First things first…In case you missed it, here’s a video of us heading to Starstruck Studios on the 1st day. 🙂
We can’t believe we’re only in the 3rd week of January. It’s amazing how much has happened in just a short amount of time. After one final meeting on January 5th to decide which songs would be on this first project, we booked studio time with Mark Bright at Starstruck on Music Row for the week of the 12th. Saying we were excited to finally enter the studio with Mark is a massive understatement. We’ve been waiting for this to happen for so long, it actually felt a little surreal the first day we arrived at the studio. Walking into the control room and seeing the musicians that were there waiting for us made it even more difficult to believe it was all really happening. They were all there for us!
Tom Bukovac – electric guitar
Jimmy Nichols – piano, Hammond B3, keyboards (and birthday boy!)
Chad Cromwell – drums
Jimmy Lee Sloas – bass
Danny Rader – acoustic guitar, bouzouki, banjo, mandolin
The combined resume of these players is just downright scary. Think of the biggest country artists you can, and these guys have played and/or recorded with them. Garth, Reba, Faith, Carrie, Tim, Martina… They’ve all been there.
Before recording each song, we would all sit in the control room and listen to the demo we had recorded. The musicians would follow along watching the chord chart, making notes here & there. After listening a couple of times, Mark would communicate any major changes that he’d want the guys to do that were different from the demo. Once everyone had a clear direction on what to do, we’d start recording. We would be singing along in the vocal isolation booth so the musicians could hear us while they were playing. Keep in mind, the vocals we were singing were just meant to be a guide. We would come back in the studio later to record the vocals for real.
It was surreal to hear each song take shape as the musicians played it through & talked amongst themselves about ideas they had. Usually, after playing it about 3 times, they’d all have it figured out and would know exactly what they wanted to do. We can’t stress enough how amazing it was to hear everyone bouncing ideas off of each other in an effort to make the song as good as it possibly could be. After everyone was happy with their initial track, they would start recording overdubs. Overdubs are extra tracks that the musicians want to play, but have to do one at a time. For example, Tom would often have several electric guitar parts that he would hear in his head, but has to record them one at a time. Another example is, after Danny would record the acoustic guitar, he’d pick up the banjo or mandolin and record that instrument. Slowly but surely, layer by layer, the song takes shape. There are several overdubs that aren’t done yet, because the vocals need to be finished first.
After all the initial instruments were recorded, we spent the week of Jan 19th recording our lead vocals. No harmonies, just the lead, and we’ll try to explain why. We would record as many as 10 different versions of us singing the lead vocal for each song. Once that’s finished, they’ll spend several days going through and choosing the absolute best take for each line, which is called “comping.” Once the lead vocal is completely comped and we’re all happy with it, only then will we know exactly how to sing the harmonies. Understand, that if one of us is singing the melody & holds out a note for 2 seconds, it’s up to the other person to harmonize that note for the same exact length. All to say, since there are 10 different versions, there would be no way to know which version we should sing harmony to until everything is comped. So, once all the lead vocals are comped, we’ll spend several days doing all the harmonies. It is definitely a long, drawn out, meticulous process, but it certainly guarantees a high level of precision.
We filmed a bunch of video while we were there and we thought we’d share some of it with you. At this point, we’re trying our best to keep the final track list a surprise, so we knew that if y’all heard the audio in the background, you may or may not recognize a song. Knowing that, we asked Keith & Miranda to supply us with some background music. 🙂 We did keep the audio in at the end of this video so y’all can hear just a little bit of it. So, in true TSR form, here’s some video footage from our time at Starstruck Studio that will be nothing short of a #TwoStoryTease.
1/26/15 – 7:58pm