Recording Journals: The Making of the No Schedule Man CD

Recording Journal, Vol. 6: “Tinkering with No Schedule”

By July 13, 2009No Comments

We made a little more musical progress last week with one studio session, most of which was spent on the song “Bagley Avenue.” Going into this process, I had imagined that we’d use Kevin Gorman’s piano to carry the lead instrumental melody. Or, maybe I should say it this way; I hoped that would be the case, since Kevin is a gifted player while I … well, I do the best I can and we’ll leave it at that. Trouble was, we quickly found that putting the piano up front gave the tune too much of an Elton John-type vibe, which was not at all what we were looking. The acoustic guitar sound roots the song in its folk roots.

Looks like I have more practicing to do.

We made a few minor modifications to the lyrics and slogged through much discussion over some very nitpicky parts of the overall arrangement (all very necessary), and then tracked what we could of the song. Having then reached the point of redundancy in our constructive discussion about what the song needed or didn’t need, we shelved it and moved on.

We then dusted off “No Schedule Man,” beginning with a question I was not expecting. Kevin asked about tempo and the overall feel of the song. I’m always open to his suggestions, but this time I was quite surprised to find myself (internally) reacting quite rigidly to the thought of tempo tinkering for that particular number.

“No Schedule Man” started as a group of chords I’d deliberately written at 140 beats per minute as a kind of boogie-woogie shuffle  so that, at that time, my old pal Dave Cook could fill the song up with his favourite guitar licks while I flailed away on a heavy-strumming pattern that used 6-string chords through the whole song. Later on, when I started playing primarily with Kevin Gorman, we found the same worked even better with his piano. I’d never even considered changing it.

Nonetheless, we went searching to see if we could find a better groove for the song. We didn’t (and I’m still hoping I was open-minded enough to give it an honest chance at changing). So we ghost-tracked what we could (including some percussion and bass we’re not sure we’re sold on) and left it alone so we could return to it with fresh ears in a week or two.

Meantime, it was another crazy week in the land of “real” work. At CPT Entertainment we finally wrapped up a video production that was easily our most ambitious to date. I was responsible for writing and voicing the script (I think we had done seven or eight drafts by the time we were through) and collaborating on the pre and post-production. I even shot some of the footage for the video, down in Bristol, Tennessee last March.

Next, we have another video to finish. It, too, is a project that has been in the production stages for far too long. I have the same duties with it as with the one we just finished, however I’m also being looked at to record the guitar part of the original soundtrack which I also wrote, along with Kevin. We’ll try to get that done this week, which means I better get practicing.

In other events from the past seven days or so, I started and finished a terrific book by Steve Alten called “The Loch”; bought some music from a great songwriter named Will Kimbrough (I found him through Jimmy Buffett, who has recorded the Kimbrough tune “Piece of Work” and has played with Will many times); wrote and recorded more radio commercials for Delaware Speedway; started in on more work for CPT Entertainment’s upcoming trade shows and … oh yeah … celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary with my wonderful wife Tracey.

I’m not worthy. But I try.

See you next week,

– Kevin

Leave a Reply