three songs. Marty's got some mojo in his engineering. I highly suggest him for your project if you need an engineer. 
I'm plum worn out. Ain't nothing like a 13 hour work day... especially when you end it with 3 hours of playing drums.
Listening: I guess my new tunes... at least that's what's revolving in my head.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Scare!


I was home by 4:30pm. I then attended a home owners association meeting with Michelle. I also watched the Pats almost lose a game. It came down to the last play, tackle, & yard line. It was incredible. I love MNF. They're still undefeated. Represent!
I'm going to bed. I have a long, ambitious studio day tomorrow.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

New York, NY


Times Square to be exact. That's Times X Times= Times Squared or times times times= times squared. Whoa... that got out of hand real quick. 
This was my 3rd time at B.B. King's Blues Club. It was definitely a strange night. There was a lot of 'improvising' going on; sometimes good, sometimes bad. I did have fun, but it was strange. 
Well, it's over. And that's that. 
It's like the last day of school. The last day of school was always different. This is the last run of the year. Man, I'm tired.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sayreville, NJ


The only town ever named after Leo Sayer! Just kidding. We left the Casino hotel at 8am. I was up at 7:15am. I crashed pretty hard on our 5 hour trip across New York & New Jersey. I had a lot of time to kill today. The restaurant sucked so much at the hotel I went elsewhere. I walked a mile, both ways, in 20 degree weather to Ruby Tuesday's. 
I started another song today. I think it's going to 'make it' on the new record... however, every writer thinks of their latest work as their best. We'll see, won't we. 
I was glad to see that both West Virginia & Missouri lost tonight. That'll put Georgia in a more favorable BCS bowl. 
Our show was slammin' tonight. I felt like I couldn't play a bad note. I was having so much fun. I've played the Starland Ballroom many times. I loved it!