Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Post-Christmas Pre-New Year's Eve

Glenn Simmons and his lovely wife Lillian, Barry Canning, Paul Kinsman, Paul Boomer Stamp and Chris Ledrew got together on the eve of New Year's Eve to have a little listen to Glenn's 80% completed solo album. Glenn will be playing with Barry's group (which also includes Kinsman and Boomer) at the Delta St. John's ballroom for the NYE Gala. Barry is in town long enough to play the gig and get his 2 cents worth in about the record. A nice holiday afternoon of laughing and sipping. Glenn expects to finish tracking for the project within a couple weeks after the new year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We're taking a short break for Christmas and then back in the early days of January to finish Glenn Simmons debut solo album, yet to be definitively titled. Back Home has been a working title for the last few months but as time goes on, and skilled colleagues have added their particular flava, the vibe of the music has shifted. Glenn is back in late December for a NYE show with Barry Canning, Boomer Stamp, Paul Kinsman and Glenn Parsons at the Delta St. John's. Have a safe and happy holiday season.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Donald Fagen meets Buddy Emmons... sorta

If Glenn Simmons has done one thing this year besides reuniting and touring with the Wonderful Grand Band, playing with the Fables, moving his family and cats into a new home, and writing/recording a solo album, it's facilitating this picture. Maybe a first for rock photography... these two noble instruments in the same photo: the pedal steel guitar and the Hohner melodica. Whoa... worlds colliding.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Unusual Suspects (Percussion by Di Nillo, Ledrew on Pedal Steelo)

Now we're getting somewhere. New textures, colours and interactions that nobody could have ever planned are happening and there's lots of excitement as the music grows and takes us to new places. A couple songs are "finished" and a few more are close. Billy Sutton discovered he could drum but he couldn't hide, Romano Di Nillo brought his cool percussiveness to a few tracks, Boomer was back behind the kit for a couple, Chris Ledrew had us thunderstruck with his pedal steel voicings, and Paul Kinsman still hasn't found out who left the coffee cup stains on his Mellotron. You'll have to ask Glenn about the apparition... he was the one who saw it and the story requires the live retelling instead of attempting it here. One thing all the lads are realizing is that there's nothing quite as deep as playing music with people who have been doing it for many years.

Some song titles you can expect:

In the Twentieth Century
Sweet Vanilla
Perfect Reputation
She Talked About Elvis
It Goes On

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ice Station Zebra

On October 16 when we took a break from recording there were still a few leaves on the trees. Now, after a hugely successful Wonderful Grand Band tour and DVD release, and a few expeditions to Toronto and Halifax, Glenn has resumed recording at Stagehouse Studio. Engineer Justin Merdsoy promised to play a soulful bass part to avoid shoveling the place out. He delivered, but the place still needs to be shoveled out.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thank you! We're gonna take a little break and we'll be right back...

After living and breathing these 11 songs for weeks and months, there's now a break in the recording of Glenn's record. Rehearsals for the upcoming Wonderful Grand Band tour begin soon, and there's a grandson in Halifax to check in on. Glenn Simmons and friends will reconnect in early December at Stage House for the last couple weeks of tracking with a planned release for winter 2010... so please check back here for updates. In the meantime,we hope you enjoy this clip of Where being recorded. Boomer slayed us with his birthday performance, and Glenn had to learn the bass part to his own song. No pressure playing bass with 4 fellas and a video camera hangin' over ya.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October Gale

Billy Sutton braved the elements to cut percussion, drums and bass tracks. Bad weather, great groove.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Break Coming Soon

Here's a preview of Back Home:-) Must be alright if it inspires JM to bust a move.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Between the Wind and the Whitecaps

Considering the geographical and spiritual distance between the North Atlantic and the mountains of Afghanistan... the lyrics of Back Home take on a new, more poignant meaning in a military context.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

More surf in my mix, please

The personality of the Stagehouse is making itself known. There are places in the beginning of In the 20th Century where you can hear the waves crashing against the cliffs and wind in the eves... and it will probably end up staying. Led Zeppelin recorded Black Country Woman for Physical Graffiti in the garden and you can hear a plane at one point. So a bunch of millionaire rockstars set the precedent in 1975. Nice guitars today, great combinations of Gibsons and Fenders, AKG and Audio Technica mic's, Neve and UAD pre's, Hot Wheels and Imperial Storm Troopers. Wes Kinsman loved it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Crashing Waves and Driving Rain

It's like playing in the wheelhouse of the Bell Island ferry. Drums, Telecasters and Mellotron... Glenn, Paul Boomer Stamp, Paul Kinsman and Justin Merdsoy.

Boom in the Room and Justin Textin'

Paul Boomer Stamp cutting drum tracks for Sweet Vanilla.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Good takes...

Some lovely musical moments happening at Stagehouse Studio. You almost have to turn your back to the windows so you can pay attention to what you're doing. Even the control room has a view. Great gear like Neve strips and Apogee converters help the music flow. Thanks for the J-Bass loaner, L & M. We'll even leave the price tags on it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

From Glenn...

     I've been writing songs for The Fables for the last 10-12 years. But like you might expect, inspiration doesn't just come in Celtic form. There's been contemporary stuff that I have from as far back as 10 years ago that I like but have never recorded. Some of that will be on this record.  Most of the album will be more recent material however. I kinda like where I'm at today as a writer.

     The process that we're using has been working great. Basically it started with me writing the songs here at my house and then recording guitars, bass, and vocals here in my home studio. I got some fairly decent gear and I got it sounding pretty good. Then I sent the stuff to Paul and he created keyboard tracks for the songs in the comfort and leisure of his own home studio as well. It really brought the stuff over the top. Over a couple of afternoons we transferred my files, and then Paul's files to the studio computer in St Phillips. It all synced up perfectly and immediately sounded fantastic. It's a very cool way to do a record. We're gonna replace some of the lead vocals and solos and the like at St Phillips. They have world class gear there. It'll  also give me a chance to sing and play with the engineering out of the way. We'll get some real drums happening there too. It's a great facility and Justin Merdsoy (engineer) is very talented and an all round great guy to be working with. We're gonna do some of the songs from scratch as well, but already the album is 60% done, and we love what we got.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Kitchen Sync

     Demos for these new songs have been recorded all over the place over the last year or more and tracks are coming from multiple sources, formats and sample rates. Acoustic guitars and vocals from Glenn's Mac, some drums and guitars burned onto a CD from Billy Sutton's house, accordion, Hammond and piano tracks recorded at Paul Kinsman's place, backups from an external drive and a moog solo imported from a memory stick on Paul's key chain. The amazing thing is, Justin is able to synchronize these elements and performances effortlessly on the studio's Nuendo and it sounds like they were all recorded in the same place at the same time. Technology can be your enabler.

     More capturing and less computing. Some amazing and surprising songs.

     Glenn is gone to Hopeall to tend to the cats.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday, October, 3 2009

First official day of production at a beautiful studio space in St. Phillip's, Conception Bay, Newfoundland. Saturday included Glenn and engineer Justin Merdsoy doing some of the nitty-gritty data export and sync chores. Some existing tracks from the demos are coming together here for the first time, having been recorded at various studios throughout St. John's, Bay Roberts and Hopeall.Thankfully, everything is working the way we hoped.

Great vibe today... the view is inspiring yet distracting.