When we began preparing for CD number 2, (possible title: Painful number two), we got together and discussed what worked and what didn’t work in the recording of the first one. Obviously the Tennessee Vol marching band we hired for “Windeer Woman” was a bust and should have been thought out a little more… and the “no pants Thursday” rule in the studio was more distracting than inspiring. But there were good ideas that came out of it… like doing some of the tracks in Nashville using players that Georgia and I have worked with and love; and then the rest in Ojai, CA, in the studio Kenny was used to, with guys he loves. That sounds a little weird. Oh well. This is democracy in action, people.

So we booked a great room in Nashville, hired a great engineer with fabulous credentials and a winning smile, and we set off on the good ship “Inevitable Disappointment.”  But surprise, surprise…we were NOT disappointed.

I stole a great idea that my friend Victoria Shaw done teached me (I’m worried I’m not sounding Southern enough. Our new marketing guy says that I should wear a cowboy hat on stage. Fortunately our new, NEW marketing guy likes me just the way I am.)  Vic’s idea is to rent a rehearsal room the day before the session and work out all the parts in a less expensive, looser setting. Then you go into the studio and can concentrate on petty jealousy and old grudges. Now, this isn’t a world shaking idea but it’s a really useful one that was beyond ME to think of. Most of my brilliant ideas are food related. Like placing a Cinnabon under your pillow before having sex. It saves a step when it’s over. Sexy AND cinnamon-y!

We hired a fabulous team of crackhead musicians. Sorry… that was auto correct. A team of CRACK musicians. We filled the room with all kinds of amplifiers and snacks (my idea) and worked on four songs. Two of these songs were songs we have been playing on the road, so it was very interesting to hear different musicians add their ideas to them. The day was a total blast and we went into the studio the next day full of high hopes and expectations. And we surpassed them all. What did we do, you ask?

We have been playing “What Went Right” most of the summer. We really nailed it in the studio. We didn’t come up with a whole lot of new ideas for it, but this version is certainly the  definitive one. We cut another song we’ve been playing as one of our encores… “Thank You For Reminding Me.” I was worried about this one because it is very long and repetitive so we were in need of lots of ideas to make sure the track grows and keeps everyone interested right up till the tuba solo at the end. We got a great track that builds and builds and is everything I was hoping it would be when it grew up.

We did three more tracks but I’m not gonna tell you about them because every CD should have surprises. Let me just say that this record is shaping up to be, conservatively speaking, five million times better than Finally Home. (And I am very fond of Finally Home, believe me!)

I went in the next day after tracking to replay all of my acoustic guitar parts. I had to do that because, when Kenny is singing, I get so carried away listening to him that you can actually hear me whispering on the microphone, “what an attractive man;” and that always renders my acoustic track unusable, and just a little creepy.

We also tried to get some real vocals that day, but at that point we had been singing hard for about four days and were not soundings as fresh as we wanted to sound; so we put the vocals off for another day.

We have made plans. Georgia and I will be heading out to Kenny’s this month, so we can write the rest of the CD. Then it’s the holidays and a small Christmas tour. Then we record the new songs (see how confident I am that they will be worthy?)…. We add tubas… we sing them… we mix the whole deal… do a few more bells and whistles… we snap a picture for the anachronistic cover… we find a better title than “Painful Number Two”…. and the new CD  flies out the door to wind up in your hands.

When you say it like that it really sounds quite simple, doesn’t it?