Recording my EP "Still," (to be officially released 11/1/11) with my new band - Hilary Scott and The New County Line - was a fantastic, frenetic experience. We chose the oft-praised Sawhorse Studios in St. Louis with engineer Jason MacEntire. (Recently voted Best Recording Studio by the Riverfront Times). Every good thing I had heard or read about Jason and his studio was proven true a hundred times over.
On this EP, I play a lot more piano than on previous records, where I mainly composed and performed on acoustic guitar. To have access to the same Baldwin baby grand that Ike and Tina recorded their first hit on was fabulous - it has a sharp, cut-through, driving sound that is perfect for the indie-folk direction my music has taken in its newest incarnation with my fellow musicians AJ Gennaro and Josh Schilling. I also had the chance to record organ tracks on Jason's studio Hammond - could there be a cooler sound on earth?
We booked two back-to-back days in the studio and managed to get all bass, drum, piano, and acoustic guitar tracks in one day, and all electric guitar, organ, main vocals, harmony vocals and additional "sounds" on day 2. Spending ten hours in the studio at a stretch is like being in purgatory and heaven at the same time. Recording is one of my favorite things to do - songs take shape, sometimes get pushed in an entirely different direction, and pull you to your limits in the studio. You hear everything through the best microphones and speakers, you use the best equipment. That is the heaven...But having a strict time limit makes you ever-conscious of the deadline, a pressure that adds increasing weight to your shoulders as each minute ticks by. Will we get everything done we planned and wanted to? That is the purgatory...
But the answer to that question is we accomplished all we wanted, and more, due in large part to Jason MacEntire's professionalism and speed. Some of the "additional sounds" on the record were incredibly fun to perform. After getting large chunks of main tracks laid down, we'd break for pizza or cheap mexican food, shovel it in, then play around with hand claps, stomping on a piece of wood, and even using the sound of an anvil being dropped.
Side note now that I typed the word pizza: the pizza delivery guy, wondering what kind of place it was when I opened the door to him, was a bit awestruck when I told him it was a recording studio. He started nervously rambling about how he did some graphic work if the owner ever needed help with anything like that. I responded I wasn't too sure, but... I handed him the money for the pizzas, and he laughed nervously and turned to go. He was still holding all three of our pizzas. I had to ask him if I could maybe keep the pizza in exchange for the cash. Poor guy...
In a future blog I will relate the story of our photography session with Corey Woodruff - replete with mosquitoes, sandy lake bottoms and rock climbing, but for now, suffice it to say once we got the graphics and mastering done, we were excited to see the finished product, which just shipped a few days ago. I am so proud of this project I am bursting at the seams for everyone to hear it!
We are pre-releasing "Still" in Columbia, Missouri on Friday October 14th at The Bridge, for the special fans who have been with me since the beginning of my journey in 2001. Then, in November, we will start the first leg of our US tour, beginning in Seattle and heading back down through Colorado. We have many great shows planned, including a couple of performances with Darren Smith, a show with CA's Megan Slankard, and one with Seattle's Altin Jimbiz. We will even hit up my hometown, Pullman, WA, for a show we will hopefully share with Charlie Sutton, who has been featured on NPR's "A Prairie Home Companion". Please join us somewhere along the road if you can - dates are on the website and more are possibly being added so do check back.
See you out there - bring some noisemakers - we need your help on Labor of Love, it's a crowd-participation type of song!!