This story started when I visited New Orleans last fall with my bestie, Laura, and was super inspired to start learning blues piano. I've played piano since I was three, but I'm terrible at practicing and especially terrible at improvising (in music and in life). I found a really sweet spot in Boulder called Harmony House and enrolled in private lessons with Chris Tucker. As utterly miserable as it was to attempt improvising over blues chords ("The whitest sound that has ever happened," as described by Justin Badger), hanging out with Chris was awesome and it just so happened that he had recently graduated from recording arts school in LA and moved to Jamestown CO to start a studio. Justin and I asked him to produce our first full length album and were so pumped when he agreed.
Over drinks at The Kitchen Next Door, Chris told us about a rumor he had heard about a guy named "Wolf" who lived up in the mountains near Jamestown. Apparently, Wolf was a guy in his 30's with basically unlimited resources who owned a huge piece of land and drove around Jamestown on a tractor smoking cigarettes. It was also rumored that Wolf had built a recording studio.
I was over the moon about the idea of meeting this mystery man and recording an album in the mountains. My dad thought it sounded like we would probably be murdered.
Chris did the detective work. He tracked down Wolf and asked to see the studio WHICH WAS BUILT IN A BARN NEXT TO A LAKE. (I fainted a little.) Turns out that Wolf was crazy ambitious. He was hoping to build his space into a totally professional studio and even outfit it so that bands could sleep in the barn during the recording process. Chris offered to help Wolf build up the studio in exchange for being able to use it. Wolf accepted.
So... that's where we are as of today. Things are looking bright. We still haven't seen the space or met Wolf. Chris has only heard a few of our songs - so far he likes them! There's a long way to go, but we're so thrilled at the weirdness potential of this journey that we decided to document it through this new blog and a podcast that we'll start recording soon.
Generally in my life, things seem to work out the best when I plan out every detail, but for this project, I'm just improvising.
It’s about 8:45pm on a Wednesday night and I’m feeling pissy because I can’t sing in tune. As a person with an ego the size of the Pacific Rim, I am not taking too kindly to the unsilenceable voice in my head softly saying, “You aren’t as good as you always thought you were.” Fortunately for me, no matter how hard I kick and scream my bandmate (and wife) has a pretty incredible way of not allowing me to give up.
So, play the song again. This time with a metronome. This time we record it. This time we record it and then listen back to it. Then repeat the entire process for the next song. While I always have a hard time seeing this in the moment, the results this kind of work yields are pretty damn cool. It’s not for nothing either.
We’re getting ready to record again.
As a band, we are still babies. It’s only been about a year and a half that we’ve been playing together in our current format. We had a great time recording our first EP last year. It was an incredible experience that pushed us in the direction of growing up as a band (and also blasted a spotlight on my tuning problems). Since finishing the EP we’ve been drilling old songs, writing a ton of new ones and fine tuning our live show to the point where we feel like we are headed to an exciting place. That moment in rehearsal when we simultaneously get that, “Oh THERE it is!” look in our faces. With this recording process I want to capture that moment and eternalize it.
It’s about 3:15pm on a Saturday afternoon and we’re playing through two songs for our new producer (I’ll call him Chris from here on out because, well… that’s his name). It feels good. It sounds confident. It’s in tune. Hard work seems to pay off so long as that ego of mine gets out of the way. It’s the first day of our recording process and we’ve got miles to go before anything comes of it, but damn does it feel good to notice progress.