Friday, January 29, 2010

Los Angeles, CA (day two)

Day one was 75% traveling. We did, however, find time to rehearse our Grammy tune with Leon Russell. What an awesome musician. I'm really stoked about Sunday's performance.
Day two was not much different. Michelle & I woke up early. I guess we're still on Eastern time. We had Denny's for breakfast. Not impressive but good. We left for camera rehearsal at 11am. Everything was expected. It was very much like the CMA rehearsal: professional & quick.
We also got to go to the gift lounge & get a bunch of stuff that we didn't need, but took anyway.
We spent the evening, off the clock, in Redondo Beach at a quiet little seafood place on the water.
Lots of stuff this week. I'll try my damndest to keep you updated.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Errands, rest, packing. That's all til tomorrow.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sheesh (AKA Miami area show)

The show was fantastic. It just, straight up, feels good to play. I literally haven't had time to write - & here's why:
Saturday, Jan 23rd - After a late night/long day in the studio, I kinda slept in. I met Kelton at the studio at 11am so he could pick up his gear & 2 of the 3 hard drives from the sessions. Michelle & I had lunch at an Indian restaurant for our friend Heather's birthday party. We came home & sat in bed & watched some TV. Then it happened. We picked Eric up & went to meet the bus at 6pm.
Long story short - the bus wasn't going to run tonight. The bus company sent another bus (from Tupelo, MS). It arrived 2 hours too late. Even if we left right as he got here at 2am, we would've been an hour late for our set in south Florida. So, we booked flights for Sunday morning for Miami.
Other than being super sleepy & without a shower, the day went very well. Gloriana, then Sara Evens, then us, then Rodney Adkins, & finally Montgomery Gentry - that was the line up. Our hour set was fantastic. I had a ton of fun.
We left the gig around 5pm for the airport. There was some terrible weather in Atlanta on Sunday... so they cancelled 3 flights & delayed the two flights before ours. Our 8pm flight was delayed until 11:15pm. We did take off, but we were all fried... Chicken Fried.
Anyway, Michelle picked me up. I showered & crashed. Today, we ran some errands, rented an OnDemand movie (The Hurt Locker - I suggest it), & just relaxed for the rest of the day/night. I only have one more "day" of rest 'til the Grammy madness starts on Wednesday. Tadow!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Zac Brown Band - Studio. Day Seven

Word. Today's been a long one. I let Kelton inside the studio around 10am. I then sprinted back home to pick up Michelle & then she dropped me off back at the studio. One car... oh well.
Around 11:30am Shelly Brown showed up with two racks of clothes. That band met in the big tracking room & we tried on clothes for the Grammy red carpet next week. I gravitated right to what I liked. I tried it on & it was a winner. Thanks, Shelly.
After that madness, I kept everyone happy in the two control rooms. Kelton & Keith were editing the last tune's drums in one room. John Hopkins was cutting bass on the last few tunes in the other. Dinner showed up & Hopkins finished & left for the evening. I spent the next few hours comping my piano takes from last night.
During this time Zac was recording his gut string parts on a couple of tunes. By the time he moved on to electric guitar, I was backing up the master drive in Hop's room (while cleaning the studio & trying to leave little evidence that we were even here).
This is the last day of recording for this block of time. As you can tell by the past few blogs - there's still a lot to be done.
Let's talk tomorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Zac Brown Band - Studio, Day Six

More editing. I came in early to open the studio for Kelton & let in the piano tuner. After the tuner started tuning, I was gone. I went home for some rest & lunch. After I returned we packed up most of the band's gear & removed it from the tracking rooms to get a head start on tomorrow's load out.
We had a contest with our fan club & the two winners came to the studio today. They were really cool. They watched me track some piano, John track some bass, & ate dinner with us (courtesy of Chef Rusty Hamlin). It was a great day.
After dinner, I went to get a haircut. I returned to track piano on 2 tunes & a smattering of another tune. A lot to do tomorrow after they get some editing. I can reclaim my room & edit my piano takes & record some Wurlitzer piano. Bring it, Friday.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Zac Brown Band - Studio, Day Five

I officially did near zilch today for the studio. Kelton & Keith were hauled up in my control room editing drum takes. 17 songs takes a while to edit. John Hopkins continued to play bass on the edited drum tracks. I did, however, come in handy when it came time to record upright bass. John played & I recorded. The upright was a '60's Kay. It sounded amazing. Zac just bought it from Gruhn's - but I think John will buy it from Zac soon.
We rocked a Coles 4038 into the Neve 1073. We also lightly used Kelton's Retro 176. Really impressed. Not much else to report. After I left, JOhn continued to track electric bass in the control room. I'm warn.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Zac Brown Band - Studio, Day Four

