We’re getting there. We’ve hit a few speed bumps this last week-to-ten days, but we’re still moving forward, and suddenly something that has seemed so far away for so long is feeling very real.
Kevin Gorman (KG) and I started working on our CD way back in June. A few hours each week was all we could really afford to put toward it on a regular basis. The pace has been, at times, maddeningly slow. But looking back, I will acknowledge that both the time and the process have been entirely necessary. Now that we’ve reached the point we’re at currently, everything seems to be accelerating, almost like it’s going too fast. Suddenly, after all these months of pushing so hard, I find myself willing to try and slow it down.
Over the summer months, with the songs already written, we chipped away at arrangements and instrumentation. In some cases, we would spend an entire session debating what amounted to only a few bars of a single song. In fact, it took us several weeks to settle into the process, which resulted in us going back to the beginning and tearing apart the initial work we did. However once we found a bit of a rhythm, the individual songs and the performances started to take shape within a context of the whole, and we began to get a better feel for what our “sound” was going to be.
Low and behold, after a few months, we found ourselves with the infrastructure of 11 very solid songs built and ready to withstand the inevitable layering that would come next. In fact, we were humming along so well that we were even able to write, record and release a song out of left field (“Song for Sean”) even though each of us were working through illness. The idea that we were able to fast-track that tune seems to fly in the face of all I’ve just said about the overall process. However, I think it was only because of that process that we were ready to “find” that song so quickly.
The other thing that “Song for Sean” did for me (aside from bringing me closer to a lot of wonderful people who appreciated the tune) was give me a lot more confidence than I had before. That, in turn, led to a surge of momentum that KG and I rode as best we could.
Throughout the month of November, we made incredible progress. With the foundations of the songs built and our confidence up, I threw on some new strings and we set to work capturing guitar performances. It started with a song called “Everything’s Just Fine,” a number that actually has three guitar parts layered one on top of the other. That took about a session and a half.
Then we hit overdrive.
In one particular three-hour session, we managed to record the guitar parts of five separate songs, surprising each of us with both the productivity and the performance. Sensing a wave of positive momentum, we pushed a little harder than perhaps we should have.
Keep in mind that while all this was happening, I’m working full-time for my company, CPT Entertainment; working part-time (Monday to Friday) on the air on BX 93; and also guarding my time with my kids and my wife Tracey very closely (I don’t go to the studio in the evening until after my boys are headed to bed). All the while, I started making other behind-the-scenes plans, like CD artwork and layout concepts, development of a logo for Kevin Bulmer Enterprises, quotes on printing, shrink-wrapping, disc duplication, UPC codes and a whole pile of other things.
When things pick up in that manner, it is fun and exhilarating. But it also takes its toll.
Finally, the air went out of the balloon.
A week ago Sunday, in between buying groceries and doing my laundry, I remember checking in with my son Eddie, who was happily playing his Nintendo DS in our family room. He asked me if we could go outside and play hockey on the driveway. I said, “Sure buddy, but I’m just going to go upstairs and rest for a few minutes while you finish your game. You come up and get me and we’ll go play, okay?”
He told me, “Sure.” So, wanting to be anywhere but in my home office, I went up my bedroom and put the NASCAR race on the TV. Kevin Harvick (my favourite) was even leading. But next thing I knew, Eddie was standing beside me, shaking me. Forty-five minutes had passed. He was saying, “Daddy, daddy – you said we could go outside!”
Yeah. I had said that. And not wanting to disappoint my son, I rolled out of bed and we went outside and had a blast. But I knew my momentum was gone. Or at least, it was on its way out.
The next night, I was supposed to be at Kevin’s for another session. I made it there by about 8:45 pm, but we never got past the front lobby. I was just too tired. We agreed to try it again another day.
The following Friday, I came back, with only three songs left that needed guitar tracks. We tried to do “Bagley Avenue” (one of my all-time favourites) first.
I couldn’t play it.
I tried. Then I tried some more. Then I got so frustrated that I actually told KG that maybe we should leave it off the CD. Thank goodness for KG, as he told me that wasn’t an option, because he liked the song too much.
So I went back to the studio the next day and once again had no luck with that tune. Somehow, I did manage to capture the guitar track for “Sunny Day in November” but “Bagley” continued to elude me.
Somehow, between this past Monday and Tuesday night, I was feeling better and we managed to get enough passable guitar material to get us through that song. Now, only the song “Hope Over Hurt” remains. I anticipate that it will open the album, so I want to take a step or two away and come back to it later, once I’ve got my confidence and enthusiasm up again.
See there? Now that I’m so close, I’m finally willing to wait.
Earlier today, KG and I spent a couple hours together, though I spent more time making and receiving calls and sending out emails for my CPT Entertainment duties (which always come first) while he mixed and edited. We discussed each song and were surprised at how far along we were. Other than “Hope Over Hurt,” we very literally only need to add the vocals and then mix and master the darn thing.
As for “Hope Over Hurt,” I’m okay with leaving it until last. The song is a rousing, up-beat song that has a sing-along chorus and it strikes me as the kind of number that we should use to wrap this whole thing up and celebrate our efforts. Perhaps you’ll understand what I mean when you finally here it.
Things will be a little slower over the next week, simply because I won’t be here to do much about it. I, along with my CPT Entertainment partners, will be headed to the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Orlando on Wednesday. But when I’m back, we’ll start on the vocals.
It’s almost time to start planning for a CD release gig in the late winter/early spring.
As I’ve proven to myself, it’ll be here before I know it.