I am so excited about the release of my first record as an artist, and I feel very fortunate to have worked with Nashville’s finest for this project.
From my early days with Don Kelley, Patty Loveless and Jerry Douglas, to more recent years with TAR, 18 South, Shawn Camp, Tim O’Brien, John Oates and many others, it has always been my dream to have complete creative freedom.
Although I’ve been lucky to have played with artists that have given me much more freedom than most sidemen, I still have wanted to fully express myself musically for many years.
I feel that I am finally getting to do that now with the release of this record.
Teaming up with Mark Howard, who engineered and co-produced the record, has been amazing. He is one of the most talented people I know. I have known Mark for many years, professionally and personally, and we worked great together. It’s a whole different deal when it’s your own record and you’re hypersensitive to your own playing and writing. Mark helped me reign it in and kept the live feel of this record intact. We used little overdubbing and it was recorded and mastered in a specific way. Some of the material was arranged before we went in to cut, and some of the material was arranged on the fly. Some of the tunes we got on the first take and others took a little working out.
I knew who I wanted to play on the record from playing with these guys live and on sessions. They are the best. Michael Rhodes is one of the most musical, grooving, badasses living today. And I can say the same about Doug, Reese, Pete and Dann. It was a joy working with these guys. I look forward to making much more music with them.
The way I wrote for this record was just by kind of letting things fall where they may. I would come up with a groove or riff and build on it. Coming up with a cool A part and then trying to find a worthy B or C part. I would try to get the tunes to go somewhere and not be boring to us or the listener. Sometimes a part you think you are going to use for one song may end up in another, and that’s okay. Some of these ideas I’ve had for a long time and just needed another section to work well with them. It’s almost like a puzzle in a way. I wrote six of the ten tracks on the record and covered the other four.
I feel this record is a good start and a pretty good representation of me, my playing, and my emotion as a musician. I am already excited about writing for the next project and am loving the feeling of freedom that goes along with this process. To be able to create anything musically in any direction I want to go in is a dream come true. Music is meant to be an expression and an artform. To fully embrace the process and be unique, I think you have to stay true to yourself and not try too hard to fit into any mold or boundaries. To me, that’s when music starts sounding repetitious and lifeless. Let’s keep stretching the boundaries of our creativity and make some great music!
Hope you enjoy this record and many more to come!