‘On Time’ Studio Session Photos and Recap

I’ve just returned from four days of recording in New York, putting tracks together for my upcoming album ‘On Time’. Technically speaking, it was a tremendous challenge – all of the main vocal tracks were recorded live with the acoustic guitar and drums, all in the same room, mics bleeding all over the place……no room for significant error. Below are some photos from the session, along with my personal captions on the experience of working with Cameron, Matt, and Glenn. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the recording process.

Cameron Greider, the Man – Guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, arranger, producer, ad infinitum. I already knew I adored his music. I didn’t know I would so quickly and naturally come to regard him as a friend and genuine musical partner. He’s a man of culture with real street smarts and a sublime musical gift, and I did indeed choose wisely in seeking him out.

He played bass on the (completely live) session, perhaps a tad reluctantly – the six-string is his primary instrument. He had nothing to fear – he and Matt locked in a wonderful way, just a tad behind the beat, just how I like it. Now he’s busy adding overdubs to the tracks, so look for those to be finished in the coming months. The mixes he sends me are innovative and outstanding; the whole thing should master well.

Matt Johnson, Drum Beast – I’ve had the good fortune to play with a number of competent drummers over the years. I do believe Matt Johnson is the best of them all. Truly world-class – there’s a reason the fan-boys drool over his Vater-sponsored interviews on YouTube.

Having (in classic drummer fashion) not learned the songs beforehand, he proceeded to chart out the arrangements while the engineer was running cables and getting sounds. He then proceeded to nail it, completely live, song after song, over the course of two intense days, for a total of 7 outstanding rhythm tracks. His parts are way more than timekeeping – they are orchestral arrangements, delivering every single beat with clarity, precision, and monumental groove. Mostly he played with professional restraint, serving the song. Every now and then, though, he cut loose in a jam section and it was simply overwhelming – shades of Elvin Jones. It was thrilling to play with him. I intend to do it again 🙂

Glenn Ianaro, Engineer and Reincarnated Taoist Monk – The session simply would not have been possible without this technical wizard and all-around great guy. His smallness is his greatness. He was always present in the background, guiding and supporting us both technically and energetically. In contrast to many engineers, who often become horribly jaded after years of recording (mostly) hack musicians, Glenn actually engaged with my music and was clearly moved by it. It was nice. I look forward to recording with him again.

Robert Arellano, Architect and Carpenter – I’ll be honest, I was terrified of this session. I’ve never worked so hard to prepare for anything, drilling the set list for hours each day over the weeks preceding the session. I absolutely did not want to blow it, I felt too much riding on the outcome – including the integrity of the material itself (which does not come from me, I promise).

Look for ‘On Time’ to be released sometime in early 2018.

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