My intention and approach in recording this project is to welcome you into my musical world.
I wrote 12 of 13 songs on a Kawai GM-12 I acquired in the fall of 2010. When I bought my Kawai grand piano, I wondered - what will you and I do together? The instrument spoke to me and gave me ideas, thoughts, solace and inspiration. I love this piano. We have tailored the action to my liking – yes, a team effort -well it is "Cadillac".
The first track is Perpetual. The opening motif came to me in 1985 – written on a small 42” Kawai upright while I was in Vancouver, BC. Over the next three years, the rest of the song came through and I ended up recording it with a full band at Skywalker Sound, in Nicasio, California - only to strip away the instrumentation, uncovering the solo piano track which now opens my project.
For the other pieces, I worked on the various aspects, versions and ideas over a 5 year period revisiting, arranging, rearranging, and scoring. It was really only until December of 2016 that the project came to life in its entirety.
So began the next journey or should I say adventure. I had heard of and had always wanted to work at Real World – Peter Gabriel's Studio in England
I footnoted one work, Endless June, with “Lake Tahoe” based on a track off of Kate Bush’s, 50 Words for Snow. To make a long story short, Patrick Phillips (who recorded that track) entered my life – as my engineer at Real World Studios. I loved the sound of his work with Kate Bush – and his demeanor and patience was wonderful.
The basic sonic premise of the studio's "Wood Room" and the Bosendorfer grand piano made sense to me as follow up from my first project – Tabernacle -which was recorded at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in Vancouver, B.C. That room - with its hard surfaces and wood was now matched with similar qualities of Real World's "Wood Room".
I rehearsed the project from May - August, 2016 and recording started on September 8th – on my birthday at Real World Studios.
The mic selection and recording options open to me at Real World also gave me access to record the project on the Bosendorfer grand as well as the Yamaha grand in the "Big Room". Each environment and instrument provided a different feel and result. After approximately 40 hours of tracking – I developed about 6 takes of each track.
Back in Marin, it was off to Skywalker Sound in Nicasio, CA. for a rough mix. The initial two days allowed me to hear the project in its entirety and explore further ideas. With the project tracked in the highest resolution, I got to select the initial backbone for the project. Editing with Robert Gatley as well as rough mixes with Leslie Ann Jones gave realization to 6 of the tunes. The opportunity to record the other 7 tunes on the Bluthner (9 ft grand) largely used for scoring at Skywalker –was the perfect match for the Bosendorfer tracks. Leslie Ann Jones tracked the project over an additional day and we took the hard drives back to our studio at Passion Star Music. Our space allowed me to edit and mix the album into its entirety and that is what you hear today.
Upon the mix completion, it was off to the hands and ears of Piper Payne of Coast Mastering who heard the project as I envisioned. Her efforts, patience and guidance gives you this project in front of you. I hope you enjoy and thank you so much for listening.
This project is a compilation of many and their assistance, love and guidance. I want to first thank my wife, Lisa, for her daily patience and guidance which moves me and my work forward and sends it out into the world. Sally and John Renn for their ongoing love and support. Tom Schworer for his amazingly beautiful artwork. Robin Murphy for her talent, patience and ability to design & lay out my vision. To Real World Studios with a special call out to Patrick Phillips – and his patience, manner and talent for keeping things real. Leslie Ann Jones, Robert Gatley and Skywalker Sound – for pushing me further as an artist. Coast Mastering's Piper Payne for molding, caring and detailing my vision. Thank you all. A special thanks to my loving friends to have stayed the course with me. Love you guys – thanks for staying real!