session log: rob snyder

instruments: pedal and lap steel, dobro, baritone guitar

recorded at brian fitzgerald’s home studio with brian engineering

it really is funny how these things work sometimes.

rob posted a note on his facebook page that he was looking for a pedal steel player…a guy who’d opened a jd malone show some time back replied to him and told him that jd’s guy might be able to help him out, and he tracked me down from there. internet detective work at its best. 🙂

rob offered to send me advance tracks, but i asked him to wait until his vocals were cut, so that i could hear it with the holes in place. i was concerned that, if i heard it without the vocals, that i might not envision the holes for the fills in the right places…and that’s important, when you’re playing parts to support the vocal. rob’s music is predominantly modern country, and stomping on the vocal is a bigtime no-no in pretty much any subgenre of country music. (it should be a no-no across the board, but some people don’t police it nearly as stringently as country artists and producers.)

i had never met rob (or brian, his producer), but both turned out to be great guys to work with…rob’s music came pretty naturally to me as a player, and the songs were pretty fleshed out by the time i got to add my two cents’ worth – which is actually better than it sounds. the more elements there are present in a recording, the easier it is to arrive at something that’ll be complementary, and won’t get in the way of the other parts already on the records…which can mean playing nothing at all as often as not. this is a concept i have a hard time of selling sometimes, but it’s true – sometimes people will ask for something, thinking they want it, but then when you oblige them and throw it on there, they eventually come to find out that it wasn’t the part they were looking for, after all. 🙂

as always, i brought some extra tools for “just because”, and as is often the case, i ended up using some of them…we ended up deep-sixing the pedal steel and going for the slightly overdriven lap steel tone for one song, we put baritone guitar on another, and dobro on a fourth. we did use the pedal steel, but not as much as i think they wanted to. they were lovin’ everything they were hearing, and we burned through the tracks pretty quickly.

there’s something gratifying about working for a client and/or an engineeer whos’ enthusiasm for what they do is so infectious, and that’s definitely true of these two…looking forward to doing it again. 🙂

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