Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Final Frontier

This is a picture taken by Pat Forrester, mission specialist on shuttle mission STS-117 to the International Space Station. I can now retire.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Mission Accomplished

I'm here to report that our spanking mission was successful.

But first we got a lot of work done.

  • We met Stuart Duncan at the studio at 10 am. Like most of the other folks I've met in the bluegrass/country world of great players, he is humble, humorous, and cares about the music that he's making. It would be easy for guys like that to breeze in, wow us with some licks, and collect their money. He only played on one song, but he indulged our pickiness and was concerned about getting it right. Then he acted in another soon-to-be Oscar-nominated short film.

  • We ate lunch at a place called Stroud's Barbecue. The Friday special at Stroud's is barbecue nachos: pulled pork, white cheese sauce, baked beans, and tortilla chips. I needed a nap at about three this afternoon.

  • After lunch we set to work on the guitars for "All Things New". The astute reader of this blog will remember that we recorded guitars for this song weeks ago. Why would we need to repeat the process? It's because the song wasn't right. We were nearly finished with it and something about it was falling flat. I kept thinking, while listening to it, that there was no musical hook--there was nothing for me to hang my hat on. Jeff Taylor, Irishy player extraordinaire, played some Irish whistle on the old version of the song, and that gave us the idea to try and give the song a sort of jig. Ben worked something up, I took it home over the weekend and learned it on the guitar, and realized that the song needed it and that the song needed to be in the key of D instead of C. That put the chorus out of my vocal range, which meant rewriting the melody of the chorus. Basically, we had to start the song from scratch, something we didn't do lightly as far along as we were in the process. We were able to keep Eckberg's drums, but we'll have to re-record the bass. Today Gully got a workout, learning the jig in two different guitar tunings and on the mandolin. After he played his parts Ben added some tambourine, then I sang a new lead vocal in the new key. At the end of the day we basically had a brand new song.
  • Gully set up the camera while Ben packed his bag. He pushed record, I grabbed Ben and pulled him down, and we gave him roughly 28 violent smacks.
It was a good day. Those of you waiting patiently for videos will be rewarded soon. Have a great weekend.


Random Creepiness

So tonight I was writing on another blog about Matt Rollings, Lyle Lovett's piano player, who is amazing. I remembered that I always thought Matt looked a lot like Gary Oldman, the actor. I submit these two photos as proof.

In other news, I'm sleepy.

In other-other news, yesterday was Ben's birthday. I called and left a message with his wife yesterday because I wanted to make sure it was his birthday before I called him. She called me back today to tell me that yes, it was yesterday. Argh.

Tomorrow I vow that Andy and I will spank him and video at least a portion of it for your viewing pleasure.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sincerest Apologies

Folks, it's been busy around these parts. I'm in the process of putting the finishing touches on not one but TWO new websites. One is a revamp of my main site, and the other is top secret. It's not really top secret. It's, like, middle secret. The point is, we haven't had much time to work on the record lately.

Ben's been working on a worship album for his church, and tonight he's out on the road with Dave Barnes, who is way cooler than me.

Gully's been touring a bit and working on his own record.

I've been working on these websites and writing till my fingers ache, literally.

But Friday. Oh, FRIDAY. I'm excited about Friday.

One of the finest fiddle players alive is once again going to add his talents to one of my songs. Stuart Duncan, whose resume is far too long to mention here, is coming over to play fiddle on "Love is a Good Thing", and for that I am glad. He's the guy playing on "Serve Hymn," "Let There Be Light," "More," Pierce Pettis's album State of Grace, which has hair-raising fiddle on songs like "Little River Canyon." I could go on and on about Stuart Duncan, like how his solo on Chris Thile's "Raining at Sunset" gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

Anyway, you get the point. He's a great player and we're honored to have him.

Hopefully we'll get some video of Stuart replacing all my parts or something.

