music | video | bio | photos | shows | buy | blog | press | epk | contact | home

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Final band rehearsal

Today Doug drove from Toronto to rehearse here with Jesse, Adam, and I to put the final touches on the songs. Adam brought his little kit, Jesse and I played  through our little amps, and Doug played our lovely little upright piano.

We started with “We Want Peace,” and mostly focused on dynamics—when to hold back, when to build, when to let loose. After about a half hour, we had it where it needed to be.

“Sinner’s Child,” was next, and it has a very specific arrangement of accented shots and rhythmic pushes that the rhythm section (Adam, Jesse, and Doug) had to get together on. I don’t even play until the instrumental solo, and even after that what I do is colour rather than rhythm. I’m very fortunate that Jesse and Adam are like one musical brain, and that Doug is so talented that he can sink right into it. They sounded great together.

Even though it was just a rehearsal and there were no extra singers to liven things up, I felt that the band was holding back a little up to that point. I called for one more run-through and urged them to give it more urgency in key sections, and they nailed it.

Doug and I then focused on the first verse, which he and I do alone, so Jesse and Adam went out to the deck to get some sun. We’ve got a nest of baby cardinals in a bush close by and their cheeping adds to the great atmosphere.

Sinner’s Child starts with one piano chord and the vocal, “A cop got shot in Woodstock.” Like the opening scene in a movie, the piano has to leave space for the unfolding story, yet build the mood. We worked on subtle fills that Doug could do before the rest of the band comes in.

Then Doug and I ran through “Right Here.” This has a very gospel piano intro that slows down considerably before the singing starts. We don’t want to do this with a click track so that the music can ebb and flow between the vocals and piano, but I was feeling rhythmically lost, so I found the ideal tempo on the metronome, got settled with it in my system, and stood where Doug could see me so that I could swing my hand in time. He played the intro, I found my time and we moved ahead in a much more cohesive way. Nik will probably set all the singers up in the living room so we can see each other to follow cues. We might not even need headphones. It should be interesting!

Doug was done and went off to our workshop space to give Jane a lesson in gospel and New Orleans-style piano while Adam, Jesse and I worked on one more tune.

“Just A Little Bit” started as a blues/gospel shuffle, but has evolved way beyond that and I wanted Adam to develop a drum groove to suit. It took discussion, trial and error, but we got something that swayed and rolled with tasty intensity. Jesse plays upright bass and I essentially play a tambura-like drone on my resonator. It’s going to be big!

So it was a wrap—we’re ready for next Friday.

No comments:

Post a Comment