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Pneumonia, depth perception and March 

March started off a bit rough. I waffled a lot on the songs I wanted to put on this  month’s album, which resulted in a bit of wasted time, unfortunately. Normally, that’s something I can easily recover from though in the last weekend I came down with a gnarly case of pneumonia, which has sapped a good amount of energy out of me. Lots of waking up in the middle of the night, hacking until I gag. Not exactly ideal for trying to record a batch of mellower folk based songs as I had intended to do for this album. The Pneumonia is lingering, though I was able to finish the album this morning before heading to the eye doctor. 

I’ve been seeing a doctor about regaining the vision in my left eye. He seems confident that he can get the vision to 25/20, though the image will always be distorted due to scar tissue and my irregular pupil. Just having a lens over the eye today and looking around was very, very strange. There was some semblance of depth, something I have not been able to perceive for 22 years. That eye also sees with a sort of glow around everything, especially around the edges of objects, almost like a colorful outline. That color depends on what I’m looking at. Because my brain just ignores that eye at the moment, I wonder if that glow will always be there when I have the proper lens. The other issue is that because my brain has ignored that eye for so many years, the images don’t line up anymore. (I have permanent double vision). I’ll have to go through some physical therapy to try and make that happen, though there’s a chance it never will and this’ll all be for nothing. Here’s hoping. 

Other than vocals, the tracking for March went pretty well, and quickly. The only rough patch came on the day I was to record drums with Charley McGowan. I’ve known him since I was about 11, and have played with him in a high school band. He’s a great drummer. More than that, he’s the most “stoked” person I’ve ever met. He’s just so excited, generally, about the things he likes. That enthusiasm is infectious, and made for an awesome day of drums. The issues came from the technical side. We used a bunch of equipment I’d never tried before. We had a rocky start, but started cruising at about noon. I can’t wait to get some better sounds for April and onward. Tracking drums is a challenge, but FUN. 

The Pneumonia is still lingering and goes from better to worse and back on a daily basis. Hopefully by the time I start doing vocals for April it’ll have cleared up a bit. The next batch of songs is more lively, and complicated. They range in mood, tempo and content quite a bit. I’m very excited to jump in this batch. …I think I’ll start tonight.

February is done! 

This last weekend was a sprint. Thursday night, I was feeling supremely insecure about whether or not I could finish this batch of songs in time to get it off for mastering. That is, until Bremen McKinney came over to record some accordion tracks. Right away, I was washed over with a sense of relief and could picture in my mind how some of these songs could come together. There was light at the end of the tunnel. Bremen worked quickly, taking direction as well as improvising in his own way to help craft some of the more interesting elements that ended up in those particular songs. Not only that, but he’s a good buddy, and it was nice to have a couple beers and screw around with something musical. That night, I went to bed feeling pretty jacked up about what we had done, and ready to tackle the next piece of the puzzle: saxophone. 

For that, I called in Dan Nelson. Co-worker and tenor saxophonist. I don’t know Dan very well, aside from the occasional at-work small talk about shared interests. This was to be the first time that I’d every worked musically with someone I hadn’t first been good friends with. Which made me a bit nervous that it just might not work. After a few instructions, he was ready and standing in front of the mic. 

Right away, Dan nailed his parts and improvised like a pro. To “say like a pro” makes it sound like he’s not. I want to be clear, the man is a pro. He crushed it. Everything I could have wanted from those saxophone parts, he delivered and then some. There’s one part in particular, a somewhat jazzy solo section where it was like he just cracked my head open and played what was rattling around in there. That was one of the easiest recording experiences I’ve had with a musician that I wasn’t in a band with. 

I’m very much excited to get this album out into the world. It’s quite a bit different from January  in pacing and feel, though many of the same themes are touched upon. It is a bit of a strange album and I hope you all get a good chance to listen start to finish with a good set of headphones, or some excellent speakers… there are lot of little elements to be noticed! 

The release date should be on the 23rd of this month; a little ahead of schedule but we wanted to release on the last Friday of February, so, there it is.