I am truly excited to finally offer up Old Fashioned as a finished product. You can download it, or order a physical copy, right now from Yer Bird Records.
After a nearly year long process, it feels great to be getting this music out to people. Let me tell you a little about the process.
In the early spring of 2011, I felt I’d been writing some strong tunes, and started seriously thinking about starting work on a new album, only six months after the release the previous one, Ghost Towns. I started recording demos in Denver with my buddy Rick Franz, songs like “Rust Belt City”, “Baltimore”, and “Tired of Telephones”. It occurred to me that a new album might be a great opportunity to work with an actual producer, somebody that I had always looked up to. I fired an email off to Bo Ramsey (Lucinda Williams, Greg Brown, Pieta Brown, Jeffrey Foucault), to see if he would be interested in working together. Not necessarily expecting to hear back, I was truly surprised and a bit, admittedly, star-struck when Bo called me back, and we began working through the details of making this project happen.
As it became clear that this album was going to take a bigger financial commitment than previous efforts, I decided to set up a Kickstarter campaign to fund it. My friends, family, and fans came through in a major effort and provided a great base to get this project going. To all of my Kickstarter backers, I can’t thank you guys enough. I sincerely hope you all know how much you mean to me, because without you, this wouldn’t have happened.
I spent much of early August on the phone with Bo, planning the recording sessions scheduled later that month, and discussing the theme of the album, instrumentation, etc. I must admit, those phone calls were fun as hell. We decided to keep it a stripped-down affair, and I began to think of other players that I wanted to have along (Bo was already committed to laying down his extremely tasteful guitar playing on the record). I knew certain songs needed upright bass, and I couldn’t really imagine working with anybody except for my good friend Matt Donoghue. Matt had played bass all over the Ghost Towns album, and is a true professional (he drove all the way from Duluth to Iowa City for one day of recording, I am forever grateful). I also couldn’t imagine going into the studio without songwriting cohort and great buddy Jeremiah Nelson. Jeremiah, in Bo’s words, is a “freak”, and in mine, a true musical genius. He ended up playing guitar, lap-steel, mandolin, and singing harmonies on the record.
Finally the week of recording at Minstrel Studios in Iowa City rolled around, and man, we had fun. John Svec, the owner of Minstrel and the man behind the controls, was a true pro and a pleasure to work with. Bo was all I hoped for and more, with great insight, truly magical ears, and bitchin’ guitar playing. Oh yea, and some great stories to boot. Matt and Jeremiah were amazing, and we even got some guest work in from Pieta Brown on harmonies and Bob Black on the banjo (he played with Bill Monroe!).
Recording was finished, but still a long ways to go before release. Under Bo’s advisement, the roughs were sent up to Tom Tucker for mixing, a dude with major mixing creds: Prince, Greg Brown, Mavis Staples, and Bo Ramsey himself. Then to Yes Master Studios in Nashville, where Alex McCollough worked some magic and made this thing sound really professional.
The final step involved a longtime internet acquaintance of mine. Sandy Smith and his wife Judy run Yer Bird Records, a really great little label out of Calgary, Alberta. Sandy also runs a cool acoustic-music blog entitled Slowcoustic, where he first wrote about my music back in 2008, I believe, which is how I got to know him. Anyhow, Sandy and Judy took a listen to the new album, were interested, and decided to add Old Fashioned to the Yer Bird roster, which already included greats like Hezekiah Jones, J. Tillman, and Pickering Pick. I’m really grateful for Sandy and Judy’s help in promoting this new record, and helping it to reach new audiences.
So that brings us up to present. Old Fashioned has finally been released, and I’m extremely proud of it. I hope you’ll take a listen. You can still listen to the full thing at Yer Bird’s bandcamp page. It is also available at the Yer Bird store on their website, my bandcamp store (physical copies only), through Amazon (downloads only, for the moment), probably soon on iTunes, and most everywhere else people generally download music from.
Thanks for reading my novel, folks, and thanks so much for your interest.