When a group of musicians, or a particular band of yours really starts to “gel” it’s an incredible, as well as rare feeling! This weekend, I was able to assemble just this kind of group of players together for the making of my new album, and it was an incredible experience! One of the major joys was the fact that I could be reunited with one of my all-time favorite drummers and old friends, Mike Braun! Michael played first with me on the Phoebe Snow tour in 1979, then did 4 of my albums in a row, from 1979 to 1990, and then moved to the west coast. He also then got a 20-year gig with Hall and Oates, which was literally keeping him busy right up till the moment I called him for this session!
The amazing thing was that musically, as well as personally, it was as if no time had elapsed between our last meeting and this one, which is truly an incredible happening, and something that helped the music immensely. The bassist, someone relatively new in my fold, Eddie Denise, did a stellar job on upright as well as electric bass, and immediately “clicked” with Michael as a bass-drum combination. My rhythm guitar player, Matt Rae, who started with me 14 years ago as my student has really come along in his own right as a wonderful player, and was extremely supportive, and also “gelled’ right into the whole rhythm section.
What this meant for me was that I could take many of my leads “live”, with much less overdubbing needed. This was a great thing, as I was able to simply concentrate on the music, and keep it truly spontaneous! I know music is being made these days is many less spontaneous ways, and of course, with the advent of digital recording, and things such as “Pro Tools” and the like, almost anything is possible, or can be essentially “manufactured”, but it is still the most rewarding thing to make your music in a “real” way!
Now, I am overdubbing , playing leads, rhythms, lap steel, slide and many other things over tracks that sound truly inspiring to play to….no worries, no “wandering” thoughts , and most of all a real sense of self-assurance that what parts I do play will sit absolutely right in the track as I originally planned!
It’s always great to bring new folks “into the fold”, and it’s sure incredible to make things happen again with older acquaintances, but new, old or present, it’s so important to make sure you all listen to each other, be true “team” players, and be musically and emotionally supportive of each other! Good luck, and always “Play Together!”