I've seen all the talk around here about fantasy football, and I wanted to assure those of you who aren't familiar with it that you're not missing much. It's basically a jock version of a role-playing game. They don't use twelve-sided dice, they don't wear capes or carry fake swords they bought at the knife shop at the mall, but it amounts to the same thing. Boys playing pretend with numbers.

(For the record, I'm only saying all that to give Gully a hard time. It actually seems like it would be fun. Did you hear that Frank Gore broke his hand?)

Thanks for reading, folks.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Many Matters of Business

(From the brain, fingers and computer of Andy G)

If I was a smart mans, I would do something like, such as, split this post up into many postings. However, I decided that I could just address many matters of business (hence the title) in this one post. So here goes it ...

I saw a comment from my good friend Drew who was wondering what a songwriting appointment looked like. I am now going to pretend that Drew was not feigning interest and that the rest of you care as well. The good news is that if you really don't care, you can easily scroll to the next "matter of business".
When I was a staff writer for a publishing company, the songwriting appointments basically consisted of meeting someone at around 10AM, chatting for a bit, then throwing out ideas for songs. If there was a particular artist looking for songs at that time, we might try to write in that direction. Many folks would have a notebook with basic song ideas or song titles that you just throw out until you find something that you can both agree to work on. Sometimes something would click and we would be done with a song in an hour or so. Other times we would work all day and only end up with part of a verse or a chorus. In that case we would just schedule another appointment to finish the song. (If you didn't really "click" with the co-writer this was a great opportunity to just say "Let's touch base later and figure out another time to write" while silently agreeing never to call or e-mail each other ever again.)
This particular songwriting appointment last week was for a girl named Jaime Jamgochian. I got a call the week before asking if I would help her and my friend Matt Stanfield (who is producing some of the songs on her record) finish a song that they wanted to track for her new record. These are my favorite kinds of writing appointments because they already had a chorus to the song and there was a good chance of it actually getting recorded. Matt sent me an mp3 of the basic chord structure to the song - leaving the verses blank and singing the chorus so I headed to Matt's studio space in Franklin with a couple of ideas. When I got there we first figured out the melody to the verses and then wrote the lyrics for a couple of them. We left that day with everything but the lyrics for the last line of the 2nd verse and the bridge. I just e-mailed some ideas for those missing lyrics to Jaime this morning. Hopefully the song works for the record.
Writing appointments take a little while to get used to. You have to learn how to be confident enough to throw out ideas - and tough enough to not get your feelings hurt when they don't like some of those ideas. It is also a good idea to write with people that you wouldn't mind just hanging out with. That way - when four hours go by and you still have nothing, you can just look at it like you scheduled four hours to hang out with a friend.

Once again, I realize that I am probably writing to less than 5% of the people who read this thing. But I (unlike two other writers on this blog who shall remain nameless) am interested in reporting the whole truth and not just the information that is popular or pertinent.
After Week 2 in the Fantasy Football season, I am sitting 2-0 and 0-2 in my two leagues.
In my church league (where I am the commissioner) I am sitting in 2nd place behind my pastor. I can thank Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer for my undefeated record. Those guys have been awesome.
In my "Men's Club League" that I have been in for many years with mainly college friends, I am sitting squarely in last place. I can thank Donovan McNabb, Laurence Maroney and Larry Fitzgerald for that. This week I am starting Hines Ward instead of Fitzgerald and considered starting Favre instead of McNabb - but I think I will give Donovan one more week to be awful. I am having flashbacks from 3 years ago with Daunte Culpepper.

Things have been a little slow in the video department lately. This next video might explain why.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Remembering Rich Mullins

Hey, folks. We're gearing up for the concert tonight, and I read through this piece I wrote for CCM. I'm pretty sure all they used was a sentence of it, so I don't feel bad posting the whole thing here.
Beaten Up and Carried Home

Today I drove across the flat, wide prairie at the foot of the Grand Tetons. My wife of twelve years and our three children were with me on the journey, and as is our custom on long trips, we let the kids take turns choosing the music. We listened to Riders in the Sky (the best cowboy music around), the soundtrack to Silverado (the best Western film score ever), and some Sara Groves (who doesn't have much at all to do with the Wild West, but who was a welcome salve after ten hours of the kids choosing the aforementioned music).

