Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sweets' WEdding

I got about 5 hours of sleep last night. Sleep seems to be a common subject in my blogs. I guess because I either get NOT ENOUGH or TOO MUCH. Anyway, I had lunch with my Mom & my sister, Ana. I left town around 1:30pm. It was a pretty easy drive to the north side of Birmingham.
The wedding was amazing. Chris & Holly were so happy... & we were really happy for them. I stayed a little bit & rolled out of town around 7pm CST. Ready for my day off tomorrow. Been rolling hard over a week with NO time off. I'm ready.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Zac Brown Band in the studio (day two - Nashville, TN)

After a solid 11 hours of sleep, I met John Kelton & Keith Stegall back at LOUD recording to continue working on the ZBB album. I played Hammond on a few songs. I played guitar on a few songs. I played mandolin on one song. I also played pedal steel on a few songs. Somewhere in there Keith & I went to Calypso Cafe for lunch. I got everything done but one track (that I need to wait for others to play their parts). I left Nashville & it took me 6 hours to get home. There was a giant sink hole on 24E below Exit 114. It added a solid 2+ hours to the trip. Not happy. Hopefully I'll get solid sleep tonight. Sweets' wedding tomorrow.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Zac Brown Band - Joey+Rory in the Studio (day one - Nashville, TN)

After a late night in the studio with Coy Bowles, the last time I looked at the clock before falling asleep was 3am. My alarm went off at 5:45am. Maybe I'm just tired & can't do math, but that doesn't seem like much sleep.
I left Atlanta around 6:20am EST for Nashville. I loaded in a little before 10am CST at LOUD Recording on Music Row. It's the old Masterphonics Sound Studio (currently owned by James Stroud). I set up a plethora of instruments. I cut piano on three songs. Hammond B3 on one. Pedal steel on one. Barry Waldrep showed up & cut mandolin on one as well. He was cutting a Joey+Rory tune - of which I cut the Hammond & steel on as well. We also evaluated the rest of the ZBB record & made a list for tomorrow. All I'll do tomorrow is cut. Looking forward to it. However, right now, I'm looking forward to counting sheep. More details tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Coy Bowles (day two)

I ran errands ALL DAY. I had friend getting rid of a nice couch... so I utilized my new truck for the first time to move it about 2 miles down the road to the warehouse for a couple weeks of storage. After I dropped the couch off, I loaded the back seat of the truck with my gear for tomorrow's trip to Nashville.
I met Coy at the studio around 6:30pm. We've recorded three songs tonight with Mark Cobb on drums & Matt Mangano on bass. This is looking like a solid 10 song record. Need sleep for my day tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coy Bowles in Lé Studio

I woke up around 7am. I was in a hotel in Newark, NJ. We left the hotel around 8:15am or the airport. Delta to Atlanta. It was easy. I was still tired though.
I got to my truck around 2pm then drove to the studio. I set up for acoustic piano & electric guitar. Had some dinner. Coy showed around 7pm. We had a good night (considering that both of us were toast). A couple of tunes on piano. A tune on resonator. A couple of electric guitar parts. Tomorrow will be equal parts fun & challenging. Full band - live tracking. I need sleep. Clay - out!

Monday, May 17, 2010

New York, NY

After a long bus ride from Detroit we rolled into NY around noon. Jake & Eric flew in early this morning. No rest for the wicked. They set up early at the Ed Sullivan Theatre with Bobby Carroll (who flew in yesterday for his 5am load in).
When you do late night TV, the misnomer is that it's live. They actually tape it in the afternoon - prepping all morning. We did a camera blocking & audio rehearsal at 2pm. Then we had an hour or two before we played. The musical act usually plays at the end of the telecast. We are 'old hat' at this game now. We were so relaxed. The only thing that really phased me was playing 10 feet in front of a staring Paul Shaffer (& trying not to fuck up).
All in all, it was the easiest late night TV experience to date. We played "Free," the fifth & final single off of the current album. Since it was rental gear, I played a 65 Amps London - & fell back in love with it. I need to reinvestigate that amp. Mine has been getting used in the studio, while my Deluxe Reverb has been on the road.
We're staying in Newark tonight for our 10am flight to Atlanta. Most of the boys headed back into the city. I'm staying in, bracing for a labor intensive week. More details to come...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Detroit, MI

Wow, Detroit! Every time we come here we have a great show. Today was no exception. I think musically this show was the best that we've ever played. Also, the crowd was on fire. We love the Hoedown. We played it last year when we opened for Willie. Now we're the headliner. What a crazy year this has been!
That's all I've got. On to New York City for Letterman tomorrow. See you on the TV.

