Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nada Damn Thang

I spent all but 4 hours in the bed today. I've got a really nutty December coming up.
I watched the whole season of "True Blood" on OnDemand. That show was well done. I also watched the Falcons win yet another game.
I also forgot to mention that the Georgia Bulldogs lost to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets yesterday. That was pretty painful. They haven't done that in 8 years. To add insult to injury, I think we're going to lose our quarterback to the NFL this coming off season. You can't win 'en all.
Oh well.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Atlanta, GA

Today was fantastic. Michelle & I spent the first half of the day together.
Then it was off to Shawn Mullins-land.I left the house around 2pm for the studio. There, I picked up half of my rig for tonight (only because that's how much fit into my Saturn). I drove the mile to the Variety Playhouse & dropped it off. Then I did it all again, picking up the other half & starting the set up. It took about 45 minutes to set everything up like I like it.
Sound check was typical. Tiny sonic problems fixed with a twist of a knob. I came home after & watched the movie "The Departed" on HBO. It's nice to relax before a show if you can.
Chuck Cannon opened up. He & his guitarist were great.
Our set was pretty flawless. Gerry Hanse, Patrick Blanchard, Davis Causey, Randall Bramlett, & I were the band for the evening. I loved it. I'm tired though. Moving all that gear back to the studio after a day like that wears me out.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mullins Rehearsal, Eddie's Open Mic FInals

Matt, Emily, & Maureen left the house shortly after I did. I arrived at the studio at 10am. I had a lot of 'cleaning' & moving things around the big room at the studio. I also had to set up my gargantuan instrument set up. It took quite a while to implement all off the instruments.
Kip Connor, Shawn Mullins tour manager & FOH soundman, showed up shortly after 11am. He set up a small PA & helped me get the room just right for a full house of musicians.
We had two other of the usual suspects: Gerry Hansen on drums & Patrick Blanchard on bass. We had two new addition though: Randall Bramlett on keys & Davis Causey on electric guitars.
It was a different sound. It definitely not Peter Stroud. It sounded good though - but different.
After a day of rehearsal I ran home to change clothes & make my way to Eddie's Attic. I was a judge at Eddie's Attic Open Mic Finals tonight. We started at 7:30pm & I left at 12:30pm. It was quite a night. I loved it though. I am tired too.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day

What a relaxing morning off! I watched last week's episode of Dexter on Showtime this morning on OnDemand. I finally took a shower & helped Michelle prep the house for our Thanksgiving Day party. We had a small party compared to our history here in the house. I think it was around 15 people this year. I was very relaxed & cool.
I stuffed myself silly. It's was kind of fun to have that change of pace. I changed my diet quite a bit over the past two months & none of it included stuffing myself silly. I'm not even going to eat dinner.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gareth Asher (day 5.5)

I was up at 8:45am to eat, print out the string parts, & take a shower in time to leave by 10am. I meet Russell Carter at the studio. We edited The Bridges' song that they're pitching to Coca-Cola. I also did a handful of alternate mixes for them. At noon, the string quartet arrived for Gareth Asher's session.
I was still setting up when they finally sat down & got tuned. It was pretty automatic. I took three takes of each song. It only took an hour & a half to play 5 songs. I had a little glitch in one arrangement but it only took 2 minutes to fix.
I did a bunch of mixes for Gareth to take home for the holidays. This was a half day for Gareth (hence the 5.5).
Then I made another couple of requested alternate mixes for The Bridges after a last second e-mail from Russell.
I was home by 4pm. Matt Mangano, Emily Brown, & Maureen Murphy showed up 30 minutes later. We had dinner & spent the rest of the night playing Wii, surfing the internet, & talking.
Today was great!
PS I also found out that my nuclear stress test was clean. I'm going to live another day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gareth Asher (day five)

Michelle & I left the house around 9:45am. I dropped her (& the boys) off at her parents' house. I, then, went to my doctor's office to take my nuclear stress test.
About 2 months ago I went for my yearly physical. He said my EKG looked kinda funny & suggest (but really told me) to have a nuclear stress test. So here I am.
They put an IV in my arm & administered a radioactive dye into my blood stream. Then they sat me down in this "camera" to take pictures of my heart while in a rested state. Then, after waiting another 30 minutes in the waiting room, they put me on a treadmill to get my heart rate up to 160 bpm. It took 13 minutes of constant exercise to do it. The technician said that most people with "problems" have chest pain around the 9 minute mark (where I didn't feel a thing).
Then they filled me back up with another dose of the radioactive dye. I then sat in the camera again. We'll see what the result is in a couple of days after some one reads the results.
Gareth & I resumed tonight around 5pm. I played Hammond on the rest of his record. He sang on a couple of tracks. Then the party began. Walter Ray showed up & played some great blues harp on a tune. Then a bunch of folks showed up to sing on a tune (gang vocal style). It sounded fantastic!
Most of the folks stayed to the end of the session to party & hang out. Gareth sang on a bunch of other songs. It was a very, very productive night.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gareth Asher (day four)

