“Don’t Move” at Studio P

Become a Patron of this Sonography!

A Word on the Producer: My friend Eric Schwartz, I’ll have you know, is a substantial artist in his own right. An excerpt from his bio states, “Schwartz is possibly the only artist in the history of the world to get raves from Gloria Steinem and Hustler Magazine.” A celebrated juxtapositioner, a purveyor of the best muppet energy on the most incendiary of topics with the funkiest of earworms, splayed on the spectrum of sincerity and absurdity…Never was there such an agony of decision between dancing and catching every lyric. Couldn’t be happier/prouder that such a smart performer not only took my song in stride – booking the world-class studio and musicians, and adding keys and background vocals to the track – but also liked my song. For the love of your personal humanity, call on this cat for a house concert. He’ll do it.

A Word on the Studio/Engineer: Will Kennedy and Studio P were a welcome fit for such an intimate song – tucked into a corner of Pacoima, CA that feels more like Los Angeles than Hollywood, I took in flora, food, and folks in a delicious waft of what I consider my home region (I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley). It’s hard to find studios that are as complete and cozy as Will’s, a great use of tiny space with an isolated drum room and a loo, not so much meant for even the wee ensemble we used for this number but well-planned and executed all the same. A no-nonsense workhorse, capable of telling you when he needs to not be interrupted, capable of telling you when it needs to be done again and when it doesn’t, and an all-around advocate of good work. Call on Will for your project.

A Word on the Band: And if you’re looking for A1, totally pro, one-take wonders, receptive to instruction and hip to protocol, upholding their artistic integrity while being a fully functioning cog in the greater song-machine…Call these dudes:
David Goodstein — Drums
Phil Parlapiano — Accordion

img_1672

 

“The High Dark Rise” at Sonic Boom Room

Become a Patron of The Singles Project

This Appalachian waltz lent itself to mass amounts of devastating mountain estrogen.

A Word on the Band: Back in November, Sugar in the Gourd, an all-girl string band in LA, asked if I could sub short notice for one of their members, which I did with relish since I so infrequently get to play music with other women. The success of that evening led them to hire me for another date one of their members couldn’t make, and before the evening was over I was inspired to recruit them (don’t you love how recruiting begets recruiting? In LA it seems no one has time to “scope out” a musician—you take a chance on them based on word of mouth reports, and if it works out, take another chance on them to test consistency—everything is relationships! And vetters are always simultaneously being vetted by the vettees!). Much love to the Sugars for being So supportive, wild, and interested! “…you can’t get it out…!”

A Word on the Engineer/Studio: Whenever I’m looking for a studio the first step is to ask the band. “Kevin Jarvis at the Sonic Boom Room in Venice,” was Lisa Salloux’ immediate response. In addition to the Sugar in the Gourd record, Kevin Jarvis also does a lot of post production for some heavy-hitting TV shows, a fact which endeared me to him immediately since that’s the business I grew up around in LA through my father. The Sonic Boom Room is a great place to record – complete with a full drum kit, at least three rooms that can be isolated, and shelves and shelves of various snares (“I’ve gotten rid of a bunch,” Kevin promises). The bathroom was clean and the coffee, tea, and company were delicious. SonicBoomRoom.com will be live starting 2017 March 1. Visit Kevin there and peruse his impressive resume…

Lynn Shipley — standup bass
Lisa Salloux — mandolin and BGVs
Aubrey Richmond — fiddle and BGVs
We all co-produced on this one to some extent.

s138626908949038707_p1_i1_w715

“Rain in the Desert” at OtherHand Recording

You, too, can become a Patron!
Reap the Rewards!
Enjoy the music!
Patreon.com

A Word on the Engineer/Studio: Jeff Kossack loves chilling out to great music—I suppose that’s one of the reasons he’s part of the Tall Men Group, a highly respected local band in which each member is a phenomenal songwriter in his own right. In the studio as in life he’s affable and charming, just as likely to offer you whiskey as water, and a no-nonsense, music-spewing people-connecter. He worked quickly and cheerfully, was hospitable to me and my friend Therese who sometimes accompanies me as my Professional Audience, and brought good and interested ears to my song.

A Word on the Accompanist: I don’t generally support out-of-house accompaniment; as in, I want the musicians with whom I work to be present and engaged and able to see and hear what, when, and where the music is. In lieu of that, though, I’ll take a musician who works hard to get it right, takes instruction, and delivers on a deadline. Thank you Nick Kirgo for working with me sight-unseen!

