Saturday, June 20, 2009
The Groovetrain has been in my studio, Cub Creek Sound for most of June working on initial recordings for a new press kit and the beginnings of a CD project. Our first tracking day had the whole band in starting about noon, getting Will McJ's drum parts down and basic rhythm instruments down to 4 songs, including two Dulcimer instrumentals, Kim's song North Carolina and Mark's new song "Tell You Goodbye" (done accapela with an upright bass)! We also worked on our version of "Bye Bye Baby Jane" and a co-write of mine and Kim's song, "Foothills."
. We had a blast together in the studio and we celebrated by getting a fire going in the pit in the backyard.
We cooked fajitas in a giant iron pot and finished up with smores on into the late night hours.
We're recording our projects old school, where vibe is everything and feel is more important than perfection. It feels like real music when we run the playbacks - that's a good sign! More to come!
Mark Elliott -Vocals & Guitars
Kim McLean - Vocals, Guitars & Dulcimer
Devon O'Day - Vocals & Percussion
Will McJ - Drums & Percussion
Chris Herin - Electric & Upright Bass
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Tonight we had a duo of duos down at Norm's River Roadhouse in Nashville. My old duo partner Gary Culley came in for the night as well as Tim and Myles Thompson. We billed the night as Kerrville meets Winfield! Gary and I won the New Folk Award at the Kerrville Folk Festival some years back and Tim Thompson was crowned finger-picking champ last year at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. Tim brought out his 15 year old son Myles tonight. They have been touring as a duo in the last year or two. Myles not only has prodigious talent on the fiddle, but is a mature player in terms of his jamming abilities to boot!
We had a great crowd tonight. Nashville (especially on week nights) can be oh so challenging to get crowds out. We had about 30-35 out tonight. Family, friend (old and new) as well as some new fans and a some nice strangers, hung out and enthusiastically supported the music. That makes such a difference in how we perform!
It was fun mix between their virtuosic instrumentals and our old harmony sound and songs of the road. It was a lot of fun to jump in on each other music and make it feel like a big ole kitchen table jam!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Cirque du Chanson, a circus of song.
Only in Nashville......
Kim McLean and Devon O'Day dreamed this night of 12 performers, whom most met for the first time the day of the gig, learning nearly 40 songs for a writer's night jacked up!The plan was to turn this writer's night into an all out jam-style performance, with everyone lending their talents on songs where they felt it. To make things more fun, names were drawn out of a jar to randomize the order of performers and everyone stayed on stage at the same time were beautifully "winging it".
We all met Kim McLean's classroom at Trevecca around 11am. on Monday morning and traded of songs with one another and a backing band, for early 3 hours. It took that long to rehearse almost 40 songs. Load in to 12th. & Porter was a 6pm. You have to give the sound guys credit for not freaking out too bad, as a dozen different songwriters an players can be a bit of a trick. Sound check last almost an hour, but ultimately things sounded good!
We had about 40 people in the venue (not bad for a Monday night in Nashville)! The show went off without a hitch and everyone was really great, diverse and passionate about their art - another edge over most writer's nights. Aside from myself, Kim McLean and Devon O'Day, we had Robin English, Leilah, Mark Sloan, Beth Fox and Marysue Englund. Marysue's husband Dave covered lead electric duties in the band, along with Chris Herin on Bass and Rick Malkin on drums and percussion.
I loved the challenge of playing that much music without much rehearsal. I grew up learning how to play around a kitchen table with other musicians. For me, this just was just a big ole kitchen table.