It’s official! Luke and the band are midway through tracking their upcoming album!
From all available signs, the project–recorded between various Charleston SC studios–promises to be an earnest blend of Americana, rock and pop country fans will undoubtably embrace as the outfit’s finest work yet.
Featuring guest performances by a handful of well known rock and country artists/musicians, the project’s full details and the surprises in-store have for the most part been kept hush hush . . UNTIL NOW! Read below or go to the TOUR BLOG section of the website to read Luke’s most recent studio journal and to get the latest news on the album in-progress!
2013 NEW ALBUM Studio Journal #1
When it comes to making records, I don’t believe anything until I see it. And by that I mean that I don’t hint at release dates, give estimates on time frames OR announce the potential track listing for a new album until things are pretty much in the bag. After all—as I’ve learned—these babies of ours sometimes take much longer than 9 months to birth. And as an independent artist with no label backing us, there’s often logistics and finances we have to work with/around sometimes just in order to get our music heard. So—in short—we’ve had to become masters of patience.
Making an album is expensive—period. So much so that it’s very common for independent bands to not even recoup the money spent on recording. In fact, some independent acts see ‘albums’ as more of a promotional tool; rationalizing non-recoupment of recording costs as a necessary evil in order to reach new fans/listeners and increase attendance at live shows. I’m still not sure which side of the argument I sit on.
But in the case of this upcoming album, I’m thankful that a collective decision—reached long before we began—put ‘the songs’ and their release as the #1 priority of this project; The ‘costs’—we all agreed—would have to take a back seat. We’ll find ways around them. And so we have. The result thus far has been an inspiring endeavor—a ‘guerilla’ type of approach to the recording process. By putting in a little more sweat here and there, being resourceful and taking on more individual responsibilities we set out to make the best record any of us have ever been a part of. Additionally, we agreed we would aim to do it on a shoestring budget BUT without compromising ANY of the sonic elements, quality or standards we would have insisted upon had we been given a million dollars by a label to record the album.
After narrowing down the track list months ago, we began by writing and recording our scratch (demo) tracks to a metronome (or click track) to get an idea of tempos and structure. This was done at our individual home studios and normally at either my place, Neil B Young’s or Micah Nichols’s house. (These two have been my cowriting and coproduction partners for the entire project and will be throughout; the combination of their talents and the chemistry of all three of us in the same room has been powerful and I couldn’t be happier with what we’re collectively achieving.)
Once the songs we in place recorded acoustically on a scratch track, we knew we’d have to get the essential drum sounds the songs called for—as well as the quality they deserved. This was one part of the process we couldn’t skimp on nor achieve at any of our individual home studios. Good sounding drums are imperative on an album—even if you have to pay a decent buck or two for them. So we called on Jeff and the folks at Charleston Sound Recording Studio who wound up treating us, the project and all the musicians involved absurdly well.
Thanks in-part to the unreal room sounds there at Charleston Sound, Neil B Young’s mastery of audio engineering and our amazing drummer Ben Scott, we were off to a rip-roaring start and finished all the drums in just three sessions. I could brag all day about drummer Ben Scott—but I’ll save you volumes of praise by just saying that Ben has an inherent ability to execute whatever drum parts you’re thinking of in your head—regardless of how horribly you convey those ideas to him. At times Micah, Neil and I would be in the control room doing air drums and beat boxing drum parts through the studio microphone to him. We looked—and sounded—like complete idiots. Yet each time, Ben would watch/listen with extreme focus (not really sure how he didn’t die laughing), readjust his headphones and casually reply ”Okay, lets try that idea. Start me at the beginning.” The guy’s willingness to do whatever serves the song best knows no bounds—so much so that one day of our recording session found him sitting Indian style on the floor of the tracking room, bear hugging a sparkly 1970s marching band bass drum like a long-lost relative, and beating it with a mallet on-command for hours. Now that’s dedication people. I think Ben actually went home that day with glitter all over him that had rubbed off of the aforementioned sparkly bass drum. Best of luck explaining that one to the wife Benny boy.
During our time tracking drums we were also blessed to have a guest appearance/performance by former Needtobreathe drummer Joe Stillwell on two of the album’s songs. Joe’s flavor and style of playing added so much to the tunes he contributed to and I think that one would be hard pressed to find more talent behind the kit on one record than the collective skills of Mr. Ben Scott and Joe Stillwell.
In just 2-3 days the backbone of the record had been formed. And with all the drums tracked, it was official—the album had begun.