A BIT MORE ABOUT THE ALBUM....
We knew from the outset a couple of things were different about this album.
First off, this record is all about the songs. In other projects, we'd focused on trying to capture a flavor of our live shows. Not that the songwriting wasn't important on those projects. It was. But we felt that our new material was some of the best songwriting we've managed, and we wanted to make it the center of this project.
We also knew from the outset that we wanted to work with a band. We got a fantastic group of musicians together. Our rhythm section is Chris Hepola (Poor Nobody's, Cactus Blossoms) on drums and Liz Draper (Okee Dokee Brothers) on upright bass. Instrumentalists include Toni Lindgren (Reina del Cid) on electric guitar; Patrick Harison (Patty and the Buttons) on accordion, lap steel, and washboard; and Randy Broughton (Trailer Trash, Gear Daddies) on pedal steel. Chris Hepola played some keys, as did Joe's sister Marya Hart, a stalwart of the Twin Cities music scene. A few other folks got involved as well, including Adam Kiesling on banjo, Nikki's brother, Cory Grossman, and trumpet player Gerard Ahlgren. Taken together, this crew was fantastic--great musicians, and happy, no-drama workers.
The other thing we knew from the start about this record is that we wanted to work with a producer. Our good friend and fantastic studio/recording engineer Tom Herbers (Low, Trampled by Turtles, Charlie Parr) would of course be involved. We couldn't imagine making anything without him. But we also wanted a producer on board to help shape the music and the record as a record.
We were sitting around one night discussing this fact, and as it happened the Richard and Linda Thompson album, "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" was playing. If you don't know this recording, run out and buy it right now. It's one of the greatest masterworks of the British folk-rock era. One or the other of us said, half jokingly, "Let's get the guy who made this record to help us with ours."
On a whim, we went ahead and looked him up... turns out it's the producer/engineer John Wood. With Joe Boyd, John established Sound Techniques studio in London in the early 1960s--and proceeded to make some of the greatest records of all time... not only for Richard and Linda Thompson, but for Fairport Convention, Incredible String Band, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd.
We were a bit intimidated by John's pedigree--but we went ahead and threw some of our CDs in the mail, along with a letter querying his interest in the project. Much to our surprise, he wrote back saying he'd love to be involved.
Working with John has been fantastic. He's had insightful comments on the demos, and now that we are done with the studio work, we'll be shipping all the files to him at his hunting lodge in Northern Scotland, where he will do the final mixes of the album. Needless to say, we are delighted to have someone who's nickname is "Magic Fingers" crafting the sound for the record.
After mastering, we'll be into production--vinyl and digital--with a release date and tour to follow shortly after. Again, you'll be the first to know about our dates.
For now, we're back home in the Ocooch Mountains, welcoming spring and celebrating Neva Rose's first birthday.
Hope to see all of you down the road...
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