You could hardly call this a studio day. I showed up first & moved things around in the live room. I set up an electric guitar station, moved the piano to a better location for tracking, & generally tightened up the whole space for more efficient recording. Kelton & Keith started editing the drum takes around 10am. John Hopkins played some bass on the edited takes. He also did some editing. I left around 11am. Only to return one time to see how everything was going. It was a catchup day. A non-day.
Michelle & I caught "The Fabulous Mr. Fox" at The Plaza Theatre. I was pleasantly surprised. Wes Anderson has a style all his own. I suggest it for all ages as well.
I don't know what tomorrow will bring in the studio... all I know is I'm ready.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Zac Brown Band - Studio, Day Three

I let Kelton in at noon so he could back up everything that we've done thus far. I had lunch with Michelle & then I returned to the studio to finish the basics tracking on this record. Today we had only 5 songs to complete. Sure, 3 of the 5 were to be the most challenging, but we slayed it. Between 3pm & dinner, we finished 4. Dinner was coma worthy (thanks to Rusty Hamlin), but we managed to finish the last tune.
An hour plus was spent tearing down most of the room. I still have a lot to do tomorrow. BUT... Chris Fryar (drums) gets to go home to Birmingham tonight. Only John Hopkins & I are to report tomorrow. That's all I know.
This album is great. Even if we include all 17 tracks (very unlikely), there are no weak tracks on this thing. It will also be a while until it's finished. We should have all of the instruments tracked this week, but vocals won't get done until next month. Then Kelton won't mix it until Gid knows when. Still, I can't wait for you to hear it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Zac Brown Band - Studio, Day Two

Today was great. We started around 1:30pm. We ended up getting 8 tracks of basics done today. That's light speed for you non-engineers. Michelle joined us for dinner tonight. That was a great surprise.
Not much to report due to my tiredness. SInce Michelle & I are down to one car right now, I had to walk half way home from the studio. Need rest. Start back at noon tomorrow.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Zac Brown Band - Studio, Day One

After my late night last night I got to sleep in. I didn't show to the studio until noon. I would like to have said that we accomplished something as a band before 8pm, but that would be false. We were ready to record by 6pm, but the dinner bell rang. John Kelton & Keith Stegall are here helping us make this record. We did, however, record 4 full tunes between 8pm & midnight (averaging a tune an hour). That's flying in studio time. We have 14 songs left to do &, really, 6 more days to do them. What that leaves is extra time to really dig in on some these extra musical ideas on each song. Everything sounds amazing & we're settled in. Tomorrow should not only be a piece of cake... it should be at least half of the cake.
This album really means a lot to me. Sure, ZBB's current release is kickin' it old school on the Billboard charts as we speak. BUT, I'm not on that record. I really feel like we have forged a sound with this current line up too. We have something to prove with this sophomore record. I'm feeling good about it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bracing for Impact

Today was par for the week. I love spending time with my wife. Is there such a thing as "double marriage?" I'd do it right now if there was.
Anyway, she made brunch for me this morning as I rolled out of bed. We walked the dogs. We went to see "The Lovely Bones" today. It was good, but didn't meet my expectations. It was kind of like "King Kong" in that respect, another Peter Jackson film. Stanley Tucci was awesome!
Anyway, we spent the rest of the day together. I also found time to design a poster for my February 27th gig (mark your calendar) & write a short, Best New Artist nominee blog for
Well, I knew this week "vacation" would eventually have to end & it did tonight. Around 10:15pm I made my way to the studio to load in & place set all of the amps & such for tomorrow's session. Most of our crew met me there & unloaded our trailer into my studio. Chris Fryar showed & started setting up his drums. He reheaded & tuned the whole kit. I'm really, really excited.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Smooth It Out

