Saturday, October 30, 2004


So I'm wrong again,... (thanks Kevin):

BTW FWIW: your weblog info about Sarah isn't quite right. She doesn't have the #1 and #2 tracks in pop on Garageband. She has the #1 and #2 "most original" songs of all-time in pop... maybe not important enough to change, but I thought that was cool...


So cool that I have people looking out for me,... I'll change the previous post to reflect the TRUTH!!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Southern Backtones CD Release & Garageband Track of the Day!

I just walked back to the office from my home away from home, SugarHill's Studio A where Steve Christensen and I just finished mixing part one of Joyce Pierce's CD. We are very happy & so is Joyce. I'm burning her reference copies while I write.

Hmm... time to grab 6 days worth of email. What's this? HECK yeah! Hot on the heals of Sarah's Sharp's takeover of's all-time highest rated Pop Song, comes the following:

Dear Hank (from the Backtones),

Congratulations! As a result of some very enthusiastic reviews from members, "They'll Never Come Between Our Love" will be Track of the Day at

For 24 hours on Monday, the �1st of November, 2004 (PST) "They'll Never Come Between Our Love" will be featured on's Alternative front page.

You can click on the title above to go to the page.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Sarah Sharp has Songs #1 AND #2 on's 'Most Original Songs of All Time' in Pop!

I'm a proud papa. Way to go, Sarah, Buffalo, Sam, Patrick, Kevin, Steve, and Scott. Click on the title link to check it out.

has the #1 and #2 "most original" songs of all-time in pop...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Mixing Joyce Pierce and Hosting the PopStars

Today was day five of mixing on Joyce's CD. The computer cooperated today (unlike the two days previous), and Steve and I got two songs finished.

The CD is turning out so well that I am going to get involved in marketing the album and Joyce! I'm not sure on what that looks like at the moment, but I will soon, (this means Logan gets to work on it and figure it out). By the way, Logan just returned from a four-day weekend in Nashville, and she is looking suspiciously happy. Hmmm....

Back to the mixing. I invited the PopStars to attend the mix session. Blythe was unable to make it :( but Tess and Taylor were there. I'm going to include some imagery of Joyce, Tess (wavy blonde), Taylor (straight blonde), Steve (young), and me (not as young). Oh, and you can tell Joyce because she is the most famous of all of us!!!!

Here we were:

Logan flew back from Nashville just to hang out with us.

As you can see, we had a lot of fun, and Steve's and my work got done as well. Thanks to Joyce for being a mentor for Tess and Taylor. Thanks to Tess and Taylor for thier energy and excitement. Blythe: We missed you!

I'm off to crash,.... one more day,...


Saturday, October 23, 2004

Shaun Green -- Up and Coming Producer/Composer

We're mixing Joyce Pierce, (but you may know that already). Several of Joyce's songs were arranged and sequenced by Shaun Green, lately of Dallas, Texas.

Shaun came to Houston to hang with Steve and I for a couple of days while we mix. Shaun has big ears and a big heart. Most important, he feels the song.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Humans: 1. Machines: 0

We have a saying at the studio that I really like: The Machine Never Wins. (Ever!).

Today's mixing session started out ROUGH. Computer problems. Cable problems. More computer problems up in Studio C.


Well, Rodney Meyers got Studio C squared away, and I prevailed in Studio A. We lost a day of work in C, but Steve and I stayed on schedule in Studio A.

At one point, Steve and I felt like total idiots: Every attempt at doing the next job was foiled by our stupid mistakes, breaking equipment, or just crummy luck.

Our first song for Joyce Pierce turned out great, however. Back again tomorrow to start the process all over again for song 2.


Mixing Prep for Joyce

Steve Christensen and I start mixing Joyce Pierce today. I'll spend the morning integrating the multitrack files for the instrumental arrangements, and then off we go.

The first day of mixing any project is filled with ritual for me: clean and calibrate the 1/4" tape machine. Align the digital audio outputs to the DAT backup. Set up the CD references. These are all rituals that the signal the rite of passage into a different world--one where audio becomes a total sensory domination.

All of these tasks are in preparation for my mind, my heart, and my ears to come online in a manner, which does not occur at any other time.

Ok. I'm ready. Off to the studio.


