Posted in the session log

session log: dakota jay at sound and vision, “love you no more” single

so, in the midst of doing all this work on the michael tearson album, andy asked me if i’d be willing to do some session work for him…

and, of course, i’m not about to turn andy down. you don’t turn andy down. šŸ™‚

seriously, it was something that was right up my alley, and i knew it’d be a blast working with andy on something a little different. it was for a formerly local singer/songwriter named dakota jay – originally from the doylestown area but now making his home in nashville for most of his days. andy sent me an mp3 of the rough for the track that he’d gotten from jay…a song called love you no more. it was a clever song, with pretty straightforward chord changes…and dakota was clearly a pretty deft vocalist, and he put the song across sincerely.

so i collected all the stuff that i figured might come into play for the session and loaded it into the usual spot in the front room – pedal steel, mandolin, lap steel, baritone guitar, dobro…and i lifted andy’s nashville tele for the session, too (which showed up in the mix with some of my personal nicknames attached to the tracks…so instead of “ele gtr” or “tele gtr” or any number of the usual naming conventions, we had tracks named “tacocaster” and “dick swinging lead guitar” instead…)

before i’d gotten there, andy had enlisted fran smith, jr. from the hooters to pair up with him as part of the rhythm section, and they’d cut dakota’s acoustic guitar plus a scratch vocal, plus the bass and drums – so they were ripe for overdubs when i arrived. we started with the pedal steel, as that would probably take up the most space in the track, and we’d want that to be there while we continued to work so we could play around it. after that, i put down a mandolin track that essentially acted as a high-strung acoustic guitar, in that it mirrored the rhythm track for the most part, but it had a different “voice”, so it was a little more heavy on the emphasis than a normal high-strung guitar would have been. then i put in a couple of different passes of baritone guitar – one with a little more of the twang than the other, so they’d have options – and moved on to the electric guitar.

one pass of the tele was essentially power chords, and the other pass was incidental single-noteish, lead guitar-type stuff…and yeah, by now it was gettin’ a little thick on the tape, folks. but – i tried to keep everything within the spirit of the song, and keep it simple enough that andy would have choices when it came time to mix…and, i’m finding that this is generally what he seems to expect of me in the first place, so…it’s working.

dakota and his family were thrilled with the results – his mom and dad had been there from the beginning, and i’d have to imagine it was quite an experience for them to see how this sort of thing works…building a song from a germ of an idea and some basic chords into what we ultimately created for them. a good song stands on its own with a vocal and a supporting instrument, and this song certainly could have stood on its own in that regard, but they wanted something finished and radio-ready, and i’m pretty sure that when andy finishes the mix for this one, they’ll be pleased with the outcome.

as for me…i’ve gotta hire somebody to carry all this stuff for me. AND i’ve gotta figure out a way to talk andy out of that telecaster.

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Author:

tom is a personally and politically malcontent musician, songwriter, sideman and session cat living in East Nashville, Tennessee.

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