Up early this morning. We went to Snellville for some outstanding errands. We had lunch with Michelle's parents. Then we took Charlie to the vet for his yearly shots. He shouldn't have rabies for at least the next 9-12 months.
Upon getting home this afternoon, I worked on my Les Paul. I sanded half of the thick finish off of the neck. I also smoothed out most of the rest of the body. Most of the work started with 1000 grit & gradually moved up to 2000 grit. I also used a soft cotton buffing wheel & some 3M polish.
I'm really proud of it. I really have no idea why Gibson finishes are so thick. I guess it's just one less step to consider. It's cheaper that way. My Les Paul is a new guitar to me now. Way better.
Last night off. Back to work tomorrow night.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Not much to report from today. Your run of the mill errands & walking of the dogs & eating.
I registered 31 songs today with ASCAP. Doing a little bit of overdue work. I also did an interview with Billboard & CNN today. They were phone interviews. It should end up as "print" on their websites soon.
I did visit the studio again tonight. I am trying to sharpen my mixing skills again - just picking some old tunes & trying to rock them in an efficient, fresh way. Bracing for the madness ensuing Friday night... more to come on that, later.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I had my NARAS meeting today. It's all very confidential. Can't even talk about having the meeting. Oops!
Anyway, I ran a few errands. Then I came home & picked up Michelle. Then we ran some errands. Then it was off to the theatre - we saw "Up In The Air." I enjoyed it. It wasn't awesome, but it was good.
I did talk to Keith Stegall about the new ZBB record today. He's producing it... starting Saturday.
Michelle made chili. We walked the dogs. Then I went to the studio. I am starting some experiments. I'm remixing some older tunes. I made some good headway on one tonight. Experiments are cool.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I started the day at the dentist. Rocked the check up. Michelle & I had lunch with my Mom. Then we went to a Comcast Service Center. We turned in 3 cable boxes. I left with an HD/DVR box. I have finally fully entered the 21st Century; I have a DVR. I can't believe it has taken me this long to cross that line.
Anyway, I got the box back home & plugged it in. After an hour on the phone with customer service, we concluded that I had a faulty box. Refusing defeat, I drove all the way back to the Service Center & exchanged the box. It was the right thing to do. Had I waited for the service technician to come later this week, all he would've done would be to swap out the box anyway. No matter, it's working like a charm now.
MIchelle & I had dinner with some friends at No Mas Cantina. I'm stuffed.
I downloaded the first Owsley record last night. I love up to 5 songs on that thing. The mixes are great too. Tom Lord-Alge has a great batting average as a mixer.
Anyway, off to DVR'ing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Retreat Recap

The band left Atlanta on Monday night. We spent the next 4 days in St. Teresa, FL tightening up the next record. We took Chef Rusty with us too. I haven't eaten that good for 3 squares ever. We had a lot of fun but it was ALL work. We were exhausted at the end of every day. I was so tired that I couldn't even muster up the mental strength to write this blog at the end of every day.
We ran through, finished, & modified 18 tunes for the record. We'll record all 18 next week. Only 10-12 will make the actual record. The remaining songs will be used for extra content for the rest of the year (download exclusives, soundtrack tunes, etc.). It's always smart to have extra. The plan is to take this week off & start recording this coming Saturday - refreshed & ready.
Since the band had been gone all week, the wives had ladies night last night - our first day back. I guess because the men could stay home with the babies. Chris Fryar & his lady stayed at the house last night. Let me rephrase that: Chris & I hung out at home while Holly & Michelle went partying in downtown Atlanta. Then we picked them up in the middle of the night.
We also had Flying Biscuit for breakfast. ROCK!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Home, for now, again...

I was out by 1am EST last night. So I was up at 9am EST this morning... with 7 hours still left to travel in the bus. I watched "The Usual Suspects" & the whole Falcons-Bucs contest. Conrgats Falcons fans, you've finally achieved back-to-back winning seasons (if only by 7 points today). I'll take it.
Michelle & I had a nice relaxing evening. It's hard to keep leaving & coming home so sporadically. Sure, I'm glad to be home when I can be, but I feel a little confused. Usually, I can just put my road hat on - then a week later put my home hat on. I feel like I'm wearing both hats lately. I guess if that's my only problem then things are good.
Anyway, I leave tomorrow night.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Thackerville, OK

Oh, the Winstar Casino... how I remember you so well. I've been here at least 3 times with Marshall Tucker. It was a fantastic show. Zac has been sick as a dog for the past 24 hours. His kids got him sick. He put on a great show considering the situation. It was a short one though. I'm so used to the 3 1/2-4 hour epics that we've been churning out with The Breaking Southern Ground Show. The 90 minute ass kicker was nice tonight.
I sit here in the dressing room, downloading "The Chronic" by Dr. Dre on iTunes. I haven't listened to it fully since, say, 1995. I think it deserves a good "listenin' to."
We're going home tonight for about a day. Then we're off to Florida to have a place to focus & "tighten the screws" on the new album (which we start recording on January 11th). I'll keep you posted/updated on all of the "goings on." Sorry for all of the "quotation marks."

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year (2010)

2009 was a pretty good year. I'd say 2010 will be just as good but in other ways. Only time will tell.
I spent the morning wallowing in the bed. We had lunch at Chick-Fil-A then shopped a little at Michael's. Michelle bought some knitting materials & some paint.
We lounged around watching football. Then it was dinner & meeting the bus. A kind of meaningless day, but I needed the rest. We'll be in full record mode starting Monday... & a show to boot tomorrow. Rest is underrated.