Sunday, October 17, 2004

Hot Smoke and Sassafras vocals

Raz and I got together to record the vocals on 'Hot Smoke and Sassafras' for the SugarHill Tribute CD. We knew that we wanted to get more complicated on the song than the original vocalists did. We succeeded. We did not finish, but we blended a soulful, almost old school R&B vibe, with the psychedelic nature of the song. If Jimi Hendrix was a crooner, this is what he would have sounded like.

Now, I'm meeting members of the 'SugarHill gang' to go see the Pixies. (I got to ride my motorcycle to work, so it's been a super great day).

Friday, October 15, 2004

Serious Popstars & Transcendent Gospel w/Joyce Pierce

Just finished my first real vocal session with Popstar, Taylor Crowley. Taylor brought it today. She sang well, responded well to the pressure, and started to really act the part of a woman on a mission to make it as a player in the entertainment industry.

Here's Taylor Crowley doing the deal:

Tess couldn't make it today due to having strep throat. She offered to come anyway, but we let her stay home to get better.

Blythe finished up the afternoon. Heather & Darlene from MW/Sanctuary showed up to hang & observe. Blythe took the additional heat like a champ.

While Josh was taking pictures, (great job, Josh, btw), he got this creepy-cool shot of Heather and I in the control room over Blythe's shoulder. Cool:

Immediately after that session, Joyce Pierce came in. We only have one more vocal day after today. Joyce was really on her game coming up with harmonies on the spot for a very difficult song. I'm really having to hold back posting any of our work prematurely. It is truely transendent:

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Office

This is what it looks like today. Songs for the Popstars. (Trying to prove to a certain someone that I DO get some work done!)

(....continued later in the day..)

I just finished testing Winter Roberts for vocal ideas on her latest song. We're not sure of the name of the song yet, but it has 'red cows sleeping' in it. How can we resist using that information in the title? The test went really well. I used a lot of layers and some harmonies to try out the various 'tension points' in the vocal melody. I can't wait to cut this song (and mix it). Winter's voice just has something that I really love. As usual, Kevin Ryan's composition and recording are incredible on this song.

Winter called ahead to make sure that the studio was clear for her to come over 'looking horrible', (she looked great to me). Here's a 'stock shot' to make up for her bad photo day (whatever..).

You Never Know

You just never know what you are going to get when arriving at SugarHill each day. I noticed some action about a block away, and found the scene recorded below.

No, this was not one of our client's cars. (Not an overdub session gone bad....)

I did love the fact that it takes two of Houston's finest to figure everything out...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Old Days

I've been around for a while, but I don't want you to think that I'm quite this old. Here is a picture of the control room at ACA Studios here in Houston, back in the early 1960's.

Unlike most control room shots of the day, nobody is smoking! Wow.

Do these guys look square, or what! Seems that the control room has always been the domain of the musical uber-nerd: guys whose cool factor is totally adjacent to 'artist cool', but are SO VERY different...

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Jeff Walton Scores

Jeff Walton, my good friend, and Houston's most successful Film Composer, is in the Houston Chronicle business section today. Jeff is a real kindred spirit: someone who has made an informed choice to practice his art in Houston--away from the known epicenters of the entertainment/production industries.

Jeff and I are thinking/acting outside the box: we are still songwriting together. I am loving the collaboration.

Check out his article in The Houston Chronicle.

Way to go, Jeff.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Sarah Sharp (had) SONG OF THE DAY on

I was going to go ride the Buffalo this morning (my ancient BMW motorcycle), but alas, the weather and other obligations conspired against me. Instead, I'm chillin' at Casa Producer, getting ready to hang up some Halloween lights for Christi.

Yesterday was the day that Sarah Sharp had the song of the day on
Garageband! (Doh! I should have posted yesterday, but I was running
too fast).

I'm really proud of Sarah, and our work together. I was driving out to see 54 Seconds play at the Sidecar Pub last night, and I slotted 'Fourth Person', Sarah's CD that is soon to be picked up for national distribution. I loved listening to it. It usually takes me about 6 months after I finish a project to be able to listen to it as a fan might hear it. That experience was really nice. Sarah's lyric and vocal performances, Kevin Ryan's incredible arrangements, and Steve Christensen's gorgeous
mixing, enraptured me for the 30 minute drive. Please log on and listen. The name of the song, aptly titled as regards this post, is "It's Too Late". (The link will still take you there).

I worked with the PopStar soloists yesterday to complete my individual
background/identity profiles, and we ended up each interview with some
quick song writing. I got three songs started! More will be revealed
next week when we actually start singing a bit in the studio.

