July 27, 2023 update on the recording of the new album!

Hi Folks!

So, I've finished the banjo track for “So Much to Say on Rainy Days” (the fifth song that I've started recording for my fifth album) and I'm really excited about how it's turned out so far! With a well-worn, 1940's Gibson Acoustic for the guitar track, strummed behind the vocal, and this lonesome banjo part taking a featured role, this song is already exceeding what my expectations were for it. You never know which ones are going to soar when you first start putting them together in the studio, until they do. This one found an updraft early on, and it just keeps climbing. 

When I finished the banjo track today, I started thinking about which other instrument(s) I might want to add to it next. After trying out a few, I found the sound that I was looking for in an old wooden dobro that was hanging on a side wall, behind some drum and percussion instruments. It's the perfect complement to what's already in the mix, but, I'm going to wait and ask an old friend to play this part for me, because, well, he plays dobro better than anyone I've ever heard. Some of you know who I'm talking about and if you don't, it wouldn't be too hard to figure out before the part gets done. Either way, I'll bring you up to date on all of that once we get to it (which, sigh, will be a good while from now). 

Until then, I'm gearing up to begin recording the next song, “Did We Tie?” I'll be starting off with a nylon-string, classical guitar for this one. All of the parts are already worked out in my mind so, I can already tell you that it will also have acoustic piano and a string section when it's done. Sometimes you just know. Now I just need to get all of those parts recorded.

I usually, but don't always, start with a fresh set of strings when recording guitars. The strings on the classical guitar I'll be using for this song were literally decades old and very clearly showing it. So, there was no question that I'd have to restring it to get it to record well. It had a “normal tension” set (La Bella, I think) on it, but I wanted a different feel for the part that I'm going to play, and a thicker/less-bright, softer sound for this recording, so I swapped them out for a “hard tension” set. When restringing “steel” string guitars (almost always phosphor bronze for my acoustics, and nickel for my electrics) it's easy to stretch the strings, so that they'll stay in tune. But for nylon strings, especially the “hard” and “extra hard” tension sets, it can take weeks for the strings to stabilize. Planning ahead, I changed out the old normal tension La Bellas with a new D'Addaio Pro.Arte, hard tension set (nylon core / silver plated wound) a few weeks ago, so that they'd be good to go by the time I was ready to start recording this next song. Now that that time has come, I'm happy to say that I really like the way these strings feel and sound! Which is a good thing because, if I didn't, changing them again would have meant having to wait a few more weeks for a new set to stabilize. I haven't tried any “extra hard” tension sets yet but am curious about how they sound and feel--which is something I can look forward to experimenting with in the future. As the story goes, these hard tension strings seem to be “just right.” 

Tomorrow I'll start recording the guitar and vocal parts, and then move forward with tracking the acoustic piano part before gathering up some friends for the string section, and for the bass and percussion tracks. It feels so good to be starting this next song, which – being the sixth one so far – means that I'm nearly half-way through the songs that I have in mind for this album, and that much closer to being able to share them all with you. 

I am so grateful for your support. 

Check back here again soon and hear what's happening next! 

With so much love and gratitude,
Bill S.


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