Then we rounded the bend at sunset and there before us stood those craggy Tetons, all gray stone with white snow tucked into the fissures. The clouds were gold with sunlight and long, misty fingers of rain were dangling from them, caressing the peaks and down to the aspen- and fir-covered shoulders of the range.

Who else but Rich Mullins could write music that would adequately compliment a scene like that? I asked for the iPod, selected A Liturgy, a Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band, and we drove the next forty five minutes without speaking. We weren't speaking because we were being spoken to.

Rich's music has a finely tuned resonance. Some people I know could listen to his music and miss the vibration completely, while others, like myself, hear the songs and feel rattled to the bone. Driving today in the shadow of the mountains, my bones were rattling with the gospel, and it was the gospel according to Rich. He sang about a God who bares his holy arm in the sight of the nations, who roars and smites and laughs from heaven at his enemies; but the God Rich knew--the God he knows--is also one of tenderness and deep mystery and patient love. He's a God who thought to make the color green, whose mercy rains down from heaven and trickles even to the brown brick spines of our dirty blind alleys. I remember Rich saying in a live recording from years ago that God is like the kid who beats you up and then gives you a ride home on his bike. I've learned a lot about God from Rich, mainly because he put to words the things I already knew were true: I have been beaten up, and I have been carried home.

I could write all day about the ways God has blessed me and changed me by way of Rich's music; I could write all day about the ways I have missed his wry, odd wisdom in the midst of the industry I find myself so often befuddled by; I could also write about the way Rich's writing craft leaves me awestruck and humbled; or about the countless stories I've been told by those he either knew or was known by; or about the uncanny number of artists I know of who point to Rich as one of their chief influences, both spiritual and musical.

But today, after that glorious drive through the West while listening to him sing about America and Jesus and the very truth of God, I can only here express my gratitude to God for Rich's ability to remind me that it is to God alone that I am to be grateful. There's nothing else an artist could better aspire to than to leave that legacy. I have sung his songs and read his writings and visited his grave and am convinced that in his barefoot, quirky, grace-filled wake he left a pair of shoes that no one will ever fill.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Nearly Perfect Pitch

Not to be confused with Nearly Headless Nick.

I didn't work today because my sweet wife is out of town. That left me here at the Warren with my three kids--alone. The women of the world who are reading this are probably rolling their eyes. Here I am, acting like it's newsworthy that a dad would watch his own children. But you must understand. I'm married to Superwoman. I leave town all the time and she somehow keeps the house and the children in spit-spot shape, but not once in our twelve years of marriage has she ever left me with them overnight, let alone for four nights.

(You can stop rolling your eyes, moms.)

The thing is, I've had a great time. I realized the secret to child care: if you plan on getting anything done other than watching the kids, forget it. Make the mental shift that they're your main job, and the other piddly things that you do with your time will just have to wait until they're in bed or in college. Or, of course, you involve them in whatever it is you're doing, which they may or may not appreciate.

Today, for example, I had to chainsaw a giant tree limb into a manageable size, then transport it in pieces to the fire pit. (It was a huge tree limb, and twice I almost got really hurt by the chainsaw and the tree. It's this giant white oak tree that's probably been standing since the Cherokees roamed the area. One of the uppermost primary limbs had snapped off but didn't completely fall. The heaviest part of the broken limb (about as thick as my uncle's waist) was leaning against the tree about twenty five feet up, the whole thing supported by its leafy smaller branches. To make a long story short, when I chainsawed what I thought was a minor branch at the bottom it turned out to be the one holding the whole beast up. The giant limb fell, pulling the still-running saw about fifteen feet into the air, and as I scrambled out of the way I tripped on a branch and landed hard. Where's Gully's camera when you need it? That limb could've crushed me, and the saw could've boogered me up bad. I'll spare you the other equally scary incident.)

