Back to Bass-ics, Day 4
The weather has finally lifted. It’s been a rainy and gloomy week in Asheville, and while it’s still a bit chilly for my taste, it’s supposed to warm up more today and the sun’s out. Sun!! I’m a happy camper.
We’re back in the studio today. We’ve still got Scott Barnett at the helm, but they’ve switched us from Studio A to Studio B, which has better acoustics for recording vocals. As vocal tracking generally goes, it takes a bit of time to get your voice warmed up in the morning, and get used to singing with headphones on. Sav started yesterday’s vocal tracking session with Moments, and after listening to yesterday’s rough mixes, it’s the only one he’s not totally sold on. Once we get farther into today’s session, he wants to listen to it again and see if he wants to take another crack at it. The other songs are sounding good. He’s super pleased with his vocals on Walls of Time, and Alleghenies – he tracked the entire vocal to Alleghenies on his first pass… no fixes. One and done. At the moment, he’s running through Lookout Mountain, and jovially cursing the way he arranged it: “Gahhh! Who arranged this?? Where is he??” The intro to the verses is tricky and it’s taking him a minute to nail it and sound comfortable. Looks like someone played an April Fool’s Day joke on himself… haha. Actually, I think another cup of coffee is all he needs.
After a few listens (and some coffee), Sav hopped back behind the mic and finished Lookout Mountain and One More Lonely Day. The whole week has been either right on or a little bit ahead of schedule, and today’s been no exception. We started around 11:30 this morning, and were done with Sav’s parts by about 1pm. We hadn’t expected to be done this early, and Sav had scheduled Darren Nicholson from Balsam Range to come in around 3:30 to add baritone vocals on a few songs. With a few hours of time to kill, Sav decided to track an extra harmony part to one of the songs. It’s likely that he won’t end up using it, but… it’s ready to go if he decides he wants it! Darren’s in the studio now, listening to Jump on a Pullman for the first time and getting a sense of what he’d like to do for his baritone part. Robert Greer from Town Mountain is coming in on Monday morning to throw down on a baritone vocal, as well. Sav will have all of next week with Van Atkins, the Chief Engineer here at Crossroads, to mix the record. I’m incredibly jealous – I have to head back home after today, but I’d love to be here for the mixing process.
While I won’t get to be here while they mix Back to Bass-cs, Van did let me sit in with him in Studio A for a little while today and watch as he mixed a gospel record. He was pretty close to finished, and was just doing minor tweaks and adjustments before sending it off for the artists to give it a listen. Although Van’s been busy with other projects this week, he’s popped in and out of the studio a lot during both instrumental and vocal tracking, getting a feel for what he’ll be mixing next week.
It’s been a whirlwind of a week and it’s just about time for me to sign out and hop on a train (or is it Jump on a Pullman?) back to D.C.!! But first, I’ve got to say a few thank yous: to Sav for letting me be a part of this process; to Scott and Van and Ty and all the folks here at Crossroads for their hospitality, and taking the time to answer all my questions; and to Adam, Ron, and Coop – y’all rocked it… well, Coop farmed it, but we’ll let that slide. :)
I’m pretty confident that this week has proven my hypothesis: Making a record is a whole lot of work, and a whole lot of fun.
Previous posts about Back to Bass-ics:
Full gallery of photos from the trip: Go Here