Day thirteen: the final (from scratch) track!

After another late night (though not as late as the past couple), I woke up on the couch to find Eli’s claws in my shoulder.

To clarify, Eli would be my cat, and 6am would be an hour past his usual feeding time.

I’m proud to say that, realizing how busy the coming day would be — and that this would be my last day of true break — I actually got to work right away.  I began by sitting down with my guitar to finish writing “It All Comes Around.”  I’ve had the first verse and chorus for months now, but it took until the morning of the recording session for me to finish writing it.

I should probably also apologize to Nicole for making her listen to it so many times before she left for work at 10, but I think she enjoyed it.  🙂

I spent the late morning and early afternoon at my friend Dan’s house practicing for a three-song set we’ll be playing at an open mic night at the high school in March.  We’ve been playing these songs on and off for the past several years, but we’re finally honing them and finalizing arrangements instead of just jamming aimlessly.

Although aimless jamming can be quite fun, as well!

By the time I got home, had a late lunch, and was ready to record, it was already 4:30.  Thankfully, Nicole went out with friends from work, so I had from then until 7:30 to lay down drum tracks (which took FOREVER on this one) and to record acoustic guitar, a lead vocal, and overlay harmonica on the entire track.  I did the harmonica track in one take, and though it’s not perfect, I’ll probably end up keeping it for the overall feel of the performance.  It’s hard to recapture the energy of a song when you get it just about right the first time.

And so, after 13 recording sessions in August, October, and February, the principal recording for The 2010 Project is complete!  I’ll be hard at work overdubbing and then mixing and mastering the album in the next few weeks, so I’ll continue to post my progress here on this blog.

As always, thank you to any and all for taking the time to read what I write, and I hope to have good news and good music for you very soon!

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Day twelve: on the “Threshold” here…

Thanks to my Mike-inspired marathon of Lost late Thursday night, I had another late start today.  This being the final week day of my February break — and there being not one but two songs left to record! — I got to work as soon as I woke up.

Despite the late start, this was a productive session.  I laid down the drum, acoustic & electric guitar, and lead vocal tracks for my penultimate unrecorded song, “Threshold.”  The results are very encouraging, though there are parts of the lead vocal that I think I could do better on another take.  Also, the intro sounds great on my lovely Bose headphones, but frankly sounds muddy and messy in the car, so I’ll have to reconsider that as well.

When I finished with “Threshold” for the day, I still had time to revisit “Socrates’ Gulps,” a song that I have such high expectations for that it is, as a result, constantly disappointing me upon later review.  Today, I spent a good amount of time deleting and re-recording most of the electric guitars.  I found a killer effect for the riff, but it’s an unstable vibrating sound, so it’s been a lot like taming a wild animal.  Overall, I’m not thrilled with the result, but I’m finally confident that I’ll be able to bring this song up to its potential…

…during a future session.

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Day eleven: “One” down, two to go…

Today was another productive day, especially considering that I got a relatively late start and only worked until late morning.  The song of the day was “One,” a fairly simple little song — bordering on sonically ho-hum, if you’d asked me previously — but one with great lyrical verve.

The session started off on a bad note, as my guitar tuner finally stopped working.  It has been finicky for days now, as though the batteries were dying or there was a short in the wiring.

Deciding to replace the battery was not as simple as I had hoped.

Well, I had to pry the stubborn battery hatch open with pliers, “borrow” the 9-volt from my smoke detector — I clearly have my priorities in order! — and all this only to realize that it still didn’t work.  My eventual solution was one of a desperate man, driven by the need to record immediately.  I won’t even try to explain; I’ll let you take a look yourself:

Yoda saves the day... by stretching the wires out far enough to temporarily fix the short in the connection, enabling me to tune my guitar!

On to the music…

I laid out the drum tracks when I was recording a demo earlier this summer, so I was able to simply strip off the existing acoustic, electric solo, and vocal tracks before recording new, higher quality performances over the bed of drums.  The results, thanks to several invaluable recording tips from Mike, are very much to my satisfaction.  This studio version of “One” far exceeded my expectations for the song, and instead of considering it a late album track that’s “back there somewhere,” I can’t wait for it to be heard.

Once again, I was extremely blessed to have Mike take time out of his day to drive in the opposite direction of where he was going later in the day just to stop by for a listen and some lunch.  So, for the third day in a row, he listened to my recordings, played around with levels, and added other aspects in the production that have ultimately made “One” sound different, better, and more professional than it otherwise would have.

And I got to extend my break week eating-lunch-out record to 3-0, so that’s not half bad either!  🙂

As a final note, I’ve got two new tracks to record from scratch, and then it’s all overdubs (mainly bass and background vocals), which I hope to at least start by Saturday.

Until tomorrow…

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Day ten: introducing Em-Eff Productions!

Today was an epic day.

I began early this morning with the drum tracks, lead guitar, and lead vocals for “You Will Thank Me,” the recently-written, last-minute addition to The 2010 Project.  Thanks to Mike, I felt the pressure to record steadily, as we would be getting together around 9:30 for breakfast.  So, before I jumped in the shower at 9, I had recorded the key tracks for a new song and completed the lead vocals I had started for “I Would” last night.

After breakfast, these recording sessions were taken to a whole.  Nutha.  Level.

First up, Mike worked some production magic on “You Will Thank Me” to make it sound more full.  Then, before returning to “I Would (Prefer Not To),” he led me through some practice on palm muting, searching for the best effect on my pedal, and finally through a series of performances that have transformed this track into a huge electric production, a truly glorious guitar-driven song.

In talking with him, we developed the idea to record the song I had set aside to be a “hidden track” as a live performance, just the two of us in one or, as it turned out, two takes.  So, the bonus track on my new album will be the first-ever officially released Dry-Knuckle BedHeads recording, “The One For Me,” featuring me on guitar and harmonica and Mike on the hand-made (old-school) maracas my sister brought home from the Dominican Republic years ago.

The Dry-Knuckle BedHeads rock out

If you don’t want to wait until the album comes out, you should click on the Dry-Knuckle BedHeads tab in the toolbar above and listen to “The One for Me,” as well as “I Already Know It’s You (California),” one of the other three songs we recorded today.  This song is a Mike Fusco original, and features him on guitar and lead vocals, with me accompanying on harmonica.

We also recorded two other Mike songs: a rocking version of “Do You Have a Sister?,” previously heard in his solo performance on the Laptop Sessions blog, and a heartrending performance of “Back to Reality,” both of which will be converted to .mp3 and posted soon with additional pictures, so check back soon!

To make a long story short, the remainder of my day included: a candid conversation with Mike about home, traveling, life, love, goals, dreams, reality, and the unexplored potential of mOu; my second eating-out lunch of the week (a break-week tradition); and last, but not least, driving the Fustang, which added several more reasons to my list of why I should consider buying a muscle car for my next automotive purchase.

If you’ve made it all the way through this blog entry, I thank you for being so patient and interested, and I promise to bring you some great music at the end of this long 2010 Project journey!

Oh, and Mike and I call dibs on the title for our new production company/label: “Em Eff Productions.”  It sounds informal but edgy, and as Mike pointed out, he’ll be able to keep it if we ever have a falling out (M F stands for not only Moore Fusco but also Mike Fusco!).

More to come tomorrow!

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