The month started with a field trip to I.M.A. (Institute of Musical Arts) in Goshen MA, which hosts rock and roll camps for teenage girls and a studio recording week. They started in Bodega CA, and moved their non-profit organization to the East Coast in 2001. Their recently renovated barn facility is filled to the rafters with vibrations of creativity and some handsome new gear. I enjoyed a delicious dinner there cooked by executive director Ann Hackler and swapped stories with her and creative director June Millington, former guitarist of the 60s rock band Fanny, about some of the unique challenges women face in what is still largely a male dominated music industry.
And there are days, nay weeks, the stars align to make technology uncooperative - March has been following that model to some extent. Last week I had to unravel multiple issues while transferring a live recording I did between Pro Tools 7 and Pro Tools 8. Simultaneously, another little project, doing a transfer from tape cassette to digital, had me unplugging every piece of old equipment in my house, only to discover nothing would match. Even my phone calls to Audio Proz in Watertown MA seemed to dissolve into days of phone tag, with no final decision or purchase.
A request from singer-songwriter Susannah Blachly for backing tracks to her song "Morning Prayer" took me longer than expected to put together, but that's only because I'm a perfectionist and want to get it right. The initial three hours spent on that grew to include a whole other day. But the bottom line is that creating and arranging guitar parts to fit the mood of a song is one of my favorite things to do. Add a little mandolin and you're there.
I admit I was slightly frustrated when percussionist Scott Davis came back with more recording to do after our last mix, but after taking a few deep breaths I allowed trust to prevail and now I'm getting excited to hear what mastering, like icing on a cake, will do - this recording is rich with textures and pure tones, a must-listen for anyone who loves hand drums. It's been an honor to witness Scott's creative process and watch him build this amazing, deep musical poem incorporating rhythms he has gathered over many years of intensive study and dedicated playing.
Went out to hear music, Session Americana at Langdon Street Cafe, curious to see them for the first time and see how they amplify their show with only a few mics strategically placed on and nearby a small table they all sit around, on stage. I was literally the last person let into the sold out show, and had to stand in the back (not my favorite position since I'm not tall) until I managed to sneak in front and crouch right near the stage. Mostly I want to hear music as if I were in the room with the musicians, close enough to play with them. The energy was great though I left at half time - that was enough saturation for me - and on my way out of town dropped in to catch ten minutes of Bow Thayer and the Perfect Train Wreck at Lamb Abbey just so I could feel like i didn't miss the fun. In all honesty, I was hoping to hit the show during a break so I could be social, but they were on a roll, didn't stop, and it was just too loud for my sensitive ears. I have to be protective of my most treasured asset.