Last April on a visit to the recording studio I played a few of my newly written songs for Tony. He said, “We should make a 70s album.” My eyes glazed over, and I was gone.
So, that’s what we did. I spent a few months re-listening to Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones and Fleetwood Mac. Hall and Oates, James Taylor (even though I know every syllable) Dan Folgelberg, Jackson Browne, and the Eagles. I took a detour through folk music and a little day trip through disco and 70s Top 40.
A forever-lover of these songwriters and their art, this renewed study gave me a new insight into their magic. Patience. All this music has patience. It’s confident enough in the listener to know that they will wait for the moment. Emotions are leveled in the first bars. There is no need for every wonderful thing to be let loose in the first 10 seconds. The song can breathe, as Tony says, and let everyone get in. When the time is right, goosebumps may be let loose.
Around the same time that we were daydreaming, Tony connected me to a friend of his, Sarah Henry, owner of Palo Santo Records in Dallas, TX. She heard the idea, listened to the track Bookstore and said, you guessed it –YES! Not that I was nervous, or anything. It was only the biggest professional music vote of confidence I had ever received, no biggie.
So we collected the right musicians, who were there the first time, and taught them the songs. They taught me more. And three at a time, we recorded them. All playing together at the same time. We added the overdubs and stirred in some nostalgia. Baked 9 months and allowed time to set before serving.
A little over halfway through the project, we went to Welcome to 1979 Studio in Nashville to record my friend Mitch on background vocals. The whole trip down we listened to my 70s Spotify playlist (if you want to hear it, it’s called “1970s Made the Best Music” and while you’re there you should go ahead and follow me pretty please). We arrived at 1979 seamlessly and surrounded by vinyl and velour and mood lighting, I heard the sound coming out of the speakers and for the first time really “heard” it. The sound.
So our hope is that you too are transported to 2016’s version of 1979 and wistful upon hearing. Read more about the production, for gear nerds, on Tony’s page.
Here’s Mitch and me at 1979. And just a bit after this photo we had the best donuts in the world. I wish I had a picture of those donuts, but they somehow disappeared.