PS. It's also very interesting. The bigger we get the more celebs show up to our shows. Tonight we had, from Terminator 2 & many other movies & TV shows, Robert Patrick. Also, White Sox pitchers Jake Peavy & Mark Buehrle hung out on the bus with us after the show. It's all too weird for me right now. I know they're just regular people too... but come on!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Baltimore, MD

Ye Olde Preakness. I played this thing years ago with Marshall Tucker. It's crazy. I know there are a chunk of races that go down all day, but everyone is here for the big race. They congregate & party all day for something that lasts less than 5 minutes. It's nutso to me.
Anyway, we flew in around 3am EST. Big George & Jeremy (our bus drivers) picked us up. Everyone was still rockin' from the open bar on the plane. Most of the crew guys stayed up WAYYYYY too late for their 7:30am call time this morning. It showed.
We played at 12:45 this after noon. The rental gear was sub sub-par.We had a different monitor console than normal. A few mistakes were made in setting up the stage today as well (i.e., amps were pointed directly into vocal mics). The crowd was great though. They were killin' it. We made due with what we had. At the end of the day, the crowd is the only thing that matters. If they love it... that's all I care about.
Collective Soul played on one of the other stages. It was good to see Ed. I have been a fan since high school. Good guy.
Got a shower. Watched "Casino" on the bus. I'll never get tired of those Scorsese movies.
Out of gas. Time to turn in. Bus ride to Detroit tonight. See you there.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gulf Shores, AL

I woke up 200 yards from the beach. It was really muggy & hot, but sun felt good.
For most of the day I ran point on this collaboration for the end of the show. More on that soon.
This is a weird run... Zac was on our bus for today's show. It was really great to hang on the bus with him. It was like last year when we were running 12 deep & a dog in the bus... but there were only 8 of us & two other buses to house the crew.
I guess the highlight for the day was The Black Crowes. Man. 3 of 6 original members; the brothers & the drummer - but in some ways they were better than before. They sounded great. Bunch of good guys too.
Our set was great. We play a little over two hours (to a full festival crowd). I would assume that we made some fans tonight.I had a ton of fun too.
On the last song of the night , "Make This Day," we were joined by The Preservation Hall Jazz Band on stage. I spent a great deal of the day charting out the tune & sending MP3's to them so they would be prepared. It sounded great. After our set, they continued to play & marched to their stage to play a late night set. It was really, really cool.
What a day. Tonight we will charter a private jet to Baltimore to play at The Preakness tomorrow. It's going to be a very late night.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Keeping it short. Demoed the remaining 4 songs; bringing my grand total to 7 ready songs.
My baby sister got an "A" on her Russian final. I took her out for Thai food to celebrate. Then I helped a handy man install my Mom's new microwave.
I had dinner with Michelle. Then I picked Eric up & drove to the buses for departure. On our way to Gulf Shore, AL.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shawn Mullins in the Studio

I woke up today with purpose. I had some business errands to tend to. I also started writing a song last night. If my new album has been sneaking up on me in the past few months, after this morning, it was right in front of my face. I tried to take stock in what I have written since February. My tally is now 6 & 1/2 songs (& that half might be done by tomorrow morning). I honestly thought I had, maybe, 3. I am officially heading towards the next full album. I demoed 3 songs today with the little time that I had. I guess the other 3 & 1/2 will get done tomorrow.
Demoing (from the word demo or demonstration) means that you find the right key, a good tempo, & record a simple version of it for reference. This is big. This is commitment. It is something now... where it was just pieces for the future before.
Anyway, I did my printing, signing, faxing, mailing, & the sort around 3pm. That left enough time to grab a chicken sandwich & head into Atlanta to meet Kip Conner at the studio around 4pm. We did some administrative file keeping for Shawn's record for about 2 hours. Then I set up my pedal steel rig & started cutting. The pedal steel doesn't lend itself as a major instrument in this record but it does have small moments that no other instrument could recreate. I'm really happy with it. I'm really happy with today. When life gives you AIDS, make lemonAIDS.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

So Here I Am...

The last time I blogged was the very beginning of the last ZBB tour. All I can say is that tour kicked my ass emotionally & physically. It was the best of times & the worst of times. Sorry I can't go into much detail. The show was über-tight though... looked & sounded really, really good.
A few weeks after the conclusion of the tour, the band & a couple crew guys went to Iraq on USO tour. It was very eye opening. It really touched me. Those guys are really living in a whole other world over there. I really respect every single one of them for doing what's asked of them without question.
I finished the Southern Ground compilation for our partnership with Dodge Ram. It was almost impossible in the time frame that I was given... however, very few things would I change about the out come.
We've played a few other shows recently... including staying the entire festival for Merlefest & playing two hometown shows in Atlanta.
Since I wrote last, all of that has happened... including some other very personal stuff that I don't care to blog about. Needless to say, since March 2nd, my life has been very, very overwhelming. I'd say that I'm dealing with it very well considering all of the information that I've had to take in & process. I feel very worn down, but I'll be okay.