Anyway, I recruited the kids to help me lug the branches to the firepit. It took about two sweaty hours--that's how big this limb was. It was a tree unto itself.

So that's the secret to getting things done while caring for children: manual labor. I rewarded us all with Blue Bell ice cream. This is also a secret to child care.

I told you all that so I could tell you this: I found some video from the choir recording day of my four-year-old daughter singing her favorite song. She's obsessed with The Wizard of Oz, and is having an Oz-themed birthday party next weekend. She'll be wearing the Dorothy costume my mom just made her. (Now the moms are saying "awwww" and looking for someone to snuggle with.)

So I present to you, ladies and germs, my daughter in all her cuteness. Be sure and watch the video till the end. Oh, and when I put the soundtrack music into the video, I noticed that Skye was singing it in the right key. How amazing is that?


Listening to: The Wizard Of Oz - Judy Garland - Over the Rainbow
via FoxyTunes

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Loving Punch in the Face

I have to brag about the Captains Courageous for a minute.

I know that they're going to read this, which makes it a little awkward. Guys are weird about complimenting one another. It's much easier for us to tell other folks about how cool we think our friends are, but looking them in the eye and telling them "Well done" means you first have to take a deep breath and clear your throat.

Backstage after our concerts there's usually a meaningful minute of encouragement that passes between us that means a lot to me. The audience's appreciation and that of your bandmates come at you very differently and mean very different things. But in the studio, though we're not at all stingy with our encouragement, there's never any gushing. That would be sissy. Men usually reserve the gushing for when they think the other fellers aren't listening.

I've just about talked myself out of writing anything, knowing that Ben and Andy will read this.

Aw, heck.

It struck me today how vastly different our roles are. Ben plugs away at the computer with an ear for perfection in timing and tone and performance. He doesn't hesitate to stop the recording to get a better take. Today he was recording his piano on "Hosanna" and I saw him stop and re-record the same lick probably twenty five times, and only two of those twenty five sounded off to me. But he heard something in his own performance that wasn't right and he kept hacking away until the tree fell, whereas I would've been thrilled with a decent performance (which on the piano is all I would've been capable of) and moved on. (If I wanted to continue the analogy with the tree, I would say that I'd have been satisfied with lopping off a limb and the tree would've mocked me as I dragged my branch away. But I wouldn't have minded. See, the tree would represent the perfect performance, and the limb would have stood for--)

Thank you, self-editor, for putting a stop to that.

The days Andy and I worked without Ben were good days, but neither of us felt at the end like we trusted ourselves to have gotten it right. Sure enough, when Ben showed up the next day, he kindly set to work fixing what we'd attempted, like a good producer does. It's humbling for me. Resurrection Letters, Vol. 2 is my seventh studio album in ten or so years, and I've learned a thing or two in the process. Back when Ben started playing music with me I asked him to be around in the studio for Love and Thunder, and he took copious mental notes while he watched the great Steve Hindalong and Derri Daugherty fashion my songs into a record. He was but a babe in the woods, freshly graduated from college, married without kids, and I had been around the block once, if not a few times.

That was almost six years ago, and Ben has three kids and a fine reputation in Nashville as producer, songwriter, and session player. I used to have something to teach him about making records; now I defer to his judgment more often than not. It hit me a few weeks ago that though I'm several years older than he is (and much, much better at ping-pong), he's made more records than I have. Somehow, in-between the shows he was playing with me, Ben found time to make record after record, either playing or producing.

What I'm getting at is that it's good to have him around. Left to my own devices, you'd hear a far inferior version of these songs.

Now. About Andy.