I was in the studio until 3am last night. I made a final mix for Russell Carter to submit to Coke for this commercial. We'll see if they bite.
I got here at the studio around 1pm. Mark Cobb was supposed to meet me at 2pm for percussion. He eventually cancelled around 3:15pm. So many things popped up during his last day in Atlanta before the holidays that he couldn't fit me in. I understand. Sometimes you just can't do everything.
Gareth showed up at 4:30pm & we started on vocals. We took a break when Ryan Newell showed up to play some guitars. He played some great stuff.
This album is going to be the best thing that Gareth has ever done.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gareth Asher (day three), The Bridges (day one)

We started at 11am (which means I got there at 9am). I played bass on all of Gareth's record this morning. I was really pleased with my work & also ahead of schedule (for a short time).
Some one dropped the piano (4 inches) off of the dolly at some point last night - & didn't put it back. I enlisted 3 folks to help me pop it back up on the dolly.
After that the day went to plan. I set up for piano, Hammond, & electric guitars. That took a minute or two. Scott Little & Josh Huff came & played electric guitars on a couple of songs. Gareth wanted to make a "guest heavy" record - & we're gonna do by God.
Gareth also finished final piano on the record. It was a very productive day.
I went home & had dinner with Michelle around 7pm. I returned to the studio at 8pm for my evening session. I don't double dip very often, so it's hard to pace myself for these days.
Ben Holst helped me engineer some tonight. He had nothing to do so he helped me. The Bridges finally showed up around 9:15pm. We cut drums, piano, bass, tons of vocals, electric guitars, & Hammond organ for a song for Coca-Cola. It's still in the pitch phase & uncertain for actual use. I'll let you know how it turned out.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

So Happy Together

MIchelle & I spent the day together. My schedule has become so hectic that I have to schedule time with Michelle to ensure that we spend good time together. We ran a bunch of errands. It's just good that we spent some time together.
We had dinner with our neighbors tonight at a Turkish restaurant. I've never had Turkish food. As an American, I feel like it's similar to Greek food (but I'm sure Turkish people would take offense at that - but it's just an opinion - Sorry!).
I'm sleepy with a long day ahead tomorrow. Good night.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fly It On Home

It was a long flying day again. I was up at 2:30am for the 3am pickup. We rode an hour to the Sacramento airport. Our flight left at 6am for Phoenix. We had a 2 & a half hour layover there. Then it was on to Atlanta.
I got in around 4:30pm. Coincidentally, my Mom's flight came in two hours later. So I plopped my stuff in my on & moved it from off site parking to hourly parking. Then I met her at baggage claim. I brought her to the house where she jumped in her Benz & drove home.
Michelle, our friend Heather, & I went to see "Twilight." I was pretty disappointed. Such is life.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jackson, CA

I had no idea there was a Jackson, CA. They say you learn something new every day. After a late, late night last night (1am PST - after being in EST for the past few weeks), I got up at 6am this morning. No reason. Just woke up & was wide awake.
I started Gareth Asher's string arrangements. I made a pretty good dent in them today. I also made a ton of phone calls. I had a long list of things to do today & did every one of them. I feel very accomplished.
Our guitar tech forgot my pedal steel. It's still on our equipment truck doing nobody any good. Tonight's show was great though. Jim Wagner from WCR pickups sat in on half of the set with us. It's always nice to see him & Carol.
I'm watching Sweeney Todd on cable in the hotel room. The music in this thing is awesome. Brilliant really.
I have a 3am (PST) lobby call. I'd better get all of the sleep I can.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Travel Hell

