For the past year and a half I’ve wanted to include more musicians in my recordings. Recording alone is fun, but making music is, by it’s very nature, a social activity. We make music with people and we make it for people. This is because music is a form of communication that connects with our basic instincts. By that I mean that we don’t have to think about music to enjoy it; we just react to it.
So far I’ve succeeded in a number of collaborations, including duets with Andrea Connolly (The Whistle) and Miriam Chicurel-Bayard (That Dress), and Robert Cantrell has played percussion on a number of songs. But when I formed the band, Starmakers, I wanted to include the members in a big way. This started last month with Casual Shirts, when Brian Risk played keyboards, and has continued this month with Brian and Robert (and next month, we’ll finally include Carol on bass!!!)
There are two logistical challenges to bringing collaborators into my project: I must write the songs early in the month so everyone can hear what I have in mind, and I need a space to record drums. On past songs, I’ve worked on lyrics right up to the day the song’s due. And while my little space is perfect for recording a ukulele, Robert would have to put his snare drum in one room and his cymbals in another, and that would never do.
Lucky for me, two things happened: a whole swarm of songs showed up in my head, giving me a jump start on the lyrics and arrangements, and my next door neighbor, Al Jacob, moved in. Al, it just so happens, co-owns Warrior Sound, one of the best recording studios in the area. In a beautiful setting surrounded by a horse farm, Warrior Sound has an amazing room for recording drums – just what I need.
One thing I love about collaborating with other musicians is that the results are a dialog greater than the sum of it’s parts. Even though “Don’t Worry About Me” is a sad song, a song about rejection, think of it a a conversation between three people about what rejection means to them. Each person, Robert, Brian and I, bring different perspectives and experiences to the music. We have three stories and we tell them with the instruments that we play. In that sense, by talking it through, we can help each other deal with the sadness.
I hope everyone had a great July and has a wonderful August! If you like the tunes, please share them with your friends (and have them share the tunes with their friends). And if you’d like to sing along, here’s the song sheet.