I'm going to get started on the Halloween lights.....

Friday, October 08, 2004

Carolina Bedetta Sings & Family Time

Babies are a big deal.... When The Googe were recording with me last Spring, Denise was singing for two. Well, her new daughter is here and I wanted to share the news: Whoo Hoo!

On to yesterday's session. Carolina and I have been looking forward to the day when it was just her and I and the music. Even though we were excited to finally be in the studio, we were both a little low energy. Well, it was a 10am session, so we can be forgiven:

We got with the program after lunch and had a great session cutting the song "Crazy Touch" . Here's what the day looked like:

Carolina's Dad, Mom, and Manager came to hang out for a while and we welcomed them into the process:

At one point, Carolina and I changed roles & I showed her how to record my vocal examples. She told me: "That was crap!" and she was right.

After we finished our session, Kevin Ryan came by the office. He brought Kristen and their daughter Molly.

The Ryans are going from a trio to a quartet in January! Kevin, Kristen and Molly are some of my favorite people. Having them at the office was a real treat.

Today, I'm songwriting with Jeff Walton, and then working with the PopStars. Busy, busy......

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Open House At NARAS Headquarters

Yesterday was one of the rare days where my SugarHill partner, Rodney Meyers, and I were able to get out of the office together and do something fun. We traveled to Austin, Tx. to help host the Open House celebrating the opening of our new location. It was the schmoozefest that I thought it was going to be: good food, lots of new people to meet, and friends. (Oh yeah, and booze, and entertainment!) Check out the webpage for the Texas Chapter of NARAS.

Here's how it looked:

Here's Texas Chapter Executive Director, Wendy Morgan, with Austin Financial-Advisor-to-the-Stars, Eric Nielson:

Eric introduced me to Patrick Clifford who is starting a new record label based in Austin:

Here's Rodney and Sarah Sharp:

Sarah has this friend. As far as I can tell, there isn't a person alive who isn't intrigued by Shannon:

There was some cool entertainment during the party, but none more interesting than an ensemble that played homemade percussion. To wit:

You can't see it here, but Kim's percussion appliance has Hello Kitty stickers all over it. Nice touch!

This is (me) and Craig Negoescu, the guy behind Open Labs, a company that makes bleeding edge computer recording/keyboard systems.

Notice Tony Bennett trying to horn in on our action (over my left shoulder)

After the party, we went to hear some local music (Sarah--help me with the name!!), and booked it on back to Htown. Both Rodney and I have early sessions this morning. I'm having my first vocal day with Carolina Bedetta, and that should be enough to keep me alert and happy.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Avalon at the Office

Tonight Avalon and I were supposed to hook up with some really cool guys that I met recently. The guys (nameless for tonight) are producers and I thought they could do some great work with us. However, we got our wires crossed and they aren't here, and the one cell number I have isn't working , (neither is the office number), and I'm not getting any "where are you" calls myself, .... SO.... It's me and Avalon hanging out.

I feel a bit bad because she traveled all the way back from LA (where she was modeling for Tod Water's unreal clothing line.

So here's the shots from our lovely evening spent catching up with each other:

Funny thing is that our conversation would not translate well at all to this forum. We were cracking up BAD! More will be revealed. Avalon has become a pretty good friend since we first started working together, so it was super cool just to hang out. As for our absent friends, it's all good. We'll get together soon!

OKAY guys, we're sending you the love!

Dan and Avalon

Next Best Thing does a 'drive by' at SugarHill

Well, it's like this: Next Best Thing was due in here this afternoon to do a "music minus cuss-words" mix of their record. This is cool because the local BUZZ radio affiliate wants to pick up the whole CD (!) for rotation. Thanks KTBZ, Houston!!!! Woot, woot! Unfortuantly, due to communication errors, a certain engineer/producer (John Griffin) was playing disc golf in Conroe, Tx. just when the session was to have taken place.

So what else to do but come hang in my office.

Here's Clint, Christi, and Rick cuttin' up with their own bad selves.

We'll rock just as hard tomorrow.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Project PopStar, Phase II

I've been less than my best lately due to some Osama Bin Allergy thing that has ruined my normal energy level. The only thing that could get me going today was a trip to the Music World/Sanctuary office to be there for the first day of Project PopStar's Phase II boot camp.

