Friday, October 16, 2009

Is, Not Was


Don Was, Krish Sharma, Elizabeth Cook

My good friend Elizabeth Cook finished up tracking her new album this evening with producer Don Was at the helm and ace engineer Krish Sharma twiddling the knobs. I caught a few overdubs while I was here, including the legendary Rodney Crowell laying some Everly-style harmony on a track and heard a few rough mixes going down.

This is going to be a great record. I've been listening to EC for years, as well as her husband and guitarist Tim Carroll. All of their records have been good, but this is the first one to feature her live band and it definitely shows. Was' hands off approach and penchant for keeping first or early takes adds an organic urgency and vitality to the tracks. With drummer Marco Giovino and bassist Bones Hillman laying down solid and funky grooves, fiddler Matt Combs, steel guitarist Tony Paoletta, and keyboardist Tim Atwood joined Carroll (on electric guitar) in filling out the songs and sounding like a band instead of a collection of session players. All of the above worked on the demos I helped Tim and Elizabeth with during pre-production, and most of them have played live gigs with her as well. Familiarity breeds content, so to speak.

Was has a great "console-side manner" as EC puts it. He seems to go through your musical closet and find the clothes most becoming of you, occasionally bringing in an outside piece for consideration, but mostly relying on the basics - good songs, good groove, good performances. It was a pleasure to meet him and Krish and to hear their work... even in the early stages it sounds fantastic.

Look for it on 31 Tigers records in late March.

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