“Maranatha” at Pip Studios

Become a Patron of The Singles Project
Window-shop The Singles Project on Soundcloud

I’m very fortunate that my earliest songwriting influences are all people I know personally. That is why each year I’m going to do just one cover, songs I like written by people I love. Last year I did a song my dad wrote. This year’s cover is brought to you by Bob Marlowe, the Man of Glass. And not only did I get to record with Bob, my parents happened to be in town so they jumped on board as well. Between our shenanigans and the warmth and hospitality bestowed by Deborah Marlowe and Pip the Dog, everything conspired in that La Crescenta home to elicit the comfort and peace of a deeply meaningful sliver of song I have heard since I had ears to hear. Finally, add to that the legacy I felt I was continuing with Bob’s music—which along with my mother’s and David Covington’s (one more influence whose song you may soon hear from me) found its way into another politically charged time when all people wanted was to talk about love and redemption and coffee.

Not much to say on the studio, it was literally a closet, we sang to coats and underwear.
Not much to say on the engineer, he’s my dad, he’s invincible.
We all produced at our own discretion and when necessary.
Bob Marlowe played guitar, his favorite Taylor in an open G tuning.
Scott Brownlee played stand up electric bass.
I sang the first verse and then Bob, Pamela Brownlee, and I all sand in three-part harmony the rest of the song.

Bob Marlowe

Scott & Pamela Brownlee

The Salt Company

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Oh Sleeper” with S.C.A.B.E.

You, too, can become a Patron!
Reap the Rewards!
Enjoy the music!
Patreon.com

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So much thanks to the formidable, world-class, beloved bass player for and collaborator with artists such as Jackson Browne, Stephen Stills, Keb’ Mo’, and Brett Dennen (to name just a few) – Mr Kevin McCormick. Just as watching a master carpenter work is relaxing because you know they won’t cut themselves, watching Kevin McCormick play bass is dreamy and engaging and comfortable – not a note goes by that he doesn’t dig on, automatically giving listeners the room to dig on ’em as well.

When I approached Kevin about this project, I gave him a very rough scratchy voice-memo recording with the A and B parts of the song, and said I’d like to do a choir of vocals with a choir of bass parts, and nothing else. So he took it to his cave for a couple of days and then had me overlay on his creation. It reminded me of gradeschool when I’d draw a few lines and pass it to my friend Jenny, and she’d elaborate on those lines and pass it to our friend Mandy, and this would continue until we had a full-fledged dragon on our hands (and no idea what the teacher was talking about). It was good to collaborate, and opened my mind to the idea of co-writing, of which we may see more in the near future…

In the meantime, please enjoy what Kevin and I (and the Southern California All-Bass Ensemble) co-created – I remarked to him in the process that learning his bass solo in the middle of the tune was making me a better musician…

“Goodbye My Isaac” at Hayloft Studios

Become a Patron of The Singles Project
Window-shop The Singles Project on Soundcloud

Through our mutual friend Chris Murphy I was given a little studio time with Pat Flynn (of New Grass Revival) as a producer and guitar accompanist for this month’s single, and I’m so pleased he and our friend Evan Winsor and the steadfast Cartier of Hayloft Studios were so available and so GAME. Live takes can be very tricky, especially with a central mic like we did this time…but the virtue of having a different team for each tune is making things work in all different ways.

Pat Flynn – Producer, Guitar

Hayloft Studios and Josh “Cartier” Cutsinger

Chris Murphy – Mandolin

Evan Winsor – Standup Bass

FullSizeRender 7.jpg

“Rake” at Electracraft

1186201_10151548312705718_2094056941_n

You, too, can become a Patron!
Reap the Rewards!
Enjoy the music!
Patreon.com

A Word on the Studio:
Electracraft is in the heart of Hollywood and embodies so much of what you’d hope to expect in an LA recording studio – belied by the dingy exterior, you’re admitted in, ascend the stairs, and the first thing you notice is the expansive smoking area, “for whatever,” as Hal puts it. Inside is not only an open control center reminiscent of something of which James T. Kirk would approve, not only a large-yet-cozy isolation booth, but also a full kitchen and breakfast table. “Sometimes you’re in here a while,” Hal says. “It’s nice to have.” It was clean, inviting, easy to navigate, secure parking, and rather hugely professional vibes.