I don't mean to imply that because when Ben isn't around we work with some degree of uncertainty Andy isn't capable. Have you heard his two CDs, Old Hat and Room to Breathe? The guitar/vocal production couldn't be much simpler, but you can't miss that he's a great guitar player and a fine producer. His sense of time is scores better than mine, not to mention his ear for beautiful melodies. There were days in the studio when Ben was at the helm and Andy sat on the futon working on Ringo movies because there wasn't much he needed to do. Occasionally when there was a question of preference he'd chime in, but much of the time he served by setting up his studio for us before we arrived, arranging the microphones, sometimes engineering to give Ben a break from staring at the computer screen for hours.

But when it was his time to play guitar, he found the perfect parts to compliment the basic tracks of the song and played them musically and in time. He has a gift for helping the song sound better than it is. He heard things that neither Ben nor I would've thought of, and the songs are better for it.

And that's just the guitar playing. He's a great background singer. I remember noticing that about him when I first saw him play with Jill years and years ago. The best background singers (James Taylor's are at the top of my list) know how to take the edges from the character of their voices, to make their voices seem round and unobtrusive, so that they add to the lead vocal without drawing attention away from it. It's a tricky thing. Today we recorded Andy's background vocals on "Invisible God" and "Windows in the World", and he did exactly what I just described.

But that's just the sound of his voice. He has a great ear for harmonies that I would never come up with. Both times I had the honor of singing on Jill's songs ("Square Peg" and "Wisdom") Andy had the harmony part in mind and taught it to me. If I had had to come up with my own harmony for her stuff it wouldn't have been nearly as inventive or beautiful.

Once again, what I'm getting at is that it's good to have him around.

Today we were putting the finishing touches on "Invisible God", and I couldn't believe it turned out as pretty as it did. I told the Captains that I love it when I hear a song toward the end of the recording process and think, "Who did this? How did this happen? There's no way that we boneheads made this song sound this nice." I imagine little elves sneaking in at night and embellishing our performances. Elves with sideburns and rockabilly hairdos. If it's not elves, then it's a classic case of something being greater than the sum of its parts. That sounds a lot like what Christ's kingdom on earth is supposed to be. We use our gifts to serve, and Christ living in us makes the servant, the serving, and the thing served more beautiful and meaningful than we could've hoped.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. (That's in Ephesians.)

Amen? Amen.

That's all the gushing I or they can stand. Next time I see these guys I'll have to give 'em a loving punch in the face.


Listening to: The Nobility - Halleluiah Chorus
via FoxyTunes

Pappy and George

Yesterday we had the pleasure of seeing our friend Hitoshi "George" Yamaguchi at the studio. He brought along his upright bass and did a fine job on "Have Your Way". After he left Gullahorn sang some background vocals on "Don't Give Up On Me" and right around lunch time our pal Eric Peters showed up. After lunch Eric lent his tenor voice to "Rocket" and made us all happy. Finally, I sang the lead vocal for "Hosanna".

It was a busy, good day of work.

I got home just in time to help my boys set up a tent, break out the jigsaw and cut a piece of scrap wood into legs for a cardboard table they plan to use this weekend to sell drawings and lemonade in the neighborhood. I know that has nothing to do with Resurrection Letters, but I thought it was funny.

The transmission died in our car this week, so I'm at my house waiting for ol' Ben Kenobi to pick me up. I have a few more videos waiting to be put together into their Oscar-contending forms, so check back soon.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Getting Irishy

Today was a great day in the studio, only partly because the weather in Nashville was splendid.

We listened to "Rocket" first thing and were pleased that other than background vocals the track is finished. A rollicking good time, that song. I've never once typed the word "rollicking" before, and have only seen it used in movie and book reviews. Why is that?

We listened to "Have Your Way", a confessional song I wrote one night when I was feeling particularly weary of my sin. Thanks to Jeff Taylor's fine musicianship and gentle spirit, the song also sounds complete, except for an upright bass line. I called our friend Hitoshi "George" Yamaguchi and he's meeting us at the studio tomorrow to play said bass part.

