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Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's Alive!

Today we cleared out the house, rolled out carpets, tacked up foam behind the drums, and laid down our dining room table as a drum baffle.

Nik arrived with a car full of gear—computers, speakers, compressors, mics, stands, snakes, cables and a host of equipment I don’t understand. With my office as his home base, he began the laborious task of hooking it up and getting it all working. Amazing.

Adam came later in the afternoon, walked over to the drum carpet, and happily sat down cross-legged. Instead of meditating, he whipped out an electric drill-drum-tuner and buzzed away putting new heads on some of his drums. When the whole kit came together it sounded huge.

With camera and new Zoom videocam in hand, Jane gleefully documented the process starting with a bunch of before shots and ending with some great live footage of Jesse, Adam and I jamming through a sound check.

The first job was to test out the live sound of the basic acoustic trio—Adam on kit, Jesse on upright bass, and me on National resonator—so we did my swampy blues tune “Ain’t Gonna.” We ran through it and piled into the control room for a listen. What came out of the speakers was amazing—big, rich, and real. Shit, it’s happening!

Then the party started. Tannis Slimmon, Katherine Wheatley, Jeff Bersche, and Jeff Daniels arrived for the next test—adding harmony vocals and acoustic piano. Jeff D. took his place at the keys and Tannis, Katherine, Jane, and Jeff B. gathered around a mic in the hallway. We counted in and went into a rendition of the soulful new tune, “Sinner’s Child.”

We got a good piano sound and enough separation from the other instruments, which was the initial concern. The singers sounded great and even though one-mic-in-the-hallway will not be our final back-up vocal scenario, that turned out well.

10:30 pm and we were done! The test was a success—and tomorrow the recording begins!

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