Monday, January 26, 2004

It's 5:54am, and, unlike most people in the music industry that would be up at this hour, I did NOT stay up all night. I've been getting to bed rather early in my somewhat unsuccessful attempt to reenter the world after finishing Sarah Sharp's CD. For some reason, I've had a hard time sleeping. I am excited about the project, and I have tons of other work that I'm already engaged in,, time to report.

Scott Hull from the Hit Factory did an OUTSTANDING job on the mastering of Sarah's songs. Props to Kevin for searching him out. Scott mastered off of the 1/4" tape master (with Dolby SR). He was able to get the mixes to sound full and loud without changing the tonal relationship of the mix elements. This is a first for me. The mixes sounded 'rounder' fuller and louder.....better versions of what left the console.

Kevin shot and edited a killer documentary short on Sarah which is going to be included on the CD. I'm going to get Leigh to find a way to stream it off of this site, so keep a look out. The only downside to this is that Kevin may become in-demand as a filmmaker which will keep him too busy to work on our projects(!)

I've started rehearsals with the Southern Backtones. The band, Steve Christensen, (who will be engineering the project), and I crowded into the cozy confines of my office and recorded our first acoustic rehearsal. The CD's have been in my car player ever since. 4 of the 5 songs we are going to cut are really obvious. The songs are great and tight arrangements, and just need instrumental arrangement, and presentation work. The 5th song is a bit up in the air, but Steve and I like 'Celebration' which borrows some of the songwriting vibe of their first CD, but sounds way more mature. Hank wants to recut 'Closer' from the last CD, but I am leaning against that pretty hard. My feeling is that a new body of work is not the place to seriously try to make up of the perceived short comings of a previous recording. The song is very good, the execution of it on the last record is somewhat less than it could be, but redoing it in this forum seems like a step backward. More will be revealed!

I need to set up a rehearsal and studio schedule for The Googe. We are ready to have Kevin come to rehearsal and get started on the orchestral arrangements, and the band and I have much work to do. This is going to be really a unique opportunity -- Kevin gets to get his 'Van Dyke Parks' hat on, and I get to find a way to make it all work together.

The Handsomes have tentatively set up a summer recording project with me. I am VERY happy about that because those guys rock, are great players on their instruments, and happen to be very popular at the moment, regionally. I thought we got along great at rehearsal, so I stand ready to execute on that deal.

On the female singer songwriter front, Winter Roberts is in the que. Kevin and I are poised to start songwriting sessions as soon as the business is ironed out.

I've done three rehearsals with Sound Breaking Ground. Interesting deal there. The band, and the music are great. The business includes a new twist, however. SBG's investor wants an unusual clause in the production agreement, to the effect of "If I don't like it, I don't pay the final half of the production advance". This is a first for me, although I have heard of the like before. I have never encountered this request from my major label clients, so I am having to research the precedents myself (yawn). In principle, I understand the investor's motive, but quantifying "I like it" in contractual terms concerning the delivery of what is, ostensibly, an artistic rendering, is really vague. More will be revealed (again!).

I'm eager to get back to Austin. I've got new friends and acquaintances up there: Liz Pappademas, John Dee Graham, Bruce Hughes, and Chris Masterson. Also, the guys at Top Hat Studios.

On one last note, check out Steve Wedermeyer. He is a singer songwriter who's last record was produced by John Dee Graham, and who is currently working with Charlie Sexton. Good stuff.

This early morning blogging feels pretty good. I hope I last the day, though.



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