Finally we opened up "Hosanna" again and set to work on the guitars. You may remember that this was an eleventh hour song that the Captains and I wrote a few weeks ago, and we called the tracking musicians back to Eckberg's studio to play it. (Ringo and his friends also came over and re-did our parts; we pretended not to be keen on their wily scheme then came back after they left and recorded the song correctly. Ringo and his friends are delicate.)

Anyway, Gullahorn played a few acoustic guitar parts, a mandolin, a bouzouki, and a lap dulcimer on the song before we called it quits for the day. The song feels really good and just might be the opener for the record. We'll have to see.

We're sadly getting close to the end of this part of the process. Once the thing is recorded, Ben will set to work writing string parts, then we'll record the strings, mix it, master it, print it, sell it, and start the process over again in a year or so.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First things first: Hitoshi on bass.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

By the Power of Nashville

We were unable to record today.

Ben and I carpooled to Gully's, we set up the room and broke out the mandolin, the bouzouki, and the various guitars in order to work on "Hosanna", and about ten seconds after Ben pushed Play, the power died. Soon we found out that Andy's was the only house on the street with the power down, thanks to a fallen limb nearby.

He called the electric service and left a message, and I was faced with the depressing truth that without electricity, I'm out of a job. While we were waiting for power I went and stood on the little bridge in Andy's backyard and watched the minnows in the creek, and I thought about ol' Wendell Berry and his distrust of technology and progress.

He's more or less a Kentucky hobbit. I love his writing, his philosophy, his wise tone, but I just don't think that I'm a better farmer than I am singer/songwriter. We can't all heave our jobs into the river and drag our wives and children to a shack on the banks, after all. Like it or not, I depend on the Nashville Electric Service, the interweb, email, guitar tuners, strings, computer programs--in short, things that Wendell would be appalled by (I think). He tills his field in Kentucky while the Captains and I fashion songs and tether them to digital media in order to shed light in the world. Different lights, but light nonetheless.

We took an early lunch break, ran some errands, came back and found that the power was still off. That was it for the day. There was nothing we could do. I came home and went and sat in the woods with my guitar and practiced my Rich Mullins cover for the tribute show next week, played through a few new songs, and wrote a bit for Resurrection Letters, Vol. 1. Sitting in the woods is good, right, Wendell?

Today was the first day of Fall, at least in spirit, so after dinner we lit a fire outside. We let the kids stay up way past bedtime, sang songs, I read a bit of Watership Down, and we put them to bed, but not before opening the windows in their rooms so the cricket sounds and cool air could float in.

I was bummed to have missed a whole day's work on the record, but enjoying a few things that didn't have to be plugged in was a nice substitute.

A Long Weekend

(Andy G reporting)

Last Friday the three of us flew out to St. Louis for a show in the St. Charles area. It was a great show. The folks there made for a great audience. Here are some other highlights ...

- The spicy chicken things at dinner
- The sauce that accompanied the spicy chicken
- The corn fritters
- The rolls
- The apple pie

After the show, we stayed at the Shive house. It was awesome. We got to hang out with the good old Shive family. Ben's brother and sister-in-law came in town to make it a full on party. Here are some other highlights from that visit ...

- The homemade cherry pie
- The vegetable soup
- The chocolate chip cookies
- The watching of Hot Fuzz
- The sleeping in
- The cinnamon crunch bagels
- The eggs and sausage

The only bad thing about the trip was the fact that Ben and Andrew missed their flight back to Nashville on Saturday. I was sticking around an extra day for a show of my own in Illinois. Ben and Andrew ended up arriving in Nashville around 6 PM and then had to drive over 2 hours to get to another show a couple of hours late. I was glad that I wasn't part of that craziness.

Anyways, yesterday (Monday) Ben did some editing here at my place while I went to the dentist and then to a writing appointment. I have no clue what Andrew did. Here are some other highlights from yesterday when Ben and I went to lunch at the Copper Kettle.

- The green bean casserole
- The fried okra
- The strawberry spinach salad
- The macaroni and cheese
- The roll
- The butter
- The cherry limeade slush float from Sonic

Do you see a theme here? For some reason I have gained 6 pounds since the making of this record.

