Recording Journals: The Making of the No Schedule Man CD

Recording Journal Vol. 39: “Not Far Now”

By April 16, 2010No Comments

I can remember watching the Smurfs cartoon as a kid. My sisters and I would sit on the family room floor and look on as the Smurfs would go on a journey, with Papa Smurf leading the way. Every few steps, one of them would ask, “How much farther, Papa Smurf?” His answer was always, “Not far now.” It didn’t matter how many times they asked. It was always, “Not far now.”

Well, KG and I have been working on this CD going on a year.

So … how much farther, Papa Smurf?

As with just about any project, it’s getting to where I almost wish we had a little more time. I’m sure we’ll be ready, but here’s where things sit: We’ve got some mini-deadlines coming up that are kind of mile markers on the road to the CD Release. One of the most significant is our featured week on the radio and the promised release of two new singles, neither of which are complete. We are still recording backing vocals (in fact, KG dropped on me this week that he wants me to do the lead vocal for the song “South Carolina” all over again). Kev is still needing to re-do a bunch of piano work. And every song still needs to be reviewed, revised, reviewed again, revised again, mixed, mastered and then sent to the duplication house, preferably with at least a couple of weeks to spare before the release.

No problem, right?

Well, yeah, except that my body stepped into the game this week, had a little chuckle at my expense and then put me into bed for the better part of two days with some kind of wicked sore throat and debilitating flu-like fatigue.

Still, the band played on. And we will be ready.

Not far now.

Though I did not have my strongest week, KG seems to be feeling better than ever. He and Alyssa Sestric have taken the reigns of the musical momentum. Before I fell ill, I managed to be at KG Records on Monday night when Alyssa and her family were on hand. There was some fun collaboration between Alyssa, KG and me that night, particularly on the songs “No Schedule Man” and “Awake But Not Alive.” Alyssa put some harmony parts in those songs that really make them pop. It’s exciting when that happens.

On the other hand, I left Monday night’s get-together feeling as though we were still searching for the right feel on a few parts of “Hope Over Hurt.” There is one particular descant part at the end of the song that I can hear in my head but I can’t seem to figure out how to describe it to KG. The result is that we’re getting some beautiful singing on it from Alyssa, but not the feel I’m looking for. At least not yet. I am confident we’ll get it nailed down, but it’s just that there isn’t a whole lot of time left for interpretation, so I’ve become a tad more anxious about it.

It’s a good lesson: When you think you’ve described something exactly to someone, and then when you come back later to see or hear what they’ve done, you find they’ve done something completely different than what you thought they’d do. It’s not because of any maliciousness or lack of intelligence or anything like that. It’s simply because that’s how challenging communication can be and how we, as individuals, all interpret things in our own way. Effective communication is not as easy as we think it should be.

The good news is that there is always something to be gained from the experience. In my case, I find that we often arrive with ideas and concepts that are completely new to me and contribute nicely to our project. Or, I have to work a little harder to understand how I can communicate more effectively and I learn something new. And then there are times when everyone’s on the same page and yet what you try just doesn’t work.

Hence my anxiousness with a deadline approaching.

Ideally, you’d like to give a project time to go through the process. But there are times when you just can’t wait any longer; you’ve got to make a decision and go. This is why creativity chemistry is so important. KG and I have that. And I believe we can lock in and narrow our focus when we need to. We did it before, when we wanted “Song for Sean” out quickly. And we’ll do it again now.

Fast forward to the end of the week when, after having spent part of a third day in bed, I was able to pop out to KG Records a little after lunchtime and was there for about 20 minutes; long enough to hear what Kev had added to “Hope Over Hurt.” Having heard it, I’m pretty confident in saying that it’ll be one heck of a song when it’s done. KG’s got the pulse of it. We’ll be ready.

To clarify, I’ve promised CKXS FM that we’ll debut two new singles the week I’m featured on their “Local Spotlight” (April 26 – April 30). Not only will we debut the singles live over the air and around the world via the CKXS internet stream, we’ll also post the songs online and make them available for digital download at that time too.

The first two singles are going to be “Hope Over Hurt” and “Do Better.”

Ten days away.

Speaking of “Do Better,” that song is shaping up really well. When KG played it for me earlier in the week, I was so happy with how it sounded, all I could think to do was laugh. It’s a good song, and it’s therapeutic to sing and listen to. You’ll understand when you hear it. In less than two weeks.

There were some other productive things that happened this week. For one, some “Hope Over Hurt” and “No Schedule Man” merchandise arrived at my door. More on that another time.

The other thing I’d been aiming to get done were some promotional photos. And I did. But that story probably deserves its own blog. So, uh, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.

Not far now.

– Kevin

Leave a Reply