Playground landed at 12:48 pm on my door step today. It came earlier than I had expected when I sealed the deal two weeks ago. 7 fairly heavy boxes holding ~1000 CD’s. I took the lightest one up stairs, packed the others off in the basement. It was so fine to open the carton and see rows of professional product in front of me. Especially one I am proud of.


Kevin Soffera did a great job, taking on this project as a brother, regardless of his time as a musician and studio producer. I found some seed money to pay him along the way, but certainly not what he deserved. This was Kevin’s first full album so he used me to learn about his new equipment, his new studio and develop his chops as a producer, so we both learned a lot together.


Kevin’s drumming is superlative on the CD, and is, of course, wonderfully recorded, but with some inventive percussion tossed in: kitchenware on All Around the Kitchen, jangly things on Giant, jump rope on Jump Rope, and spot on rock and funk drumming. It’s the stuff I hear when I listen to the CD.


Kevin also lined up some crack musicians for the sessions, and I’ll have more to say about Rob Stonebeck, Doug Hawk, Reid, Ansel, Kjell (!!!), Wendi and Robbi, and Joe Mixon. I wish I could have been there for the sessions.


Perhaps the best thing was working with Kevin on my vocal performances. We did some hard work on getting scratch tracks to set up the templates for the songs. Then, we went back and recorded the ‘keeper’ vocals. I had to step up my theatrical performances, and Kevin was there to say, “We can do it better.” And I knew it, as well. So we rolled until I sounded my folkie best. And when I listen to the CD, I did a great job in creating my ‘sonic’ personality, mixed it with the diverse material and made it work as performance. Yes, theater.


Kevin’s 9-year old daughter Jordan and my 20-something daughter Rosalie have some very nice moments on the CD, and it was an idea that came to me long, long ago in the preconceptions of the album. It came out to be more than I had anticipated. That’s art for you.


Quite the bond for both of us dads. Thanks, Kevin.


The Playground CD was an artist effort to connect my live performance abilities with the limitless studio possibilities, and its something I haven’t done in too long. I’m good at both. And it’s nice to be back, and be judged on both planes.


…to be continued…