Most of the CD’s I’ve acquired in the last few years have been purchased directly from the artists after seeing them perform. More often than not in the concerts I attend these days, both the headliner and the opening act are solo singer-songwriters. Often, these shows are the first time I’ve been exposed to the opening act’s music, and if I liked the music, I’ll pick up the CD. It makes me feel good to support up-and-coming musicians, and in these days when illegal downloads have become the norm rather than the exception, I like to do what I can to make sure the artist can continue to pursue his or her art.
The problem is that more often than not, when I get the CD home and listen to it, I find myself disappointed. The CD is almost always slick and overproduced, lacking the warmth and intimacy of the live performance. The human element seems to have disappeared and been replaced by all of the bells and whistles the modern recording studio can offer.
I have been hard at work recording a new CD, and I find myself guilty of the same crime. Well, rather than guilty, I plead temporary insanity. In the excitement of discovering what my equipment is capable of, I started putting together an elaborate production for the sake of showing off my so-called studio prowess. That would be great if I was Jim Steinman in the studio with Meatloaf working on the next epic rock opera, but I’m a folk singer. My best performances have been with just a guitar while sitting around a campfire with good friends. That is the feeling I want my CD to have.
With that in mind, I have deleted everything I have recorded so far. I’m starting over. This time, the music is basically being recorded live in the studio with me singing while playing acoustic guitar. I am adding a little bass and bodhran to fill out the songs, but the ultimate goal is to make it sound real. That is what good folk music should sound like.
The recording process should go much quicker and easier, which is good because my deadline is approaching quickly. I want to have this finished and back from the duplicator by Labor Day weekend. It would be nice to have the CD for sale at the Metamora Old Time Music Festival. (See how I couldn’t resist plugging the event?)