Over the last 20 years, I’ve made a handful of albums and EP’s, none of which were really done correctly. Either we’d go into a friend’s basement studio and bang out some songs, or we’d try to do it ourselves. I even did one record all by myself, every instrument, mixing, the whole 9 yards. It took all of this to really make me realize that no matter how much I try, I’m not an engineer or producer. I’m a song writer.
On advice from a mutual friend, I was introduced to Justin Cronk (Vendetta Red, With Friends Like These, Ships) and after hanging out for a few months, decided to bring him on as Producer for this recording project. We worked at Toy Box Studios in Seattle, where Justin is co-owner.
We spent the first few days going through the songs I thought would make a good record. All guitar songs. He helped arrange them, we’d pick tempos, etc. and after certain songs he’d say “not this record, but perhaps the rock album.”
Some he said he just didn’t like. Hey, at least he was honest. Right?
After a few days of putting down scratch tracks, we came to the first piano song. It was getting late, and I had only thought of putting two maybe three on the record. After I started to play, Justin got up and came in with a bottle of whiskey. He asked how many more piano songs I had. I shrugged and said “ten or so I guess.” He poured me a glass, himself a glass, and said “just play” and went back into the control room. I played.
After I was done, he came in and said, “Do you want me to produce your album?” I said “Of course.” He said “Do you trust me?” I said “Of course.” Then he said, “Well, you’re probably going to hate me, and I know you want to do a country record, but we’ve got to do a piano record.”
So we started tracking. We did 11 songs and he brought in some of his friends that are outstanding studio musicians: Garrett Lunceford on drums, Jacob Hoffman on bass, Jeff Fielder on Guitar, Kimo Muraki on brass, reeds, winds, steel guitar, backing vocals and Jordan Vestal on organ.
Justin would only let me play piano and sing, so I had to sit there and watch these guys work their magic. And work it they did. What we came up with is easily the most amazing representation of my work that I’ve ever heard. Justin is an amazing Producer and I look forward to working with him again.
People who have heard the record say it reminds them of many different artists. Most have had nothing but great things to say about it. I’ll leave it to you to make a comparison if you’d like to. Most of all, I hope you enjoy it, and, if you do, please feel free to share it with your friends.