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Preparing To Go Back Into The Studio

I have been looking forward to this day for some time now. In about a week, I will be going back into the studio with my producer, Roger Fife along with my bandmates Sammy Merendino, John Putnam, Chris Palmaro, David Mansfield and Katia Floreska to record what will be my second album. When we recorded my debut album, Long Time Gone it was my first time in a recording studio with musicians of such stellar expertise and experience. And I did not know what to expect. But having gone through that baptism of fire, I am now somewhat better prepared for the creative process that lays before me. And I can’t wait to get started!

Before beginning my life-long journey back to music, I had no idea the amount of time and effort it takes to create a credible, professional music album. I use to think that writing ten songs and then recording them in studiowas pretty much the beginning and the end of the process. NOT! (lol) In fact, that isn’t even the beginning of what it takes to produce a quality collection of music. What follows is how I work with my producer, Roger Fife to prepare for a successful studio session. Other musicians and music producers may find that a different creative approach works better for them. And that’s perfectly fine. Whatever floats your boat. But this is how we do it…

Some of the songs you write will come to you quickly… literally in seconds. Others could take days, weeks, months, even years to complete. And let’s face it, not every song you write is going to make the grade. Some will bring a huge and immediate smile of satisfaction to your face while others will leave you with the impression that the song will need some sort of “creative magic” from the musicians in studio if you are to have a credible and worthy piece of music. And finally, you know instinctively that some of your songs will never even see the light of day.

Thus, to ensure that the album represents my best creative effort, I may need to write up to fourteen… seventeen… maybe even twenty tunes from which Roger will choose the final songs for the collection. And of course, once all of the songs have been written I will then record a demo of each tune so that Roger can better understand my creative vision for each piece. Only then can he look at the total collection of music and decide based on his professional experience and trained ear which tunes should be considered for the album along with his proposed vision vis-a-vis each song’s arrangement and overall creative approach. Essentially, I will write and demo record anywhere from one and a half to two albums worth of music just to have enough material to go into the studio.

When we were planning the Long Time Gone recording sessions, I presented Roger with 16 song demos from which we chose our final tunes. This time around, I gave Roger roughly the same amount of demos for his consideration. However, the songs that did not make the latest cut will more than likely be re-visited once we begin planning my third album that will hopefully be recorded sometime next year. So I am very happy with my most recent song writing effort.

Roger and I like to go into the studio prepared to record eleven songs. Why eleven? Well you never know if one of the tunes just might not come out the way you expected. So the eleventh song gives us a cushion just in case. We finalized our eleven songs several weeks ago at which time I typed up a lyric/chord sheet for each of the eleven songs. (A lyric/chord sheet is nothing more than the song’s lyrics with the appropriate chord changes noted above the words.) When recording, the musicians will use these sheets along with a vocal guide track that I will perform for them in studio in real time to help them know where they are in the song. It is essentially a “road map” that the musicians will use in the studio to help them write and record their respective parts.

Once all eleven lyric/chord sheets have been finalized, our preparation for the recording sessions are pretty much completed. And what now lies ahead of us is the execution phase of the creative process… going into the studio and hopefully creating magic. But that’s another story for another day.

I am very excited about this new collection of songs. And I am extremely confident that once we begin our studio sessions we will create a credible and worthy follow-up to Long Time Gone. I trust that you will agree once the new album is released sometime around the second half of 2014 at the earliest. Till then, my sincerest thanks to each of you for your best wishes and support.

And remember… It’s all about the music!

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