I had a late, late night last night. I was in the bed, exhausted, by 3am. I got home & packed my bag & did a couple of errands around the house before I finally went down. I still had to get up at 9am to meet Coy Bowles at the studio at 10:30am. He brought me 3 CD's full of music to learn for the Zac Brown Band.
I came home & showered & downloaded these songs plus a slew of other stuff onto my iPod. I took the dogs for a short walk & then packed the car & took of for the airport.
The onsite parking lots were full so I had to go with plan B: off site parking. A little less convenient, but I'll live. Security was a non issue - which is always nice.
I HATE U.S. Air. Here's my flight-day: Atlanta airport by noon, ATL to Charlotte, 3 hour layover, Charlotte to Phoenix, 30 minute layover, Phoenix to Sacramento, then an hour car ride. I got in the bed at 3am eastern time. Traveling can suck... & it did today.
The only bonus is that I'll wake up in the Casino hotel tomorrow 300 yards from my gig.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gareth Asher (day two)

Michelle left early this morning for a quick vacation with her parents. My Mom showed up at 8:30am. I took her to the airport. She is going on a business trip. I came home for a couple of hours to relax & regain my composure. After a bowl of soup I ran a couple of errands & returned to the studio for a little piano tuning. Then I mic'ed the piano & set up some mics for acoustic guitar as well.
I went home & let my dogs out so I didn't come home to a house that smelled of urine. I quickly returned to the studio to meet a couple folks before our 4pm start time.
Gareth played acoustic guitar on 4-5 songs. Then we took a break & went to my house to let the dogs out again (& feed them). Then we fed ourselves at Little Azio's.
He finished the record on acoustic guitar then we moved on to the piano tunes. Gareth played piano on 3 tunes for the record. He's hasn't been playing piano for very long so it took him longer to get his takes right for these tunes. It's completely understandable but we got some great tracks.
I made a couple of rough mixes of what we have for some tunes. I needed to have something to listen to for arranging strings. I'll have a little down time over the next 2 days on the road. Well - maybe not downtime, but I have nothing to do.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gareth Asher (day one)

I met Gareth at the studio at noon for lunch. Originally, we were supposed to start at 4pm today. But since Gareth had to cancel yesterday we had to meet early. We started around 1pm tracking scratch tracks: tracks that Mark Cobb played drums with that line up with a metronome. We call them scratch tracks because we have no intention of them making the final mix.
We got everything done in a timely fashion & I had a little time to set up for Mark's 4pm arrival.
Mark was business as usual. He was great on the drums tonight. Marty Kearns turned me on to this snare mic that I love for a "quiet" snare sound: AKG 452 with an S capsule. Marty's got a pair of them. It doesn't work on a loud, rock snare - but for a controlled, fat sound, it's the one!
We had dinner with Michelle tonight at Rice Box. It was quite an evening. We had a couple of visitors to the session as well: Gareth's sister & Mark's wife. It was easy going & turned out some great tracks.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I was supposed to meet Gareth Asher for his first day of his new album. He called in sick this morning. That kinda throws my whole schedule in the blender for the rest of the month. I'll just have to make due.
I spent most of the day writing drum charts for Mark Cobb. He'll play on this record tomorrow.
I really didn't want to do this today. I guess it's the procrastinating 10 year old coming out of me. It was amazing the amount of things that I accomplished to keep myself from really starting this record. It's not that I don't like the music. I guess I wasn't in the mood. Mood is for cattle & love play!
I took a break this afternoon. Michelle & I galavanted to Atlantic Station. I needed a new pair of jeans. We also had dinner while we were out.
I started back arranging Gareth's music & finally finished around midnight. Here's to pressure tearing you up.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Big News

In a conversation yesterday with Milton, the Hammond guy, I realized that he had a stash of Jensen P12N's - which are useless to him. They are, in fact, very useful to me... & usually very expensive. Great guitar cabinet speakers! I went to his house this morning to pick up a pair. Original cones & everything.
I ran a couple errands today. I also informed The Marshall Tucker Band that I'll be leaving shortly after the start of 2009 - sometime around February. I will be officially starting with the Zac Brown Band. I'm pretty stoked about the change. They're really good guys & good musicians.
Michelle & I went to their CD release party at Stats. It was a private party at a upscale sports bar downtown. I was happy that she got a chance to meet everyone in the organization. I was also surprised & glad to see the enthusiasm for my addition to the group. This will be cool.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Long Time Coming

