MAY '11


Such a busy month, I had no time to keep up with it. That's okay!

"The Lost Tapes" project I finished mixing was sent to mastering engineer Oscar Zambrano of Zampol Productions in NYC and is just about done. I am so excited about this and looking forward to putting together liner notes and photos ASAP (as in: when I have time).

Really honing in on finishing up vocals and guitar tracks for singer-songwriter Julie James so that we can move onto producing all the other elements. I might even polish up my keyboard skills because Julie's songs inspire great opportunities to stretch out into many musical directions, of course including some sweet 2nd guitar parts.

Musician/videographer Rebecca Padula was out to shoot video of me playing my instrument (imagine that!) and also running around flapping my arms in the woods dressed in black, well not exactly but we are heading towards the first music video of Raven, Raven, title song of my new  album: Raven. We had a good laugh trying to get me to lip sync which I basically refuse to do, but I tried it just to show her how awful the whole thing could be, for the record. We chased the light around, had a heck of a time getting the music to come along with us a la portable devices - I'm really excited to see the results of Rebecca's editing/producing creativity. We've a commitment also from Phil Aaberg for footage of him at the keyboard, just like he played it live in Chester, Montana.

The rag-tag Holy Plow, my band with Bow Thayer and Patrick Ross, rose north to Jasper's Tavern in Newport VT (5/28), braving moose country yet again for the sake of art. We were surprised by Northeast Kingdom rockers Don't Call Betty and a cadre of their friends/family, which made our show really a party; so incredibly nice to see Ben Farney, Colin Benjamin and others who recorded an album here at Pepperbox Studio and are working on another with me from their home studio in Newport. Ben, FYI, is designing a new line of pedal boards for guitar players, fashioned from Vermont wood and recycled barn boards. Stay posted!

Then out of the blue, or more accurately, out of the hills came guitarist extraordinaire Doug Perkins, formerly of Smokin' Grass, a Phish era newgrass band from the Burlington VT area, here to Pepperbox Studio, for a recording session featuring his solo guitar pieces, including Bach sonatas and an original jig for guitar. It's a great pleasure to work with Doug, who hasn't been to the studio in a while, and when I see him later this week, I'm going to "phish" around about a possible Thunder Ridge Records release of his music, for 2012.


A couple months ago I dug out the Fostex 4-track cassette tape recorder, took it from its place in storage and set it in the corner of the studio - a little scared of it I guess. Because for one it would present the immediate personal hurdle of unfamiliar technology to overcome, getting it up and running and interfaced properly with my digital work station. But more importantly I knew it would mean finally revisiting my old Kristina Stykos recordings from the 1980s and 90s and what old baggage/new revelation that might bring. The pendulum of possibilities included internal criticism of either my younger voice and songwriting ... or conversely, a sinking feeling that I had lost something over the years.

Well, now I'm deep in the middle of it, and my fear has dissolved into curiosity, tears, sonic pleasure and a kind of type-A determination, as i remix in ProTools these homemade sessions recorded (most of them) at the end of a dead end dirt road underneath the Green Mountains in Hanksville, VT - which at that time was still very remote and exquisitely beautiful beyond description. I've posted two of these remixes on my homepage - on my ReverbNation player - "Do You Want Me To Stay" and "I Will Fly Home One Day". It's the beginning of a long rediscovery of who I was then, a review of what happened to me and my singing career in the intervening years and brings the revelation that I've finally found my dream producer, the one who was always waiting in the wings to step forward. Of course, that would be me at age 53.

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