Three years ago I embarked on what I like to refer to as my sabbatical from Nashville's Music Row, which is just a fancy way of saying: ” I got out of Dodge,” to find out if I could meet up with the guy that moved to Nashville so many years ago and see what he’d been up to, I have not been disappointed. Stepping away from the competition and chaos of Music Row has reintroduced me to the joy of writing without concern for whether it was radio ready, too this or too that or just another title to throw on the quota pile. When asked why I left Nashville after so many years and so much success I joke that I wanted to learn how to write a five-minute song again without apology.
When you’re dry of ideas and inspiration something has got to change so all of this moving and resettling was done in an attempt to find a creative divining rod and locate a new well. I seem to have tapped into a pretty deep one at present.
I’ve spent these last three years writing with a number of new co-writers that reside outside of the confines of Nashville, TN. all the while making plenty of solo writing dates with myself whether here in Chapel Hill, NC or down at the coast or up in the mountains, all depending on my mood and the temperature outside.
So now I have a collection of tunes, a more singular style, a growing team and a producer picked out in Chris Rosser to help me record this collection of mine and get them out to the universe and make room for more songs to come.
A couple of years ago I started working with an artistic director, mentor, guru, therapist, mystic, soothsayer, guide to the stars, cheerleader and friend named Kari Estrin. Although I’ve been involved in countless projects, big and small, I needed someone that would tell me when I was just kicking the can down the road instead of focusing on my work, and someone who would tell me when it was good work or not up to par. It can sometimes be hard to tell the difference when we birth the little tikes and grow attached to them as if they’re an appendage sprouting from our side we can no longer imagine a cd without. Some just don’t make it.
As part of this new me process, a year ago I spent a life-changing week working with vocal coach to the stars Pete Strobl. After years of singing in the studios in Nashville I had confined myself to one way of singing. This time around I feel like I’ve got a newfound freedom when I sing. Perhaps I’m reveling too much of the behind the scenes energy that goes into the making of a cd, but it’s fun to write it down and ruminate on where I was a year ago and were I am today. I will always feel like I owe Pete a debt of gratitude for his unselfish guidance. Plus he’s a really funny guy to hang out with ;-)
I’m taking a different approach to recording this time and actually have a producer rather than depending solely on my own musical tastes. You know the old saying: “A lawyer who keeps his own counsel is cheap!” OK, that’s a small departure from the original quote, but pretty accurate in this instance, after all it’s a folk record and not overly funded.
Chris has a great approach to acoustic recording and is quite the artist himself. I greatly admire his work and no doubt the project will be richer with some of Chris’s pixie dust sprinkled in.
So starting this first week of August 2016 we go in to start beating away on the rhythm and bass parts. I’m excited to work with some of Asheville’s finest musicians and to hang out in the creative environs of Asheville and the surrounding mountain view. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.