Saturday, January 31, 2009


As I type, Tom is recording the bass part for Ohio. We have been working like maniacs with amazing results. My brain simply cannot sustain a permanent state of awe, but if it could, it would. I couldn't be happier with how this is going.

We play the basic guitar track to which Tom programs the drums and then he says, "Okay, bass." And then he records the bass. "What next?" he asks. "Manolin?" I say. And so it goes. Once we have all the parts we want, Tom mixes it a bit and then I sing the final vocal track. This process takes a couple of hours for every song.

We are working our way alphabetically through the song list. We did four yesterday. We're on number four today and will do one more.

Exciting development: Tom will send tracks to Peter Lainson so Robin can record harmony vocals at Peter's house in Hastings. We'll send them back to Tom and Robin will be on my CD! Hooray for the internet!

That's all for now. There is work to be done!

Friday, January 30, 2009


Tom & I got started yesterday around 10:00 and worked until 4:00 or so. We finished the process we had started Wednesday afternoon--recording the basic guitar and vocals for all the songs. I ended up with 13 total, with no guarantee that I will use them all, but this will give me a little choice when we are finished. I even recorded a song that I wrote a couple of days ago.

Recording the guitar is liking being under a microscope. Okay, it's like being in front of a microphone. Why use a metaphor when the literal description is just as accurate? Every little pop, squeak, buzz or string hit not quite right is caught and then played back very loudly. This can make a person sad. But the beauty of Pro Tools is that you can record over the buzzes--punch in, play a clean chord or note, punch out. It's a bit like cheating. However, I'd make the same mistake live and you'd never hear it and it would be no big deal. This is going to be captured for posterity so I'm all for the edits.

We took a break in the evening. I checked email. I read Dracula. Tom was taking his step daughters out for Thai and I tagged along. I am very much looking forward to my leftovers for lunch. We came home and the girls and Cary went to bed. Tom & I headed out to the studio with Thurman and worked for a couple more hours. We worked until I got to that sleepy point where you can't think too critically or form a solid opinion. "Sure" was about all I could muster and we called it a day.

A note about Thurman: Thurman is a gigantic white Golden Doodle. He's like a big sheep. I love this guy. When the girls were at school and Cary was out, Thurman came into the studio with us. He just curled up on the floor and listened. I often asked his opinion of things. I found myself repeating throughout the day, "Well...I'll take your indifference as a yes!" or if my personal answer was no, "I'll take your indifference as a no."

The studio, by the way, is a converted garage just a few steps out the back door. I'll post pics at some point. The interior is entirely wrapped in sari's and other gorgeous materials. There's a bazillion instruments hung on the wall, book shevles, recording equipment, and the futon. No windows. A space heater for winter and a little AC for summer. I have slept the sleep of the dead out there. It's great.

That's all for now.

Paul, if you are reading: Golden Doodle = hypoallergenic

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The roads were as bad as supposed. I got to Oklahoma City and had to call it quits. I got a room at a semi-dodgey Super 8, had dinner at 10 pm at the Denny's next door (I was the only customer), got up and had breakfast at Denny's at 10 am, and then got on the road. The first hour of travel was horrible. I could have waited an hour and still got to Dallas in the same amount of time. But around 12:30 the roads cleared and it was smooth sailing to Dallas.

Tom & I got started right away. He opened up a file in Pro Tools (the computer/recording program) for each song we will record. We then recorded the guitar part and scratch vocals for three songs. We'll do that for everything, then come back and add parts (bass, lead guitar, accordion, etc) and then re-record the vocals with all the parts. I have been practicing with a metronome. When I record, I have not just a click-track in my ear, but a drum loop, which makes it much easier.

After the three songs, we went out to dinner. $2 margarita night at Desparado's. Nice. We left it up in the air if we would work again afterwards...but after my travel nightmare and two margaritas I thought I should go to bed! There's a futon in the studio (formerly a garage), and no windows--it's like a tomb. I slept like a rock and am ready to go this morning.

I'll try and take some pictures today to post.

Love to all!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dunbar Does Dallas

I am sitting at work which is a windowless basement. Even thought I can't SEE it, I know the snow is falling. I know that last night Oklahoma and norhtern Texas got creamed. And as soon as I'm done with my final presentation for my January-Term class I'm driving south through Kansas and OK to Dallas. I'm a little bit worried.

This is the start of my big adventure and the weather is really putting a damper on things.

I'm not crazy, though. I'll see how far I can get and if the roads are bad I'll find a Super 8. And I decided to drive the Odyssey and not the Fit (sorry, Environment!) for the sake of safety and handling in snow.

I will update throughout the week so you can see how it's going. I'm super excited!

In the meantime, here is a song I wrote with the accompanying iMovie. It was project for my Instructional Tools class. If you are a teacher and think this might be helpful to you, please use it. If you just think it is fun and would like to pass it on, feel free.