In The Up Position

I’m listening to a rough mix of ‘California’ from Sunday afternoon’s recording session and am psyched to report that the rollercoaster is in the ‘Up’ position: it rocks!

All that matters on these rough mixes is the bass and drums, and they’re spot on. I’ve yet to add 12-string and electric guitars, a solo, tamborine, keyboards, vocals, and whatever else, and it’s already as good as anything I’ve released. Ever. So now is when I exhale.

Another night in the studio found Kevin and I banging out three more tracks, ‘Annalia (Come Back Home),’ ‘Stay,’ plus a mystery bonus track. So the basic tracks are done on everything except what will be the last song on the record, ‘New York’ (the arrival to the departure of ‘California,’ if you will).

We had a hoot drinking beers, laughing at stupid accents, listening to Merle Haggart, and talking about the acoustic rock of yesteryear: Gordon Lightfoot, Jim Croce, John Denver. The mix I burned Kevin for sonic reference is more Fountains of Wayne than America, but we’re definately coming from the same place, and going somewhere new together. Which is cool. Every musician needs a partner in crime.

Somewhere between the fourth take of ‘Stay’ and the 57th Street NR station, I hatched a plan to release the ‘JFK/LAX Demos’ concurrent to the new record (working title ‘Almost Home’), either as a double CD, a freebie for the first 100 sales, or something like that. I like the idea of offering the black and white snapshots and the glossy, airbrushed 8×10.

Meanwhile, an era ends: Sam Phillips has passed. I’ve been to Graceland twice, but never made it to Sun Studios. Still, I feel like I knew the guy. If not him personally, at least his youthful enthusiasm. I found an image of him while producing the story that is completely illustrative: it’s from last year’s release of the Sun box set. Phillips, 79-years-old at the time, is seated in from of the legendary Sun logo answering some inane Q&A but smiling and gesturing like a giddy teenager. I’m sure there’s good rockin’ upstairs tonight.

What else? Weekend. My dad’s coming. I have a half marathon Sunday. Then, I suppose, Kevin and I will get back to work. Thanksgiving’s approaching fast, and I have some living rooms to rock.

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