I ran a few errands today. Then I started printing Brian Wiltsey's mixes for mastering. Milton, the Hammond guy, showed up at 11:30am. We installed my Hammond into my control room. This way I can play Hammond & not hire an engineer to operate Pro Tools. I can do it all in the control room myself. I'm so selfish.
With an open afternoon & Michelle deep in a book I attended Brian Wiltsey's mastering session at Red Tuxedo Mastering. Alex Lowe & I have a great working relationship. I'm very pleased at the final result of Brian's album.
Michelle & I had some neighbors over for dinner & Wii. We made the grilled cheese & they brought the chili (which was fantastic by the way). Then we spent the next couple of hours playing Wii.
I'll sleep well tonight. I'm pretty pooped.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Almost a Day Lost

A slew of us Camp Jammers got to the Miami airport around noon. Atlanta was fogged out though. Our flight ran about an hour late. We were lucky to get out when we did. I got to rap with Jeff Carlisi for a while. It was cool.
I finally got home in time to meet our local Hammond guy, Milton. We were supposed to meet at the studio but a part he needed wasn't delivered by UPS in time. So we moved our appointment to tomorrow. At least it will get done.
I finished Brian Wiltsey's mixes tonight. He & I made the final decisions on all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Camp Jam (day two)

I slept in. I got an amazing night's rest. Kudos to the beds at the Hollywood Westin.
I showed up for lunch & shortly after our day really began. I was included in "the rock stars." However, they all split off to teach most of the ADC attendees to play instruments. I stuck with the songwriting group. We taught a room of 200+ to write a song.
It was weird & not well organized but everyone seemed to like it.
After that we had dinner & I took about 30 minutes to go back upstairs & lay down. It sure felt good - even if it was only 30 minutes.
Then, for the next 2 hours, the folks who ended up being instructed by the "rock stars" had their "recitals." That time was better suited to doing something else but I stood their & watched.
Then, the concert. Jimmy Hall from Wet Willie, Jeff Carlisi from .38 Special, Liberty Devitto from Billy Joel's band, Jack Blades from Night Ranger/Damn Yankees, & a slew of other performers headlined the event. It was fun to get to play with Jimmy Hall again. I really like his style.
My ears were ringing tonight but in a good way.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Camp Jam (day one)

I was up early & off to the airport. There I met up with Nick & Mark from Y-O-U. Also, Brian Bisky & Alan Yates - we all headed down to Miami for some Camp Jam fun.
We got situated in our Hollywood, FL hotel rooms in time for lunch. I spent a couple of hours napping & watching ESPN in my room. Then there was rehearsal. They've put a bunch of rock stars together for this event. It's a team building event for ADC. It's kinda hard to explain what tomorrow actually brings for this event - because I still don't know exactly what we're doing. I'm sure that I'll find out the hard way.
More details to come...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Home (for a day)

The bus rolled in to the Atlanta airport around 4:30am. I unloaded a ton of stuff & filled my little Saturn to the gills. I was home by 5am & unloaded all of it. I had a little breakfast & then did my little "coming home" ritual (i.e. starting laundry, emptying my suitcase). I woke Michelle up. We talked about things for a hour or two & then I crashed for a 4 hour nap.
The day kind of got away from me. I did get everything done that I wanted to do - but I had to rush towards the end of the night to do it.
I have an early morning tomorrow. I need to get a real night's sleep.
PS Most of my blogs mention rest & being tired. I guess it's because I write these at the end of the day. I must sound like I'm tired all of the time - but I'm not... just when I sit down to write my blog.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Daytona Beach, FL

I spent the morning in the bed at the hotel. Even though we got in at 8pm I didn't crash until 2:15am. It's my insomnia creepin' in on me. I guess you could say that I have a lot on my mind.
We left the greater Orlando area around noon for Daytona Beach. We got rooms a stones through from Daytona Speedway. They had an outdoor basketball court. I spent a couple of hours shooting hoops by myself. I love basketball. I love playing it & watching it. It's truly the greatest, fastest reactionary sport.
We played at the new Bethune-Cookman University performing arts center. The crowd was great - the room was great - &, needless to say, the playing was great. I played the late Toy Caldwell's guitar all weekend. David Warren brought it out for the weekend.
This is the last "bus" show of the year. I love changes - like the change from working all the time to a little bit of down time.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Kissimmee, FL

I woke up in the parking lo of the hotel in Kissimmee. I was the last one off of the bus. That never happens. I must have been sleeping very, very well.
Anyway, I had lunch at the chinese buffet across the street with David Warren, our road manager. The Dawgs won (barely). Also, there are a couple waterslides attatched to the hotel's pool. And by waterslide I mean a big waterslide! I did that a few times to shake things up today.
We played an early one today. We left the hotel at 3:30pm & we were back by 8pm. That gave me ample time to relax this evening. I'm enjoying it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fairhope, AL

