What HAVE I been doing? For starters, I'm listening to a great new album as I peck this out, called It Ain't Necessarily So...a fantastic record of finger style acoustic guitar solos by my old buddy Howard Emerson. I met Howard while recording some sides for Eric Anderson back in Los Angeles so many years ago it doesn't bear thinking about. Howard was working with Eric at the time, came out to L.A. for the sessions and we ended up hanging out for a few days. Howard's made several great records over the years, but I have to say this one's my fave. Find out more about him at www.howardemerson.com.
Another record I'm completely in love with is the new one from The Pines, Dark So Gold. It's dark, melodic and hauntingly elegant. I won't try to explain any further except to say it's on Red House Records and you should check The Pines out at www.the pinesmusic.com
I played a rare Nashville gig last night with Iris DeMent at The Belcourt Theatre. The Belcourt was built in the late 20's as a movie house and over the years has served as the home to The Grand Ole Opry prior to the show's relocation to The Ryman Auditorium in the 1940's. Having produced Iris' new album, along with Bo Ramsey, it was a real honour to share the boards with her for a little live music. Actually, a lot of live music. We did a couple of dozen songs, a lot to learn, but well worth it. Dave Jacques played bass, Bryan Owings on drums, Iris playing piano and guitar and myself, all played on her new record and we we're joined by Richard McLauren who played steel and mandolin. Richard engineered the record. So it was a comfortable gathering and sounded great on stage. No word yet on when Iris' new record will be out but I'll let you know.
I've been doing some session work for folks as well as finally getting back to my own record. I have some new tunes going that I'm really looking forward to recording. I've also been producing and playing on a new album for my pal Phil Lee, three days of rough and ready recording that yielded a dozen songs that have a unique quality all to themselves. That combined with Phil's jaundiced eye view of the world and a brilliantly skewed sense of humour in his lyrics makes this the best Phil Lee record yet. We're not quite finished but as always I'll let you know when it's available.
There's a brand new book about the famed and fabled Wrecking Crew by Kent Hartman, tracing the story of those great L.A. musicians of the 60's who played on so many hits and the soundtrack to many of our lives. I was fortunate to have come up in the recording studios with those guys though just a couple of years past the time frame of their classic period. Still, from 1968 onward, I worked with them all. I spoke with the author a couple of years ago and I am apparently in the book, complete with photo. I haven't seen it yet but am awfully flattered to be mentioned in such historic company.
And speaking of books, it's the centennial of Woody Guthrie, born in Oklahoma in 1912. I recently read a brilliantly written and comprehensive biography of Woody called Rambin' Man by Ed Cray. Wherever you get you music, on line, download, record store... however, it's time to listen to Woody again. These are songs that speak to the very times we're going through now, much as they did in the Great Depression and World War II when they were written and recorded.
Hope you are all well and enjoying this early spring/summer.