Looking forward to the next production trip to Music City- more songwriter demos and a folky-jazz CD by former Warner Bros. A & R man Richard Helm on the calendar, with room for a little more, should anyone out there want to take advantage of the opportunity. Also on the agenda: I’ve been asked to contract a band for a big wedding at Nashville’s amazing Schermerhorn Symphony Hall, a venue known world-wide for its acoustic excellence (I had the great pleasure of playing there on its opening night a few years ago with the Craig Duncan Orchestra). Very exciting to be back with the old gang, Jim Hoke, Walter Hartman, Mark Powelson and Jamey Whiting, stellar musicians with whom I have a long history.
While I’m at it, let me thank Matt Casey and all the folks at the New England To Nashville (NETN) networking group for welcoming me to their fold. This group consists of songwriters and artists with a common interest in the Nashville music scene. Some live here, some there, some go back and forth.
A lot of interesting artists and musicians recorded at my studio in Nashville during its twenty years of operation, giving me ample opportunities to make a lot of mistakes and to learn how to avoid them. Some of their names are well-known, others’ should be. Here are some of the names I remember off the top of my head. I owe them all a great deal:
Some of the singers: Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley, David Ball, Jeff Carson, Dusty Drake, Joe Sun, Jo-El Sonnier, Butch Baker, Buddy Jewell, Ranger Doug (Riders in the Sky), Tracy Nelson, Tim Buppert, John Foster, Ron Wallace, Julie Maners, Renee Lopez, Margot Smith, Allison Moorer, Kathy Chiavola, Doug Phelps (Kentucky Headhunters), Taylor Ware, and many more, not to mention the many songwriters with their unique, if unpolished, ways of delivering their songs.
Guitarists, steel guitarists, dobro and bass players: Chris Leuzinger, Harold Bradley, Kenny Vaughn, Larry Chaney, Russ Barenberg, Pete Huttlinger, Paul Worley, John Knowles, Lloyd Green, Sonny Garrish, Rob Ickes, Mike Cass, Danny Parks, Kerry Marx, Chas Williams, Dave Pomeroy, Byron House, John Vogt, David Hungate, Mark Powelson, John Pizzarelli, Robert Bowlin, Steve Sheehan, Andy Reiss, Bill Hullet, Red Volkert, and the list goes on…
Fiddlers: Jonathan Yudkin, Larry Franklin, Buddy Spicher, Matt Combs, Kenny Sears, Joe Spivey, Barbara Lamb, Craig Duncan, Bill Verdier, Buddy Spicher, David Coe, Tim Lorsch, Hoot Hester.
Drummers and percussionists: Milton Sledge, John Gardner, Owen Hale, Wayne Killius, Brian Barnett, Tommy Wells, Walter Hartman, Pat McInerney, Chris Brown, Glen Caruba, Dan Sherrill, Kenny Malone.
Multi-instrumentalists and others: Jeff Taylor (accordion, piano, whistle, etc.), Jim Hoke (everything), Jamey Whiting (piano), John Mock (whistle, concertina, mandolin, etc..), Sam Levine (sax), Jeff Lisenby (keys), Joey Miskulin (accordion-Riders in the Sky), Tom McBryde (piano, arranger- Dollywood, etc..), Dave Talbot (banjo), Fats Kaplin (everything), Buddy Greene (harmonica), Jo-el Sonnier (Cajun accordion).
Just back from two trips to Nashville in two weeks. First, a couple of days of producing (and playing acoustic guitar on) song demos for New Yorker Dave Stewart, a superlative song craftsman. Another opportunity to get together with my musician colleagues, Chris Leuzinger on electric guitar, Jamey Whiting on piano, Wayne Killius on drums, the amazing John Vogt on bass, and genius multi-instrumentalist Jim Hoke on steel guitar, accordion and… penny whistle! Also delightful to visit with singers Tim Buppert, Perry Danos and the effervescent Erica Alexander.
The legendary Studio 19 was the scene, and was again this past week when we assembled a smaller team (Chris Leuzinger, Jamey Whiting and John Vogt again,with Chris Brown on drums) for some heavy biker-rock songs for a movie pitch. Then, a great house session of reels, jigs and hornpipes with Nashville’s Irish A-team Bill Verdier, David Coe and Bill Wolfe. Don’t let anyone tell you Nashville is all country.
A beautiful time of year in Tennessee- cherries, redbuds and early dogwoods in bloom, but wonderful to get back to the NH seacoast salt air and a delightful recording session for fiddler Ellen Carlson’s upcoming CD release. We put together a set of jigs, with fiddle and DADGAD guitar, the Black Rogue played in a Martin Hayes-y mellow kind of mood followed by a snappy take on Buttermilk Mary. Spring is here!
“Thanks so much for your great work! I’m not so much talking about the finished product (terrific!), but the process- respectful, unhurried, caring, artistic- which infuses and is forever captured in the finished product.” Mary Beth Stone, regional coordinator Nashville Songwriters’ Assoc. Int’l. New York City
“Thank you so very much…Besides your wonderful playing and arranging, I remember you as being so very kind, helpful, patient and encouraging…Your enthusiasm and interest in what I was doing made the day very special…You have helped bring a life-long dream of mine to fruition.” Molly Shannon
“…thank you again for the pleasurable experience of making music at your studio. You made my dreams become reality! Looking forward to working with you again!” Pete Harris