Tuesday, November 23, 2010


So I recorded the other day.

Two weeks ago. I had never been in a studio but twice before....once in an old church in Hudson, I brought something for a friend who was recording there, and got a very brief look.....

And once when I went to Off the Beat N Track, the studio that I recorded in a couple weeks ago, to meet with the owner/producer,  talk to them about recording.

I went through all my songs, got some advice on which ones to record, practiced for a couple weeks every night so that I was 'ready'. I had heard that I need to be prepared, that knowing my songs well cut down on so much hassle.

But I didn't want to 'know' them too well, because I don't want to be limited in what their final creation will be.....I don't want too much ownership in the way they sound now, solo guitar. I am realizing now that as I play my guitar, I am hearing/imagining/replicating all these varied voices/rhythms that are JUST out of my reach/consciousness.  I have to find/hear them clearly. I hope that makes some sort of sense to someone besides me....

But I am ahead of myself. Finding the other parts is what I have to do now. But what I want to talk about here is how I recorded the other day. But first, I had to get there, and that took a little doing....

I wondered if I was really ready to do this. I wondered what 'ready' could possibly be. I wondered how to get OUT of doing this.....

And then I caught a cold. By 'record day', my voice cracked when I sang. I called my friend and mentor David in a bit of a frenzy and told him my tale. 'Don't worry', he said. The plan was for me to just go in and do demos-ie, play my song so that others could learn it. In the process, I would be learning and practicing recording. If I got a 'keeper' out of it, that would simply be a bonus.

But I am CHEAP....pay money to make something I could make on my COMPUTER?? I don't THINK so.....

So, I can't get out of it. It is a commitment....and I honor my commitments. (Don't remind me that I have a commitment- implied- to my art....LOL)

So I go. I am told by my friends to always make friends with the engineer....and other friends who told me that Will loves coffee.....sweet and light. So I drive to the studio, stopping at the shop I used to gig in, right there in town, for coffee.

Will, who looks younger than I expect, but I am wrong, comes out to greet me, and is embarrassed by the coffee, which in turn, of course, embarrassed me.....but we deal. And get to work.

Three songs in two hours. Then 10 songs in two hours. A little bit of 'working' and a little bit of 'just get it down'. You can hear the tightness in my voice in the first takes of the first song.....I had gone over all my songs, and wanted to record to a click track, and so had figured out  times for all of them....but quickly found out that TODAY called for a different time than I had agreed to THAT day I wrote down down the bpm.....and at first that made things a bit easier for Will. Until we realized that I was going to do very few at the times I had written (and of course, did I write the new timing down for ANY???...I do hope WIll kept records...)

Will kept asking me if I would like to hear what we were recording. But I was in 'act as if' I know what I was doing, and I was afraid that if I heard the evidence that I was making a fool of myself, I would be devastated and have to stop, so I kept pressing on. Of course, now I can hear that if I had listened to one take before moving on, my vocals would have been much better as I molded the tone.....~sigh~

......so many lessons to learn....

I really liked working with Will. He was supportive without being pushy and open without being  wishy-washy. I felt comfortable. I think that is important. If he intimidated me, I think I would have had a much less productive time.

He did not give an opinion, but fed the question back to me in a way that felt helpful.

He sent me the CD.

I held onto it for at least 24 hours before I listened to it. Why? I have no idea, but fear played a part. When I listened to my first song, which Will had arranged in alphabetical order, I was not pleased. My guitar work was full of mistakes, I sang out of tune in more than one spot and my tone was not pleasing to me. By the next few songs, I stopped listening to the problems and started to enjoy the songs. I realized how very much BETTER this recording was than ANY I had made on my computer using ANY of my equipment. My guitar sounds SO cool. I start now to hear what else the songs CALL for, and I have to go back to work now, and listen to the songs (what is it I have on my wall somewhere????? When I start thinking about ME in the music, I have lost sight of the SONG......that is something to remember)

And Harry O just reminded me.....listen for the SONG.

I need faith in the process to develop the vision. Don't focus on the end point. Appreciate the process. Hear the SONG. I need to go to work now........


  1. Hey Marilyn,

    Loved reading this. I think it's got to be harder to go into a studio than get on stage.

    My youngest son is going to school for this -- I should get him to record me sometime.


  2. thank you rick...yes, let your son practice on you!!!LOL


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