A Word on the Engineer/Co-Producer/Accompanist:
Hal Cragin took the bare bones of a demo recording and gave them not only skin, but sinew, muscles, and even an organ. His drum samples are some of the tastiest and liveliest I’ve ever heard, and it’s a very rare exception that I’ll even consider fake drums. #veryhardsell The moment we were settled in Hal showed me what he’d already done to the track, needlessly adding caveats about how we didn’t have to keep anything he did ever, and from that point we worked fairly seamlessly together, volleying thoughtful ideas, feedback, candid opinions, and over-the-top humor. He took exceptional care of both me and the song. Many, many thanks, Hal! To the future! ❤

Halmausoleum

Blood & Water at audioGrand Analog & Digital

IMG_0204

You, too, can become a Patron!
Reap the Rewards!
Enjoy the music!
Patreon.com

A Word on the Engineer/Co-Producer:
Doug Messenger‘s audioGrand is a blast from the past – his studio is fully analog, which was a great pleasure for me, being amongst sights and sounds and even smells I remembered from my childhood when my dad ran a recording studio in the 80’s (if you listen carefully to the beginning of the track, you can hear the tape starting and Doug’s voice saying “Rolling!”). Doug himself has worked with innumerable A-listers, including-but-not-limited-to Jimmy Eat World, Beck, and Milla Jovovich (who knew??), as well as played tunes with Van Morrison back in the Boston days… The man has been everywhere and done everything, and now tends his studio contentedly, happy to take on the shoestring, crack-knuckled projects of maelstrom waifs out for blood and water in the Los Angeles desert. He’s careful and meticulous, was incredibly encouraging to me and my crew, and went out of his way to make certain I was happy with my product and had everything I needed. Thank you, Doug!

A Word on the Band/Co-Producers:
I had the distinct pleasure of bringing three great guys in on this project, who I only knew of because I chanced to catch them playing as the house band for a comedy show called Boobie Trap. I have to say, in addition to being great listeners (read: great musicians), on point and in the pocket in their delivery, totally respectful and supportive of a complete stranger’s music, flexible on budget, punctual, and masters of adapting to a largely ill-conceived plan, these three fellows were also NICE and charming, WHILE communicating their needs and keeping the flow flowing. Their exceptional individual and collective musicality aside, these boys have got a lot of depth and character, and I see where their training and style have helped it develop. I would say I got lucky, but some people wear their awakeness on their sleeves, and you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to notice. Please call them for just about anything, including but not limited to high-profile event-production, composition for film & television, and rip-roaring good fun:
More to be found at Fireleopardshow.com

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Get Lost at Katonah Studios

images

You, too, can become a Patron!
Reap the Rewards!
Enjoy the music!
Patreon.com

Meet Steve Postell, an earlier generation mainstay of the Santa Monica songwriter scene. Enter his studio, which like so many studios in LA (including the one in which I live), is a very effectively re-purposed garage…and is nearly completely overrun with frogs.

Glass frogs, plastic frogs, metal frogs, cloth frogs, frogs that play bass, frogs that read, frogs that dance, frogs with afros…just about any kind of frog you can imagine. Somewhere way back in the annals of time a client brought a gift frog for Steve, and somehow the trend never died. Steve is, in fact, no longer accepting frogs, so when you call him to record you (and you should), please do not bring a frog. Not even as a joke.

A Word on the Engineer/Co-Producer/Accompanist/Studio:
I’m finding over time how an engineer’s energy can make or break a recording, and Steve is a master of efficiency and focus, things I readily include in the list of helpful vibes. We sat down at the beginning of the session and planned what we would do and how long we should take at it. He made a quick chart of the song as I explained what I had in mind, and what he wasn’t able to execute to his satisfaction in our session he put together on his own time, an extremely generous gesture. His intellectually-informed creative contributions, both on the dobro and in his totally worthy feedback, put me at ease and let me know I was working with someone who enjoyed the work. Steve does not engage with projects which will not live up to a certain standard, so his willingness to participate in the Singles Project with me, with just about zero precedent, was an immediate compliment, and I am honored to count him collaborator.

The Blessing Song at Jax Trax

You, too, can become a Patron!
Reap the Rewards!
Enjoy the music!
Patreon.com

Jack Lee was a quiet tree of invitingness when Therese Barron and I entered the house at the very northern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. His home felt occupied, but with enough room in it for those who entered so that they didn’t feel they might knock something or someone aside by being there. A stone on the desk in the living room where we recorded read a comforting quote by the poet Tagore. Anyone who values the work of Tagore is a win in my book. Thanks to our mutual friend, Nick Thorkelson, for the introduction. 🙂

A Word on the Engineer/Co-Producer/Accompanist/Studio:
Jack Lee is a master of a comfortable silence. He was genuinely excited about the “three-hour challenge” of the Singles Project, and rose to it effectively, making excellent use of both our time by setting a schedule of what needed to happen by when — “Let’s do your part first, then add my parts until such and such a time, then comp, mix, and master.” His dobro and soulful piano parts – created on the spot – fit succinctly into the Blessing Song, unobtrusively, with a spiritual loveliness that not many have naturally in their fingers. The man is an artist and poet in many capacities, and we only scratched the surface of it by calling upon his skills as an engineer and instrumentalist. I’m glad to have him on my roster.