Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mr. Workman Goes to Washington

The Capital rotunda as seen from the floor of the United States Capital Building, between the House of Representatives, and the Sentate Chamber.

Where to start.

Since I last wrote, I've been the the Pot Luck Con in New Orleans, (formerly Tape Op Con), where I got to hang out with the many friends I've made in the industry over the years. I also hosted a panel on Urban Music. I met Raj Smoove and Billy Hume on that panel,... both extremely cool guys who have carved out quite a niche in their respective towns of New Orleans, and Atlanta.

While in New Orleans, I picked up the Voodoo Cold From Hell. The setting: I was at the closing event of the Pot Luck Conference, at the New Orleans Rock & Bowl, with Allen Corneau, Jeff Carrol, Mitch Easter, bowling it up and listening to some killer bands. Everybody was having a great time (read: half in the bag). I had this GIGANTIC SNEEZE, and Jeff ran over to me and asked, "Bro! What ball are you using???" I replied that it was the blue 12 pounder. He urgently replied, "Then stick out your hand!!" He then whipped out a pocket sized Purell bottle and squeezed a large dollop on my bowling (and sneeze-stopping) hand. We all laughed!!! Then next day, I had the full blown Voodoo Cold, and I just bet that Jeff did not. Bottom line, is that his paranoid, germaphobe, geek move most probably saved him from T.V.C.F.H. He most definitely had the last laugh.

Mr. Workman Goes to Washington.
I was asked by The Recording Academy to go to D.C. to take part in a lobby day in support of a national performance royalty for radio broadcasts (details can be found at the MusicFIRST Coalition's website). There I was (runny nose and all), walking the halls of the House of Representatives, meeting with congressmen and their staff to discuss a hearing that was taking place on the issue that afternoon.

The political process was fascinating, and the experience of talking to the lawmakers was pretty cool. Over the course of the day, I was whisked from office to office, from meeting to meeting, with congressmen and their aides. Talking to the lawmakers was interesting. In most cases, they did not understand the issue.

The smart ones, deferred to their aides to brief them--in front of us if necessary. The majority of those that we lobbied, tried to speak on our level of experience and expertise and, unfortunately, showed their true colors: that they were trying to appear informed and decisive when in fact, they didn't have a clue what was at stake. The political process was fascinating. The politicians, for the most part, were disappointing. It is interesting to note that even the least informed of the members of congress with whom we met, were surrounded by very smart people, telling them, basically, what to do and say. It is important for me to note that one of the members of congress from Houston was one smart cookie. I wonder if anyone caught my cold?

As for what I'm up to in the studio, I'm finishing edits on Sarah Sharp's new CD. We mix during the second week of July. Just a few more vocal edits and I'm done. Sarah's music always excites me, and I eagerly await the birth of the record (and her second child, soon-to-be daughter, Stella!). Sarah is really one of my heroes (heroines). She is always engaged in moving her career forward, and has become an extraordinary songwriter in the process of living a balanced life, and reporting her experiences and observations of the world in the form of compact, well told stories. Interesting note: I always mention Sarah, when people ask me who I'm working with, or what I'm liking. As of the past year or so, where ever I go in Texas, people have heard of Sarah. She's going to become one of the 'Texas Treasures' like Patti Griffin, and Towns Van Zant. You heard it (have been hearing it) here first.

I'm also winding up Winter Wallace's next three songs. Winter and I will be cutting vocals next weekend, and I am ready,... I've been listening to the songs over and over,... I'm ready to hear them in their final, and full vocal glory. Ross Wells is SUPER CONCERNED that Winter should be famous RIGHT NOW, and that her songs be FINISHED TODAY. I understand. What Ross doesn't know (and w0uld probably shock him), is that it's taken Winter about 5 years to get 7 songs done. Or almost done. Ok. Just about done.

Ross Wells, of Zenfilm, shot video on location at SugarHill's studio A for two projects: Jennifer's Grassman's song, Pretty Girls, and The Southern Backtones' song, Slumber Party. We are starting preproduction on The Backtone's fourth CD next week, and Jennifer and I have cut all of the piano performances for her 2009 CD. Jennifer continues to amaze me with her song writing, and is prolific to boot. Working with Hank, John and Todd is effortless in that we all seem to have complimentary visions for the songs. Look for a lot more about these two projects in the very near future.

Jake Dalton is gearing up to do the vocals for his first set of three songs, while at the same time, he and Rich Whiting and I are going to start working on arrangements for his next set.

I have arranged a song for David Enriquez. We are hoping to get together soon to get the final vocals and guitars on it. David's manager, Rolando Cuellar, and I have been wanting to work together for quite some time. Looks like it's finally going to happen.

Anne Loo's CD, Perfect Rainy Day, has finally undergone the final mastering/packaging revision and is on the streets. I written quite a bit about Anne and the Christensen, Jarvis, Workman, Loo production team in the past. I've said it before, and I'll say it again now, these are some of the best songs I have ever worked on. No qualifications. Do yourself a favor and see if you might agree, hit the link and actually buy a CD.

I'm still working like a mad man trying to keep up with the team at The Loft studios, helping to produce South Park Mexican's new CD. I know that the guy is controversial (check out the link, if you don't know what I'm talking about), but I'm here to tell you that his CD is going to be phenomenal. Think what you like about him, the man is in prison, but his music is going out in the world, and I'm here to tell you that his message, and his music, is unlike that of any rap album ever produced. There is a certain vulnerability, honesty, and purity of spirit--perhaps born from hubris--that is still in language that is straight from the street (or the pen). I'll only have one chance to work on art like this in my lifetime, and I'm going for it. Look out for some big changes in DHR in the very near future. In the meantime, Arthur Coy, Pain Ortiz, Slip, and Carolyn are busy putting Houston on the map with a ground breaking project.