session log: amanda penecale/video shoot at cambridge sound

it’s never good to schedule vocals too early in the morning.

even worse, though, is to schedule vocals early in the morning during allergy season.

i knew it was coming…every year, i know i’ll have to deal with it at some point. this year, the weather here has been so unpredictable – temperatures all over the map, two weeks of rain, et cetera – that there was a degree of prolonging the inevitable hanging over this particular allergy season for a while, now.

not any more, though. i’m chest deep in it now.

todays’ cambridge session was dual-purpose…one, i had to do a harmony vocal on the choruses of “autumn arrives” for amanda penecale‘s record…which i’d already played pedal steel and baritone guitar on during a prior session. (the irony here being that if i’d cut the vocal during that session, it woulda been one or two passes and done…ah, well. hindsight.)

Jimmy Knobs doin' business...
Jimmy Knobs doin' business...

it was one of those things where the harmony line fell right in between my full chest voice and my falsetto, which is the worst place to try to sing from when unknown organisms have taken up residence in your sinuses…the guys were troopers about it, though, and we took at least fifteen passes or so at each chorus and moved on to the next thing on the agenda….the dreaded video shoot.

i’d been brainstorming this for some time – the concept, in a nutshell, was to videotape a small collection of segments of me playing and explaining various instruments in short, YouTube friendly clips. jimmy knobs and i talked about it on a couple of occasions, with the objective being something that was well-shot and recorded to ProTools, so that it would serve the mission of being a demo reel both for me, and for the studio. i also threw in some narraration here and there, to illustrate some of the finer points of the different instruments, tunings, techniques…that sort of thing.

we started at around noon, after taking a valiant swing at the vocals on amandas’ project…i decided that we’d just do electric instruments for this pass, so i brought in electric guitars, pedal and lap steels, the jaguar baritone, the resolectric, the jerry jones sitar, gretsches, danelectros…anything i had that was a little out of the ordinary that i thought would be video-worthy. i reviewed duane allman slide technique on an SG, lowell george’s tone on a strat through an MXR phase 90…all that kinda thing.

and frankly, it was fun. i mean, i’m not the most telegenic dude on the planet, and i don’t think i’ll be hiding that fact from anyone, but i wish i’d have had all this stuff demystified for me when i was starting out. it would’ve made the road a lot smoother, that’s for sure.

todd, who shot the footage, is busy editing and synching the stuff as we speak. i’ll let you know when it’s ready for public viewing. 🙂

eric and amanda with their game faces on...
eric and amanda with their game faces on...

as we were tearing down, amanda and eric came by to begin working on their project – they had a friday deadline, so there was a lot for them to do. jim put the track up that i had sung on, and – amazingly – it sounded pretty good. now, i’m prone to believing that the reason it sounded pretty good is because jimmy knobs got under the hood and made it sing a little better than it probably did at first blush. but, hey – if he’s happy, then that means the client is happy. and if they’re both happy, then i’m happy. that’s the way it works.

i had to leave for another session, so i left them there to hash it out, out of earshot, so they could say whatever they wanted with regard to how much it may or may not have sucked…usually, you can tell when someone is giving you the shine about work you’ve done on their project…and they seemed genuinely happy with it, so who am i to second guess, right?

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