Friday, May 20, 2011

Recording Rescue.

"I don't want to make a demo," said Peter Link, when we started this project. He's the producer and we're doing it in his studio. "I want to make records."

"Rescue" is a very simple song. Part of its beauty is the sonic quality of the voice against the piano. But it's a sound that you can really only achieve live. When I sing, I tune myself to the instrument and sing according to the vibrations I feel coming from the instrument into my body. In fact, that's always how I sing every song live.

The question is how one achieves this kind of room/body vibration in a recording, where the listener is more likely to be listening to it through tiny ear buds or computer speakers -- and where the piano is dampened in the studio in order to keep it from leaking into the vocal mic.

The answer is that you cannot.

And that's the challenge for Peter and me because a piano/vocal recording just sounds like a demo.

Now, maybe that's enough. It's enough for a lot of folks who like the "Bonus Round Sessions" CD best. Recorded years ago, a mixture of tracks from when I was desperately ill to feeling pretty strong, it consists mainly of songs from TLS, early versions of songs that landed in Big Voice, and a few others. Randy Tobin and I had no budget, so we ran the tape, I got on the piano and we just did it live, for most part, in the studio.

But, except maybe for "Rescue," it ain't that simple. I want to give all these newer songs a chance to breathe on their own. Many, now -- especially selections from New World Waking -- have big choruses and need more instrumentation.

So, we're experimenting, Peter and I. And that's all we can do. Keep  your fingers crossed. What we end up with may not be what you expect. But, song by song, he and I will learn together. 

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