Sunday, April 19, 2009

Direct from Studio A

The real purpose of my recent trip back to the land of my origin (Indiana) was to participate in the first steps of recording Beloved's newest CD project, drenched in HOPE. (To get the updated update and find out more about what that's all about, go to

I didn't write anything for this album, but the performance standards were lowered enough for me to sing a duet on one song, be part of a choir of singers for another, and add the special effects of my Chilean rainstick on a couple others.

None of those things were what you might imagine...

DUET: The song is "Be Ye Glad," and Beloved and I have been singing it together for...ummmm...several years. But of course, the arrangement on the CD is totally different from that with which we are accustomed. (Whew! All those words...just to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition. What kind of carbon footprint did THAT leave?) Now, when I say "duet," you probably think we stood together at a couple microphones and sang the song. And you would be wrong. We were in separate rooms...something about too much greatness all in one place putting a strain on the recording equipment, I think. And the fact is, Beloved's upper respiratory system had declared war on the rest of her body. Part of the collateral damage was that she couldn't sing with I was singing harmony all by myself. I'm hoping that's a fitting explanation as to why it took 87 takes to get it right.

CHOIR: No, there was not a large number of singers in the studio that I was allowed to sing along with--er--with which I was allowed to sing. (Stupid-stupid grammar rules!) I was all alone, singing the choruses (chori?) of "How Great You Are." The rest of the Sweetwater Tabernacle Choir (which will probably actually be 4 or 5 people singing the parts 3 or 4 times) will be recorded later. The cool thing is that I got to set the pace in terms of phrasing and all that jazz. The professional background singers are going to have to match what I did. Yeah...good luck with that.

RAINSTICK: With the title of the album being drenched in HOPE and most of the songs having some kind of water reference, it was a fitting thing to include the playing of my Genuine Rainstick from Chile in the background of some of the songs. The scary thing was that it's one thing to play around with a rainstick on a worship team and something entirely else to have that playing around be digitally preserved for centuries to come. Every little tink-tink-trickle sounded like a tsunami, and I had to be very gentle and precise and meticulous and sweaty.

All in all, though, it was a fun experience: the hired instrumentalists were amazing, the ability to go back and fix just one note in the middle of a song was magical, and the lunchroom was reasonably priced.

Who could ask for anything more?

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