Did I say I was playing guitar?

Each day, a little more snow and the studio is embraced in a swirl of inspiration. Between hours of shoveling and wood hauling, I'm working on parts for Julie James and also for Robert Resnik. The challenge and joy of working with Julie is in finding ways to express her musical vision while staying true to my own. This is a great collaboration, and when we aren't either intensely discussing our plans, practicing or recording, we are eating fantastic and copious amounts of food. Yesterday Julie and partner Shannon walked in with two bags of groceries, spilling forth with garnet yams, goat milk butter, almonds, organic Vermont Kimchi, fresh grated parmesan cheese, chocolate money and pecan pie. My skiis are seriously looking at me sideways. Okay, after finishing up my celtic parts to Robert's whistle early this week, I'm going to go out and get some exercise.


The new year has started with a flourish of guitar playing, ooo la la. The picture of the studio today is one of four or five beautiful guitars in various poses; one trailing a smart sage green cable leaning casually against couch cushions, one in a stage stand, next to the console and two identical Neumann mics, at the ready for immediate use, one horizontal and ensconced in its plush maroon case interior sporting a sound hole humidifier, one hanging on the wall like a rock star on display, so on and so on. Did I say I love my guitars?

Singer-songwriter Julie James is wading deeper into the rich center of her material, as we continue to produce her first album of original songs. Our weekend session (1/8-9) was filled with laughter, concentration, musical analysis, home cooked meals and stories. This is the way I love to work, relaxed but focused on getting to the heart of songs and performances with the simple tools at hand. Julie and her partner Shannon have an expansive hawks eye view of of how the making of music can heal and inspire, which aligns well with mine. Building on a couple days earlier in the week I spent on forging basic guitar tracks, the three of us made huge progress over the course of the two days, moving with sure footedness into our process. Sometimes it takes a few sessions to find the way into a project, and if one is willing to stumble freely without worrying about perfection at first, the results can ultimately be stunning.

Other noteworthy events include ... a New Year's bonfire at Imaginary Road Studio, in Dummerston VT, under the stars and flying sparks of old barn boards going up ...

late afternoon guitar lessons with Amelia in the dusky studio, exploring new ways to approach the guitar and keep life interesting ... furtive phone calls between Bow, Patrick and myself as we try to forge our mid-winter performance schedule, which will have us driving south to Boston and the Cape in the heart of snow season ... a pleasant, talkative lunch with client Bob Kinzel who is hankering to expand his guitar state-of-consciousness to a new level as player and bandmember in 2011 ... the promise of a future writer's retreat for me turning into reality, as plans are drawn for next fall at UCross in Wyoming ...

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