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Monday, May 30, 2011

Yes Indeed instrumentation

The ethic of “At Home” simplicity carries over to the arrangements. I believe that a good song can even stand with just the vocal.

It was a revelation to me when I heard classic gospel by the Staples Singers that kicked ass with just four vocalists, one electric guitar, and sometimes a drummer with brushes. When I got the Beatles remastered set, it amazed me how simple some of their arrangements were. The haunting song, “Julia,” is just Lennon's vocal and guitar. Even “Fool On The Hill,” only has lead vocal, piano, 12-string acoustic guitar, two recorders, two harmonicas, and a hi-hat cymbal.

I also find that when you leave sonic space, the listener can actually hear the cool things that each player is doing. I think too many performers and producers don’t have the courage to let the song and basic performance stand on its own. They feel compelled to fill it up with a wall of homogenous sound. How many times have you listened to an artist live—especially roots and folk musicians—bought the CD and felt let down when the recording didn’t really sound or feel like what you experienced? It’s often too smooth, too perfect, too produced. In contrast, I want “At Home” to be honest, and that means if my music is simple, the recording is going to be simple.

“Yes Indeed” has one acoustic guitar, one little accordion, drums/percussion, bass, lead vocal, and three harmony vocals. To me that’s lots! The little Zydeco bands I’ve seen in New Orleans can fill a whole room with that line-up, so our arrangement is following trusted tradition.

Adam laying down the freight train groove while Jane plays those fantastic Cajun licks. Note to self—it's time to put handles on our kitchen cupboards.

It's a smilin' groove, for sure. The back of my head is my best side.

Adam is definitely loving the huge sound Nik has captured. "This is your big hit, man!"

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