Mountain Man/Lady Sugar
I shore am tuckered.
Lemme catch you up, in the quickest sense.
We did a photo shoot for "Across the Bridge" in New York - at the Brooklyn Bridge specifically - on June 11th. I enlisted the very kind and capable help of Cabot Philbrick and Lorca Shepperd for the shots, and we got some really nice stuff (unfortunately I happen to be in the shots, but what are you gonna do?). Thanks to Cabot and Lorca (check their amazing documentary "Other People's Pictures"), and to my very good friend Adam for test shots, crowd control, gear humpage and tactical support.
A few days later I headed down to Virginia for a visit with my comrades. I enjoyed a nice dinner with Brian at Connaught Place on arrival, and a day later I was lucky enough to take in a show at Wolf Trap with some friends. I was there primarily to see Jake Shimabukuro, the coolest ukulele player on the planet (no, I'm serious). I had recently seen Jake perform in his native Hawaii at the Kauai'i Music Festival. I got to speak with Jake briefly at the Virginia show and he is one of the most gifted, inspiring and nicest artists I've had the pleasure of meeting. Much aloha and a big mahalo to the Toastman!
Jake opened up for The Trio - Bela Fleck, Stanley Clarke and Jean-Luc Ponty. They were, you know... freakin' amazing. Way, way good. I grew up listening to all three and it was a super concert, shared with good friends.
One of those good friends was Jim Tozier, Captain Twang-o-matic from Maryland, who has become a bona fide Big Deal overnight. Jim and I headed back over to the hotel after the show and played guitar together in the lobby into the wee hours. I think we hit hay around 2.30am. Good, clean fun. Always good to see Jim, and I'm looking forward to hopefully playing a few venues with him in the near future, as well as playing a date with him and a few other folks at the Healdsburg Guitar Festival in Santa Rosa, CA, in August.
After a slight delay getting out of Dulles on Friday I finally got on a plane and headed down to Al Petteway's studio in North Carolina to do the mixing for the new record. I was incredibly psyched to be working with my good friend and former teacher. On the way down, due to the delay, I had the opportunity to ponder the current "Airline Crisis" at a stopover in Atlanta.
In the event of a water landing, your flight attendant may be used as a flotation device.
Al very kindly picked me up at the airport in Asheville just past midnight and we headed up to he and his wife Amy's mountain home and studio, which is, if you weren't aware, Powered by Feline®, actually.
We got in and b.s.'d until 3am. Sorry, Al. Sorry, Amy. We didn't get a lot of sleep that weekend. Here's the man with the sugar hands looking uncharacteristically and resultantly a bit mean the next morning, playing my custom guitar made by David D. Berkowitz at Berkowitz Guitars.
Working with Al was a dream. He intuitively understood exactly what I was going for with the music and was a huge help getting the tunes EQ'd, 'verbed up and sounding sweet. I couldn't have done it without him. Al plays on four of the 18 tunes on the record. I asked him to put down hand percussion tracks on two of those four tunes (yes, I have one of the best guitarists in the world on my record and I'm asking him to play drums). Al had the idea to play the parts on a guitar instead, which sounds so totally cool. Here's Al playing his "guit-drum," a beautifully beat-up Larry Sifel spruce/rosewood guitar on which David, at my request, based the cutaway for my custom. Lovely little guitar.
Al's also playing guitar (in the conventional sense) on two tunes - 'cause you gotta do it up right - one being a traditional Scots tune I had my way with, and the other being a funk tune I laid down with Al in mind. I can't think of anyone better to play on them. Al's the man.
It was a lovely time down at Fairewood Studios. Al and Amy are two of the most infectiously positive people around, and I've been so fortunate to wander in to their orbit. Please go see them live if you have a chance, and check out their music if you haven't already. Their new CD "Land of the Sky" is one of the most beautiful records I've heard in a very, very long time. They're the top. A sincere thanks to both of them for everything they've done for me and my music. Now they need to come to Maine!
So. There it is. Al is finishing up this week, and from there the CD goes to Bill Wolf at Wolf Productions for mastering. Bill is the best in the business, and I'm looking forward to him working his magic. After all of that, I'm hoping to have the record out in the Fall. Cross your fingers and stay tuned.
That's it for now. I'm really happy with the music. I hope you will be too.
Click to share:
»Back to Whinge