I had a down day today. I spent most of the day trying to rest. I didn't get much last night. I rolled into the bunk around 3:30am & rolled out around 8am.
I had a very relaxing room & there was some decent TV on too.
We played with Wet Willie tonight. Jimmy Hall is amazing. I'm going to hang with him a little next week for a Camp Jam event. Our set was blistering.
Lots of things going on that I can't report just yet. It's the weight of the world on my shoulders & we'll see how it plays out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Million Tiny Things

The past few days have been riddled with to-do lists with a lot of little things on it. I took my "new" Esquire (see August 23rd) to get refretted. It should take a week or so for Peter Jones to get the job done. I trust no one else in this town with such an important instrument. He does such good work... for me anyway.
I spent most of the day running errands with Michelle. I think we got everything done. We picked up a copy of the new "Shawn Mullins: Live at The Variety Playhouse" DVD. I also got a chance to watch it. It is fantastic! I suggest all of you to pick up a copy. In it you'll fins a 220 pound version of me playing a multitude of instruments with some of Atlanta's (& Augusta's) finest musicians.
The bus picked me up at 2am at the airport. We're on our way to LA (lower Alabama).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Back to Work

I was rudely awaken by my alarm clock this morning at 3:30am. Our flight left Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport by 5:55am. I played a great deal of trivia on the plane. They have these touch screen activities right in front of every seat on the plane.
Michelle picked me up at 11:30am. We had lunch at home & I took a shower. Shortly after I rolled into the studio. I spent the rest of the afternoon mixing Brian Wiltsey's album. I'm pretty happy with it.
Brian showed up after dinner to approve the mixes & give some suggestions for changes. I sent him home with a CD of the current mixes. I'm sure there will be a tiny laundry list of things to change. It's always the way!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Phoenix, AZ

I woke up dry here in Phoenix. I spent the day helping the crew set up the stage in the ballroom at the JW Marriott Resort. THat, coupled with a "House" marathon on USA did my day well.
We played a great set for a flat crowd - then again, we played for a room of defeated Republicans.
Congrats to Obama/Biden. Let's put all of this drama behind us & move forward. It would've been nice to vote a month ago & let the new administration start tomorrow. THey need to start soon to fix the mess that we're in. I'm a proponent of immediate action. Let's do this!

Monday, November 3, 2008

On to Phoenix

I got up & paid a visit to the Fulton County Tax Commissioner. I sold my Jeep to my friend David & had to cancel my registration in Fulton County today. It was relatively painless - except for the parking... lots of early voters.
After that I paid a visit to two banks. Then I decided to galavant around town & visit many of our fine musical instrument dealers. I found a set of Paiste 602 14" Hi Hats. I stole those. On my way out of the store I noticed this wacky looking little amp against the wall. It was a Matin 112. Martin: the acoustic guitar people.
I then made the 45 minute trek back to my studio & looked it up on the computer. It was a rare, lauded amp. I immediately packed up a few amps & nick knacks & drove the 45 minutes back to that music store. An hour later, I left with the amp & a smile on my face. Pretty damn cool.
Michelle dropped me off at the airport at 7pm. My Delta flight left at 9:15pm for Phoenix. It was an easy peasy flight. I'm pretty tired though - with a side of dehydration to boot.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's Fall Ya'll!

I got in around 2am (the old 3am) from the bus. I copped a 2 & 1/2 hour nap on the bus which really screwed up my sleep pattern. I didn't crash until 5:30am (the old 6:30am). Then Michelle got me up at 9:15am to leave by 10am for her parents' place. We rode up to Dahlonega & Helen with them today. Dahlonega was cool but Helen was overrun by a bunch of weirdos. It was just plain uncomfortable. I din't suggest it if that's the way Helen has gone.
Other than that - great day. Lunch at the Smith House. Brunswick stew at Michelle's Mom's house. I can't complain. Hell, even the Falcons won today (that's more than I can say for yesterday).
See you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Darlington, SC

BItter defeat! My Dawgs got destroyed today on national television. It wouldn't have hurt so bad if it was anyone else but Florida. I hate Florida!
Anyway, I left the house in time to meet the bus at noon at the airport. We drove straight to the 7pm gig in Darlington. It was a poorly attended but well played show. It was nice to have a little time off from 'the machine.' We'll have more of that soon - really after this coming week.
Over & out.
PS. My Morning Jacket was great on Austin City Limits.