tubas and murder ballads
it’s been a wild week. it started off sorta rough when I got laid off from my day job but never fear music as always is the safety net. Vagabondage is working on our first full length album and spend most of the day on Monday laying down the final vocals for the first half and scratch song drafts for the second. We’re recording with Jim F. over at The Dark Room in SF and it’s pretty rad. Jim has not only tons of instruments and recording hoohaw… he’s also a great guy with a lot of good producery ideas. I got there early and just goofed around with some sad melodies to go with my unemployment blues and ended up writing a song. When John Flaw, my lead singer, got there he grabbed his uke, threw in some flourishes, we played with some words and tada a new song was born and is going on the album. Sometimes it’s just magic like that. So we listened to what Jim had been doing with the other tracks, he pulled in Ed Ivey to do some absolutely great standup bass and tuba work on a few songs and it completely worked and filled things out. The songs sound so full and rich I can’t wait until we have all of the masters laid and it’s time for mixing. I mean really, I get goosebumps.
It’s funny to record with someone who has so many toys and good equipment at their disposal. The process is taking longer than we thought but that seems to mostly be about scheduling. The Rhubarb Whiskey EP came together so fast because we were using Boylamayka’s home recording studio. It’s pretty sophisticated for what it is and I think the EP sounds great but it’s also always us working the board. I get squirrelly thinking of how wonderful it would be for us to hit the studio too… I think we would prolly go with Art of Ears mainly since Boylamayka worked with Andy Ernst there back with his old band, and I was there for a bunch of those sessions and really dug Andy’s working style.
However post recording, as usual on Mondays, I hopped into my car Sadie and headed to Oaktown for practice with Rhubarb Whiskey. This was the night that we were going to run through the almost 20 murder ballads that we’d picked as potentials for our big Halloween show and narrow it down. A lot of scotch and tablature later it looks like we’re at around eight covers and two originals. And hot damn is it sounding good. Doing some nice playful gender stuff too in order to mix it up and keep the arrangements more interesting. Sounds like we’re going to have someone on washboard, saw, chain, and some back up singers to go along with our usual guitar, accordion, mandolin, standup bass action. Plan is still in place to plug into the board and record the show for a live album. An entire set of old school americana murder ballads… how could we not record it?
Next week we’re going to lay down the basics for the definite songs and start sending cd’s to the backup singers and guest musicians so they can play around a bit before we start meeting in mid August for rehearsals… so damn excited.