Thursday, August 23, 2007

Production Junction

The Scoop

Too hot to blog? Apparently so, or maybe too busy with mundane local things to not bother writing about it. 12 days this month with temps over 100 degrees. It rained a little a couple of nights ago, and I practically did a "Tim Robbins in Shawshank Redemption" dance.

I've been spending my days and nights working with roots-music maven Tim Carroll on getting his next album together. Tim is a prolific writer, and when he gets inspired, he records a quick demo of the song while everything is still fresh. Those demos are getting polished up a bit, deconstructed and reconstructed, dismantled and re-mantled and on occasion, getting extra guitars and real drums. It's sounding great, and we are making good progress.

The fabulous Cole Slivka dropped off a hard-drive last night containing what should be another record for her. I have not yet opened the files, but I am pretty excited about it. The best live show I've seen in Nashville recently was Cole, her husband and bassist Paul Slivka, Marco Giovino and Reeves Gabrels. Amazing.

Pro Tools +

I'm getting a Pro Tools rig either today or tomorrow. M-Audio has a line of Pro Tools software that is unique to their brand name. Parent company Avid - which is to say Digidesign, inventors of Pro Tools - has developed an affordable line of "M-Powered" programs that require an M-Audio interface to work. I have both the ProjectMix I/O and the Black Box, so I should be able to get at least 32 tracks of Pro Tools on my computer, and with the optional Producer Pack, another dozen, which is too many! Even though you are restricted in using an M-Audio interface, all session files are compatible and can be opened and read by any Pro Tools rig, anywhere in the world.

I've been using Nuendo for my DAW, but Pro Tools is the "industry standard", and if not the best overall engine, then certainly the most famous, which means any serious studio needs to offer it to their clients. People will ask "Do you have Pro Tools" and you'd better answer yes, even if you end up using a different DAW. I have never actually recorded anything on PT, so I expect my earning curve to be high for a week or so.

I spotted a good book at Barnes and Noble written by an engineer/musician that covers the most likely used features from a musician's standpoint. Once I get the thing loaded on my computer, if all does not seem familiar, I'm off to the book store.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunny, I'm Home

Gawd it's hot. Too hot for me. Nashville has been having daytime temps in the mid-90's for a while now, and it can put a damper on your energy to get outside and do stuff. We did get a brief shower last night, which will no doubt green things up a bit, but also added even more humidity to the equation.

Donna and I have been practicing for her first in a series of three Wednesday night gigs at The Family Wash in East Nashville. The fabulous Kylie Harris is headlining and graciously asked if we were willing to open, sharing alternate Wednesdays with Scott Carter. So far, so good.

We are adding two new songs to the set this time out, a cover of The Pretenders' "Kid", and a new song by Donna called "Under The Rushes". We have a cool demo of the later, sans drums, that really captures the vibe of the tune. I hope we can recreate the feeling of the demo when we begin recording her next record.

I'm about to go into the studio/den and start cleaning up. Tons of magazines, weird CDs, accumulated receipts, orphan power supplies, tangles of cabling and much more to wade through. I like to keep a tidy work area, so it's time to turn up the AC and get cleaning.

All Your Bass Are Belong To Us

Got some catching up to do...literally. While at the Konocti harbor Resort in Kelsyville, CA, we had a day off before our show there. Bobby DeLuna and I got up early (relatively) and went to the marina to reserve a fishing boat. We snagged the only working one of the three they had, and Magee joined us in a little early afternoon fishing trip around the lake. At first, we hit all of the spots the fish were not at home. Many casts, many snags, many re-baits. Deciding that we'd head for the hot spot across the lake, we gunned the engine, only to find that it bogged down at higher speeds. This was not encouraging, since it is a huge lake, and the thought of being stranded out there and getting towed in was not appealing. We headed back to the marina to have them check it out.

As we were waiting, I threw a few casts off the dock and caught a small largemouth. At least I was not going to get skunked. One fouled spark plug later, we left Magee at the dock and headed along the shoreline, toward a bunch of private (non-resort) docks and launches. Voila! As any Sunday afternoon fishing show viewer will tell you, the bass want structure from which to ambush their prey. The shady docks and ramps give them nice cover, and on this part of the shore were basically weed-free. A few casts under the docks and we were on to the bass. I caught 4 or 5 , as did Bobby. Great fun while it lasted, but as the blazing sun got hotter, the action slowed down and we were pretty much sun-beat. We could see much larger bass than the ones we were catching swimming around and actually following a few of the plastic worms to the boat, but they were too smart to strike.

We got back to the marina around 2:00, and headed for the relative cool of the rooms. I have not fished much since moving to Nashville, so it was a real treat to go and actually catch something.