On another note, this will come as a surprise to Andrew and Ben, but the football season officially started this weekend. Thanks to Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer, I won my game in my church fantasy football league. Thanks to Larry Fitzgerald, I lost in my other league by one point. Just thought you would like to know.

To prove that I am still useful for things other than eating and fantasy football, I give you this video.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Things Got Irishy

You may remember Jeff Taylor from one of the YouTube videos a while back. He was the friend of Michael Card's who played the jig on the accordion. Well, he did us the huge favor of coming to the studio today and playing on a new song called "Have Your Way".

I'm a huge Kate Rusby fan. Rusby and her band are some of the finestd musicians you'll hear, and I liken her to a British Isles version of Alison Krauss--she plays mostly traditional (or very traditional sounding) songs, sings like an angel, and has a remarkable band. (In case you're interested, start with her record Little Lights. They're all good, but it's the first one I heard so I'm partial.)

Anyway, I bought her live DVD for Mr. Card, having been amazed by it myself, and Mike shared it with Jeff, accordion player extraordinaire. So when I sent Jeff the new song, all I had to do was ask him to give it the Kate Rusby treatment and he knew exactly what I meant. "Rusbification" is the word, and Jeff Taylor is the man to do it. He came over today and played accordion then Irish whistle and a little bouzouki, and his sensibilities and skill were more than adequate. I sat and watched while he and Ben worked out different melodies, and in most cases all Ben had to do was sing it and Jeff was right there with the melody, played tasty as carrot cake.

I took some video, but I haven't had time to put it together yet. In lieu I present an interview that just went up on YouTube today, courtesy of I sat down with author Matthew Paul Turner and talked about my new book, my writing process, and this record. I prayed before the interview that I wouldn't say anything I'd later regret, and I only noticed two things, which is way fewer than usual. I don't interview well, and in this interview I look pudgier than normal, which is why I'm going jogging first thing in the morning.

Hope to see some of you in St. Charles, MO and Spring City, TN this weekend.


Listening to: Shawn Colvin - You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Blocks and Cards

Here's a little clip of the great Ron Block's work the other day. Be sure and check out his website (in the sidebar) and his new record DoorWay. Justin Gerard from Portland Studios is responsible for the cover art (he's the same guy who did The Far Country). Ron's taught me a lot over the years about Christ, music, humility, and my identity in God's Kingdom. Oh, and he's a great banjist. And bouzoukist.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Come Together

(This is Andy G writing)
Thanks to everyone who came out last night for the choir vocals. They sound great. In my tired stupor last night while I was trying to pick up, I started rolling up a long power cable. It just happened to be the one power cable that was attached to the one power strip that was attached to the one computer, the one hard drive and the one pre-amp. I was promptly scolded by Biggs, realized my mistake and immediately started taking a nap on the chairs. Luckily we did not lose any of your beautiful vocal gems.
As a celebration, I thought it was finally time to post this video from our tracking session for the extra song, Hosanna.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Setting Up

It's Monday night.

I just got back to the Warren from setting up our gear at Ben's church for the choir session tomorrow night. Mr. Biggs met us there at the church and we loaded in armfuls (arms full?) of wiry things, a computer, Osenga's Digi 002, more wiry things, microphones, and one digital camera.

I was prepared for a long, arduous night of technical difficulties, but it was easy enough. We're ready for the invasion of 20 singers of varying skill and talent, who when singing all together will sound something like the Harlem Boys' Choir. I'm thinking of the Glory soundtrack, which still makes me cry. Am I dreaming too big? I think not.

Anyway, tomorrow's the big day. I'm so glad you guys responded so well to the invitation, and I hope everything works tomorrow night, or else your trip will have been for a free dinner. Of course, those of you who didn't make the 20 will be treated to a video as soon as we have time to put it together. There are two videos on the verge of completion, so check back soon.

Thanks for reading.