Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"You're a Dinosaur"

I just finished a first mix of "You're a Dinosaur." This mix only took me two days. I'm definitely getting quicker at it!

This is one of the rockingest songs on the CD, and it features John's distinctive electric guitar part on the verses - it's an energetic little groove accented by a high pitched harmonic on the "and" of four. Very cool. This one also features the audience roaring like dinosaurs, and doing the "hadrosaur hoot" - which may be one of the most distinctive sounds ever captured in bits. (I almost said on tape - but this is a digital recording!)

It won't be too long before you can actually hear what I've been talking about - I have registered a domain name for the new CD and will soon put up a website to include sound clips of the mixes I'm working on along with lots of other exciting stuff.

You can check it out at www.greatgreensquishymeanconcertcd.com - yes, it's mighty long. But there it is.

Right now there's nothing there. But you will be able to say you were the first visitor!

Friday, February 18, 2005

"Love This Baby"

I've been editing and mixing "Love This Baby" this week. It took me only three days to "finish"!! I put finish in quotes because once I burn a mix to CD and listen around I always find a change or two to make.

On this song Bob, the bass player, played electric mandolin, and John, the guitar player, played bass. Bob's performance was better at Bartlesville, but my vocal was much better at Stillwater, so I used liberal portions of both shows to construct a "best" performance overall.

This one cleaned up very nicely. The wonderful mandolin sound, Cody's drumming with brushes, and John's solid style of bass all team up to give it a distinct feel.

I'll be submitting "Love This Baby" to a TAXI listing for a publisher who needs Father's day songs, which is why I put it at the head of the list this week. Wish me luck!

Four down; nine to go!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Mixing Mixing Mixing, and Title

I took some mixes to Steve McLinn at Ojas studio in Oklahoma City this weekend. Steve is the one who recorded the live shows for my upcoming CDs. He'll be mastering the CD and he's advising me on the mixes. It was great to get a second set of ears listening, especially a set as knowledgeable as Steve's. I just spent the past two hours implementing his advice on the "Horny Toad" mix - things like: a bit of reverb on the snare (just the initial reflections, no tail), gate the snare, small adjustments to the EQ on bass and kick, put a limiter on the kick, pan more toward the center, a touch of plate reverb on the vocal, more acoustic guitar, and presto! Did you catch all that? It sounds much better, trust me, - Thanks, Steve! - and it sounded pretty darn good to begin with if I say so myself!

That was an important meeting because it gave me confidence in the mixing settings and decisions I've made so far. Many of these will be the same for all the songs, so mostly what I need to worry about now is editing - selecting the best bits from all three shows, pulling them together, correcting yucky mistakes where possible and smoothing out the peaks and valleys, one song, one instrument at a time.

It's incredible what digital editing lets you do! In "Horny Toad" alone, get this - there was a computer glitch during the Stillwater show and one section of the song did not get recorded, but Stillwater was the best performance otherwise. So I filled in the missing part with the Bartlesville show, which was recorded a different in a different room, and even at a different tempo-!! You can't hear the switch! It's smooth as silk. I even flew in a single word from the City Arts show (in which a different vocal mic was used!) to correct a missed note in the vocal - Steve couldn't tell, and his ears are golden. I reconstructed a bass line from individual notes because it had been played wrong and clashed with the other guitar parts. These were just a few of the biggest challenges I've tackled. It can get tedious, but when I hear the results it's a lot of fun to look back and know what it took to make it sound so great.

Don't worry - I'm not perfecting it to death. The energy and "liveness" of the recording is still very much present. I'm walking that fine line carefully. I was tempted to use two different acoustic guitar parts simultaneously - one from each of two different shows - but that was just a bit too odd - suddenly there's a phantom guitar player on stage? I nixed that idea. I want to keep it real, but also take out the clunkers so that you'll love to hear these recordings over and over.

Well, I'd best get back to work. I know I've said it before, but I think I'm at the point now, for real, where I'll start cranking out mixes at a much faster pace. More soon.

Oh, and the title of the new CD will be (drum roll please)...

-- The Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD --

Leave a comment. Let me know what you think.

(My graphic designer will probably want to kill me when he tries to fit it on the spine!)

Monday, February 07, 2005

General Update

Let's see, since last I wrote...

My website now resides at Hostbaby.com (part of CDBaby.com). They have some cool gadgets I'm still learning how to use. One of them is a concert calendar, so hopefully it will help me keep you updated more easily.

Speaking of which, I've been adding new shows to the calendar lately, including eleven programs in the Tulsa libraries this June and July; I'm opening for Zoom City at Wacker Park in Paul's Valley June 10 at 7:00 PM (free show); I have six school programs in Fort Worth, TX March 7, 8, and 9; I'll be doing the Tulsa County Reading Council's Young Author's Fair again April 16 - very excited about that!

I'll try to get all these up on the concert page soon.

I've been struggling to get enough time in at the computer editing and mixing the new CD. It's been slower going than I'd hoped, but the results sound great. I'm just about finished with "The Frog Song." That one was particularly tricky due to all the audience interaction - lots of little bits to get just right. Later this week I plan to meet with Steve, my sound dude, to tweak the mixes I've got so far in his studio. That will give me some feedback on how I'm doing.

I've also been working on a brand new song for this summer, "Dragons, Dreams, and Daring Deeds" - that's the theme for the library programs. It's actually the same theme across many different states, so I'm hoping to end up with a song that will get some wide distribution.

I'll keep you posted!