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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Beginning "At Home"

“At Home” is the title of my new recording project, and this blog, in addition to photography and video, will document the process.

Jane and I believe strongly in the power of singing and music to heal, grow, and bring people together in community. We write and perform music that dissolves the performer/audience barrier. We also lead singalongs, offer workshops, and regularly fill our home with musicians and singers of all ages and experience.

For me, music begins and belongs in the home. The songs find me here, I sit back and play them here, and some of my happiest times have been hearing this old house resonating with instruments, voices, laughter, and song.

So when it came time to record another album, the thought of going into the studio and laying down tracks in the modern way—separately, one player at a time—didn’t feel right. Sure, with multiple tracks and overdubs I could get rid of errors and make the recording more pristine, but at what cost? I wouldn’t get the rough-and-ready soul of live roots music made by people having a great time doing it together.

That’s the way music used to be recorded. The Beatles laid down their entire first album live-off-the-floor in one day. Robert Johnson recorded his legendary tracks in a hotel room in three days. Most of the classic songs we love were recorded this way.

So I decided to take a leap of faith and record my entire album right here at home, live, with all the players and singers together, like when we jam for fun.

Today was the first official rehearsal with my super-talented son Jesse on bass, the extraordinary Adam Bowman on drums, the brilliant and phenomenally supportive Jane Lewis on harmony and accordion, and me on vocals and guitars (many guitars!). It felt great playing through tunes and sorting out arrangements. We got a solid groove and had some priceless laughs (Adam, you’re such a kidder!).

The project will roll on through the next few months, with the first recording sessions happening this week—so stay tuned for daily entries!

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