Yesterday and today I had the time of my life. And, really, that’s probably not a coincident given that my producer here in New Orleans, Donny Markowitz, actually wrote that song. For which he won an Oscar BTW, and yes, it’s this one… Donny told me that he never actually lifted up the statuette himself, but that he figured that everyone who’d since touched it has left a bit of their good energy in it. I like to think that I belong to that group.
Donny just has a really great energy about him! When I arrived to New Orleans on March 6th with a suitcase full of songs and a dream, he welcomed me with a lot of warmth and heart. The dream was to make my very first EP of my own songs come to life, songs I’ve written in New Orleans during the six years I’ve lived in the city since my first supposedly short-term visit in 2002. I had contacted Donny a couple of months prior to my arrival asking if he would produce the record. We had met before at songwriting session, but I had no idea how much good stuff I was in for.
I did remember Donny as being a super nice guy and our first skyping session confirmed that impression. We hit it off right away, and it didn’t make me feel any worse to hear how much Donny believed in my music. I feel honored to be working with Donny and feel that this meeting was brought about by my readiness to start on this project, which has been underway for some time now, the first of the songs being written in 2006. Besides producing the album, Donny has also helped me tighten up the tunes and get the arrangements where they need to be.
At day one of being in the studio, I was immediately smitten. The guys showed up with a really sweet, energetic spirit, ready to PLAY! I knew Donny had arranged a great team to record the four songs with Chris Adkins on guitar, Donald Ramsey on bass, Doug Belote on drums, Larry Siebirth on piano, Matt Rhody on violin, and Weedie on percussion. Weedie, BTW, told me that he was playing Carnegie Hall next week. So there’s that.
I hope the sweetness of these guys shines through on these photos, as they are indeed some of the most humble, musical, and pleasant people I’ve ever met. There were hugs and good vibes all around making it all feel so comfortable. This was also largely the cadeau of sound engineer and owner of Esplanade Studios, Misha Kachkachishvili, with whom I’ve worked several times in the past, and who exuded exactly that kind of warmth and encouragement that a singer, who’s doing something as sensitive as recording original music, needs to feel.
During both recording days, it felt as if a channel was opening up in each of us letting the music flow through. This channel I’ve actually described in the song Can You Feel It, which I co-write with guitarist Chris Adkins; it lets the creative energy manifest and connects us all on a spiritual level. With the band, I felt like we all connected on a spiritual level and it left me with chills. It was simply amazing.
Being in the studio with all these dudes was fun too! Yesterday, I’d jokingly told Doug that my song, Jacob, which is about a homeless man I met while busking in the French Quarter, was actually written about him, and that I had just switched out the name. Next thing I know, I’m in the vocal booth and notice that Doug has replaced the title “Jacob” with “Doug” and “Danish sailor” with “Cajun sailor”. (Jacob actually called me by the name of a famous Danish sailor’s wife.) This just cracked me up!
Tonight, I’m feeling in love. Not with any ONE person, but with a whole city, its creative vibe, its colors, shapes, nature, and smells, and, above all, its people, all of which have left its imprint on the music, we created during these two days. I still feel my whole body vibrating with energy from the experience. The music-making has both very fulfilling and fruitful. Now, the music needs to sit for a few days, before we begin mixing it.
Peace and love…C