diggin’ up bones



now playing: charlie degenhart, “alaska” (live from the colonial theatre)


nik called me on my cell phone last night, on my way home from rehearsal (as he’s prone to do) and we chatted a little bit about the band, among other things – i was harboring a secret plan to pull a whammy on him during the release party, but i spilled the beans at rehearsal last night, and he loved it. essentially, all it involved was switching from guitar to lap steel for the closing solo on the title track of the record, but it made a pretty huge difference. (i pulled a similar stunt on the guys in shame during the release party an album they did that i was heavily involved with – i was playing with them as a sideman, and there was a song that they’d cooked up an alternate ending for that had their drummer playing guitar for the song…during the transition i jumped over to the drums and a blanket of panic fell over pete, the lead singer – they had no idea that i played drums, and i hadn’t told them. it was totally spur of the moment, and it was the high point of the gig…it worked out perfectly.)

lap steel, though…it’s such an expressive instrument – it can invoke a lot of different textures, and it can totally transform a song if it’s applied in the right place…and it works on that song. nik was quite impressed.

he and i have developed a pretty symbiotic, almost telepathic relationship as players in a very short time. until he started putting this band together, i hadn’t seen him in ages, but it’s really been as if barely a day had passed.

i think i’ve finally found a band that can compete with that great band that charlie put together some four years ago. this band has a lot of potential.

i made a cursory sweep of the pile of CD’s that sit on the table in the office at home and grabbed some of the stuff off the top to bring to work today. (i really didn’t even have time for a cursory sweep, but i did so nonetheless.) i found the live recording from the charlie degenhart show at the colonial theatre in phoenixville, the first marty higgins album that i attempted to master myself, and the recent CD of roughs from the blake allen record.

the blake stuff is postable in its current form…the other two discs are gonna require some smoothing action before i can really post any of that stuff. and i’m really disapointed in “alaska”.

that’s always been one of my favorite songs of charlies’ to play – it’s a great song, and there’s ample opportunity for me to shine in it, but my tone on the recording is awful, and i feel like i hear some “nerves” as well, in retrospect. i don’t really remember being nervous – just the opposite, in fact. (and certainly, dylan wasn’t nervous for me – he and jayda were sitting in the front row, and i looked down during the third or fourth song and dylan was fast asleep.) the tone thing has me baffled – i was playing through a dual amp setup, and i had explicitly asked the soundman to mike the proper amp during soundcheck. in retrospect, it sounds like that might not’ve happened…and i can’t really remember checking his work. it definitely sounds thin on the recording, though, and i’m pretty sure i would’ve reacted at some point during the song to correct that.

damn shame.

on a happier note, though, i can salvage the mastering job on marty’s first record relatively easily…i have much better equipment now than i did when i did this, and i can do this much more accurately now than i did.

and while i don’t often blow my own horn, i gotta tell ya – the combination of marty’s voice and mine on the end of “voice in the air” and “don’t you notice” makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. serious goosebump material.

this record will forevermore be on my “all time top five” list. these songs invoke so much for me…marty, todd, and myself at the height of our collaborative powers…great songs…good times.

ok, i must mop myself up off the floor and get to work here…can’t spend all day inside my head…

well, actually, that’s always a very real possibility…


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