Segue To Summer

Hello to all,

I suppose it's no news to those who kindly stop by this site that I'm awful at keeping it updated.  Terribly sorry about that.  I know it's time to get busy when folks begin asking if I'm still alive.  Yeah...alive, well and thriving in my favourite season, summertime.  After a wild and wooly spring chock-full of tornados and the usual deluge of rain, we segued into summer.  The high temps come earlier every year and Nashville was in the 90's by the end of May.  Sadly, severe weather is our new way of life... Mother Nature's cranky and I don't blame her.  Still, it's great to see leaves on the trees again, the garden green, roses in bloom and the BBQ's been getting a good workout as well.

At the end of spring, my youngest son Jeremy graduate from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  I helped him move out of his apartment there, the top floor of a 4-story walk up, and was pleased to learn I can still tackle insane things like 30 trips up and down those stairs hauling and loading boxes in 95 degree weather.  Actually, it was slightly less difficult than helping him move in last September when those same boxes were being carried upstairs rather than down.  He's home now for the summer and will be looking for a job, not an easy prospect these days.  Meantime, Jeremy's set up all his recording gear and we've been experimenting on some music together that I hope will become a shared record.

The Greg Brown album that I recorded in Memphis with Bo Ramsey has been released and is as good as I remembered it being.  It's on Yep Roc Records and is called Freak Flag.  Greg writes great songs and has a deep soulful voice.  The production is spare and earthy and it all went down live on the studio floor.  The record is getting loads of great reviews and lots of spins round here.

On the Brown/Ramsey front, Pieta Brown (Greg's daughter and Bo's wife) came to Nashville in May and we spent three grand days in the studio recording her new album.  Bo manning the production duties and playing guitar as only he can.  We recorded in a small, barn like studio an hour west of Nashville out in the country.  It's drummer Chad Cromwell's studio and sits on 20 acres along with his home and horse barn.  The line-up was Chad, Glenn Worf, Bo, Pieta and me.  Again, everything went down live including Pieta's beautiful vocals.  It was a fab three days of recording  and when it was finished we'd done 15 or 16 songs.  I spoke with Bo yesterday; both he and Pieta couldn't be happier with the record which will be released this autumn on Red House Records and is tentatively titled Mercury.  Watch for it, it's good.

I've been playing on an album for singer Kellie Pickler.  This has been ongoing over several months and I'll be working with her again this coming Monday.  Some albums are done all at once and others in intervals.  One of the songs we'd already recorded is now a single that is doing well on the country stations.

The end of May found me working on Miranda Lambert's new record.  I've played on her previous three albums, have watched her mature as a writer/artist and have an extremely high regard for her.  Even though her music is very different, I think she is the heir apparent to Dolly Parton for her generation.  Miranda's new record reflects this continued growth artistically as well as the recording process itself.  The band line-up was three guitars, bass, drums with Miranda singing.  The whole thing gelled into a self contained band that required next to nothing being added after the fact.  Yet again, it all went down live as we played it..... something that has been missing from record making for a very long time now.  It is by far the best record we've made with her and given the nature of how it was recorded I think will possibly stir up a lot of dust.  Not sure when it will be released but I'll keep you posted.

Just returned from a fantastic couple weeks of recording with Mark Knopfler in London at his brilliant British Grove Studios and as expected, the songs are great.  I've always felt Mark's songwriting was overshadowed by his guitar-god status.  He certainly is a genius guitar player, but his songwriting is staggeringly good to me and is what comes first.  We recorded a whole bunch of them in two weeks, getting through them in the least amount of time I can ever recall.  The musicianship from every corner of the studio was seriously top drawer capped off by MK's guitar-god thing.  It's easy to play when you have great songs.  I'm a lucky guy to be part of it, to go to London and record in what has to be the finest studio I've ever been in my 40+ years of playing on records, surrounded by the finest engineer, musicians and friends.  At the end of each day we'd wander to the pub for a few pints, many bags of crisps and loads of laughs.  That was usually followed with a memorable meal...Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Italian, fish and chips or a darn fine burger from GBK, the Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

In addition to doing some recording with my son Jeremy, I continue to work on my own new album, writing and recording tunes that I'll release in the not too distant future when I feel it's complete.

Finally, what I've been listening to; Build A Rocket Boys the new Elbow album, Desmond Blue and Glad To Be Unhappy both by Paul Desmond with Jim Hall, The Staple Singers-The Vee Jay Years and Duane Eddy's great new one, Road Trip.  Loads of other things as well but those were the first to come to mind.

All right, I'm tired of typing and you are no doubt sick of reading.  Have wonderful summer and try to keep the fireworks separated from the glowing coals of the BBQ.

...'til next time,