My First CD!!!!!

It’s been a year since my last post, and wow, what a year it has been!  My site wasn’t officially live until recently, so I didn’t even think of blogging. That’s all going to change now. I’m going to go back over 2011 and the creation of my upcoming album, “How it Was”.  I learned and experienced so much through the recording of this album that I’m bursting with stories to tell. The album, by the way, is releasing on February 7th! Digital distribution through things like iTunes and Amazon may be a few days or weeks after that date, though.

Well, now talk a little bit about the album’s creation.  As I mentioned in my last post, I worked with Elsinore frontman/songwriter, Ryan Groff, in his fledgling Perennial Sound Studio (which was his basement at first, but now he’s getting serious and building a full-fledged studio addition to his house!  And that addition is almost done!  I hope to record my 2nd Album there. ^_^). My album was the first that Ryan has produced by himself (as he has surely helped with his solo albums and Elsinore’s CDs) and we both learned a ton through the process. I highly recommend Ryan if you’re in the Champaign area and looking to record something.  I’m extremely happy with the quality of the recording we created. He also let me have full creative control, so the album really felt like it was mine (even though there are some obvious influences from Ryan that I ultimately enjoyed allowed into the cd).

I have had a few people ask, “What does a producer do?” and well, I had the same question!  Ryan helped me with fleshing out my songs. Sure, I could have just done an acoustic only CD, but I wanted fuller songs. Ryan helped with things from melodies to specific instruments/sounds. We even got to the point that we slowed songs down to really capture the essence of the song (Starry Night and Ten Foot Duck are the two examples). I was a little resistant at first, but when we tried things slower it all made sense. It was like the songs were screaming for specific additions, and we unleashed them to make the songs even better. I had some ideas of how I wanted the songs to sound, but I’m just one person. I have tunnel vision as most people do. Ryan helped push past that envelope and explore each song’s potential. Would the songs be different with another producer?  Yes!  That’s why a producer is quite important. I never entirely realized that. As with most things, you totally have to experience it first hand to understand it.

Right now, I’m a day away from sending my Master CDs to my CD replication company of choice (Oasis CD). And well, I’m sure I won’t be able to sleep tonight. I have waited for this for 10 years. Technically, all my life. Some of the songs on “How it Was” are 10 years old, and some are just a year or two. I’m excited to write more, but I’m scared that it’ll be another 10 years until the next CD. Hahahahaha  But the songs written in the last 10 years show how it was. I hope people can relate to these songs. No matter what, I had some major therapeutic help from these songs, and being able to share these with people is scary and exciting all at the same time. To quote Caroline Spine’s “Rock n’ Roll Hero”, “I’ll show you my soul”. That’s what this album is. A group of pictures from my soul over the years.

Well, I have a busy night coming up. Two open mice and talking about a possible gig in a few weeks. AND submitting the album art and finalizing the shipment for the CD replication. Woah!

Thanks for reading. Thanks for the support. And stay tuned!  More blogs and YouTube videos to come

Take care!


justin

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First Recording Session

So, this past Saturday was the first recording session for my upcoming CD. It’s a crazy thought, that after 10 – 12 years of dreaming, working, and trying to be a musician with an album of songs I am finally making it happen. Wow.

Well, I want to use this blog to mainly document the process of recording my first CD (tentatively titled “Thus Far”…which I have always wanted that title, but maybe I just need to rethink things. Wanting this name for 10 years shouldn’t mean I should accept it as is. Maybe I’ll find something more appropriate, or just stick with it) So this blog will be just like my YouTube channels, as how I’m documenting my process as a musician on my main channel, and as a performing musician on my “live” channel. This will be documenting what I can’t entirely video record, and that is, my thoughts. :)

So, on to the first day of recording. Ryan (my voice teacher and producer, and musician himself! Check out his band at http://www.elsinoremusic.net/) and I spent a good 8 hours Saturday working on my song “Even the Best of Things”. I nailed the guitar in one take, and then we started working on extra pieces to fill up the song. It was a joyride! “How about some keyboard here?” “Oh! I’m hearing this flute part there!”, “Maybe some electric slide guitar??” It was CRAZY! I wrote “Even the Best of Things” 8 or 9 years ago, so I have only heard it in a strictly guitar and voice form. Adding all these extra layers gave the song a new breath of life, and started to calm the fears I had about this process. “Are my songs good enough? They don’t sound like other songs out there…I don’t get it!” That thought was going through my head a lot. Self doubt kicking in and all. But once I started hearing a song take shape, a new style to call my own, as I was writing and creating the new parts. It was a shock and a thrill! I can’t wait for the next recording session. ^_^

We tried vocals out after the 8 hours of recording many instruments, but decided that fatigue was not going to help us get a good recording. I’m very wary of my vocals anyway, so being tired and not having any progress vocally took some toll. But after listening to the progress so far, I think I might be able to capture a decent vocal take that will now fit the new style of this song. Meeeep!!!! I’m excited.

Anyway, thank you for reading. And MANY thanks for joining me in this journey.

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