At this point in the competition, the girls who are going on to compete for the final roster will begin even more intensive training in voice and dance. My girls(!), the soloists, Tess, Taylor, and Blythe, attended the orientation tonight, but from now on will be working only with me. It was a good time to renew our common goals, and to reconnect with the group. It was fun for me to be in a role other than that of being a judge.

Heather Wagner and I got to spend some time together and listen to some up and coming artists. Heather is the point person in charge of PopStar and has done a superb job of making it the class act that it is.

Here are some images from the meeting today.

When I got to the office, the girls were watching some of the video edits from the PopStar pilot TV program:

We all gathered in the Music World production studio where the tone got serious real fast. Heather and the rest of the staff reminded the ladies that Mathew can 'let go' any of the girls at any time. Just like the real world--it's intense!

Here's Heather contemplating how hard the job is:

Despite it being serious, there is time to have some fun:

I know how lucky I am to be working with the soloists. Each of these girls has a strong sense of self and a desire to succeed. I can hardly wait to get the music ready so we can get to work in the studio. Expect more photos and updates soon.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

SugarHill/DW Music/Essential Sound Cookout

About every 3-4 months, all of the sister businesses at 5626 Brock Street shut down and we party. Today was a great example of the gang getting their party on. I have been under the weather (again) so I left early--the party is still raging right now. The pictures below are super fresh:

My partner Andy was the cook:

Besides eating awesome barbeque, sausage, dirty rice, and burgers, (real and veggie), the big deal today was to play poker:

Steve obviously brought his game. Intimidation shades:

Christi had all a girl needed for a good time, hat, chair, and bugspray (oh, and beer and poker):

Christopher Meyers showing Jimmy James his favorite sharks. Good stuff:

OK, so you've read the site, and you know I'm partial to hand-held camera close ups. Today is no different:

Dan and Heba:

Dan and Jimmy James:

Dan and Leigh: (rare shot)

Dan and Master Designer tOny Endieveri:

Dan and Logan:

Dan and John Griffin:

Ok, no more me (sorry for the redundant imagry... )

DWM intern & my new writing partner, Jennifer and her killer guitarist bf & SugarHil intern, Jason:

Everyone kept asking where my daughter was. She had her first homecoming dance last night. She was on the couch recovering & dreaming about the slow dances. This is what her day looked like:

Back to work tomorrow, but for today, a fun time was had by all!

Friday, October 01, 2004

Sarah Sharp will have Track of the Day on GarageBand!

OK, you've read my posts at all, you are already familiar with Sarah Sharp. (If not, you can view her documentary video in the Viewing Room on this site.)

I just recieved the word that her song, "It's Too Late" will be the 'Track of the Day" on on Friday, October 8th! This is quite an honor. Garageband is not an easy market to break. (See the link in the 'Cool Links' section).

The link will be up on October 8th!

Way to go Sarah!!!!!!

3XJ: Joyce and Josh and Jimmy James

Joyce Pierce, Josh and I lumbered into Studio B at SugarHill to cut vocals with no plan at all last night. Fortunately, the universe provided quite nicely.

I had been songwriting, and Joyce had other commitments, so we both showed up in need of a reboot. Jimmy James, the Op's Manager at SugarHill had gotten the vocal set up done, and UberIntern Josh got us set up in the control room. Joyce called her shot and really brought it; by midnight we had the leads and backgrounds, AND harmonies blocked out on TWO songs.

Now, a word about Josh, and Jimmy James.

Jimmy James came to us as an intern, like Josh. He proved worthy in every respect so we hired him to be our total all-around guy, the Operations Manager. Jimmy James is great with clients, has solid engineering chops, and has the uncanny ability to fix anything that's broken short off a femur (and that may be on the menu as well). Jimmy James is quickly moving towards becoming a full-time engineer so I've told him to be on the lookout for his replacement.

Now, I've mentioned Josh many times before, but let it be known right now that he has become pretty indispensable around SHRS, and Dan Workman Music. Josh got tapped as my production intern right after he finished working this summer at the Annual Round Top Classical Music Festival for SugarHill. He consistently goes beyond the call of duty and works for cheap (read: free). He's gotten to where he knows my setup, is great with clients (hugs from Joyce for instance), and is getting to be a help behind the console. Last night he loaned me a dime on top of all that.

(My carrot on the stick with Josh is the PopStar gig!)