It’s been a couple years since we recorded The Living Record at The Warehouse in Vancouver, but at the time the marvelous Kate Kroll came an filmed us recording “Sing For Me.” (Kate also directed the video for “Pirate Jenny and The Storm.”)

She has since brilliantly cut this together and I love seeing all our very hard-at-work faces. What a wonderful time it was, making that album.

Who was I even talking to? I don’t remember (goodness my memory can recall such useless specifics and then forget the essentials), but when they asked why it is that I like the recording phase best – of all the “phases” of this work I do – even though it’s the briefest time-wise, I realized this: it’s because it’s the time when I get to work with other musicians.

I perform and work solo most of the time – heck, this here blog post is even written 100% my me alone (ha) – and there’s much about that that I like (erm, control freak? little bit) and that is practical (touring solo vs touring with a band), but there’s also much about it that can be lonely (enough with the brackets already).

“People used to make a records, as in a record of an event, the event of people making music in a room” – an Ani Difranco quote I reference often because it sums up what I like about making a record: people in a room. Musicians in a room – an altogether strange and wonderful category of people.

Part One of this story introduced the talented and generous group who built each one of my songs a home in those first four days at The Warehouse. Part Two has been unfolding in a sporadic way, as schedules and projects are juggled, and near a month passed from those initial days of construction to when Steve and I reconvened at his studio. I almost forgot I was making a record (again with the spotty memory!) but in the past couple weeks, the two of us have continued to build and decorate and decide and I can’t believe it’s just about done.

In fact tomorrow we will record the last final bit of sound – the vocal duet part for Paper Anniversary – and then mixing begins. I’m excited that we’re moving forward – and holy fuck am I excited about how this album sounds – but I also don’t want it to end, this phase of possibility, these days of people making music in a room.

Over the last couple weeks, such fine folk have been stopping by Henhouse Studio as:

JP Carter – to record a seriously killer trumpet part:

My buddy, the lovely and talented Cris Derksen, to sweet cello sounds down:

The beautiful Christie Rose and Maya Siegal, my first official back up singers:

I don’t have  a photo of Steve singing, playing guitar, tambourine, and all the other stuff he gets up to when I’m not around – but he’s a remarkable knack for filling in spaces that need it. Have I mentioned how lucky I am to be working with him?

This whole thing has been one big lucky, (mostly) joyful, mess in my heart. I could seriously gush. Maybe I am gushing. The brilliant part is that outside of my heart it’s not a mess at all – it’s a work of art, crafted and cared for.

Later this week the mixing starts. The mastering is booked for the end of the month. The artwork is underway. The release date is forming in my mind. The CD release tour has been blocked out in my Google calendar (my next big task is booking it all…). What more is there to do?

Oh right, there’s tomorrow. And right now, there’s sleep.

Bisous*
cc

 

Well that’s the first part done then.

We spent four days at The Warehouse studio this past week getting much of what will be my new album recorded. Those four days were a long time coming, nearly a year in the making (more if you count the years that the songwriting spans), and after all of that preparation and anticipation, all of the piecing together of puzzle pieces, the near aligning of stars, those four days went by in an instant. A densely packed moment that left me both filled and drained.

There is more recording to come – next month Steve and I will continue to record more of my vocals and guitar, more of him playing guitar, and whatever other bits we deem necessary, like some accordion here, a little cello there, you know – so the process is far from done. But, this initial stage has been a biggie.

I can tell you now that is the best project I have ever been involved in. It sounds AMAZING.  And I’m not one to use all-caps lightly. The core players – Chris Gestrin, Niko Friesen, Rob Becker and Steve Dawson – are nothing short of fantastic. My songs and I are downright squee-ful to keep such remarkable musical company on this record. And the studio! Well, the Warehouse Studio’s Twitter bio of “the best studio anywhere” is not an exaggeration. Incredible gear, incredible space, top-notch crew…

Much of my view of the studio was of obscured by pop filters:

But you can see a bunch of other photos up in this Facebook album. Here’s one of my favourites – the lot of us attempting an aloof “rockstar attitude pose” photo:

Adorable, non?

It’s pretty special to get to make music with people, I love that us humans do that.

I love this record already so much.

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I’ve been feeling speechless (despite my wordiness here), almost stunned, maybe just depleted… a kind of post-recording funk perhaps, aka the coming down phase. As mentioned, it’s not over, but the four long, busy, exciting, fruitful days were heart-rending too and while adreneline and dedication carried me through the weekend, I’ve been crying a lot since. A kind of release, and also the tears that I fought back so often while in the studio in the interest of time and vulnerability.

I managed one good cry in the lounge while others set-up on day two – thank goodness for that small exhale… Niko ate leftovers and listened and, because he’s the philosophizing type, we wandered into a conversation of our big human emotions in the face of our tiny human existence. As these things go…

The saddest song I’ve ever written is on this album, and completing it, coming close to completing it, feels like taking a step that I’m not quite ready for. A kind of admission, or acceptance. Recording that song is making the story true, more true – I’ve had my share of magical thinking in these past few years and recording is cracking those thoughts open.

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It would have been wise to book time off directly following those studio days. Instead Monday morning was up and at ’em for some work at RPM, followed by teaching a workshop on grantwriting for Songweavers Studios… which was great (thank you Songweavers!). But I felt that the momentum of the weekend could have used a natural slowing to a halt, that I would have reveled in a fade out. I feel that I jumped tracks when I needed simply to ride it out.

Tuesday I found some balance between obligation and needing space by working on my laptop but refusing to leave my bed. And Tuesday is when I began to cry, thankfully with no time constraints, and no strangers to witness and wonder.

Today, I have finally had a chance to find some solid ground, thanks to a long shower, a soy chai latte, staring out a window into a sunny day, and the task of folding laundry. Phewf.

Here, me, Tuesday afternoon, hiding, thinking, remembering:

xoc