Kevin and I had some unfinished bitness today, with some guitar and vocals for Smokin’ Babies and some mandolin on The Crawl. We set out on recording stereo guitar for Babies, worked through the snarls and snares fairly easily (it is one of my favorite tunes to play on acoustic) and we turned to work on some mandolin. As Kevin was listening to the guitar tracks, I picked up my mandolin and noodled along with the song and found it pleasing to the ear. I suggested we try adding some mando to this track and so we did. I hadn’t played any mando on this tune til now, and it brought some real freshness to the tune. The first take provide some of the best material. No surprise.

As we worked it out, Kevin and I figured out that mando chops worked well on the choruses but a simple melody improv during the verses really stood out, so we did several takes on the song, some with good results and, when I was thinking too much, some staleness. We managed to gather some very nice music that we can cobble together for the song. It was a leap that we both took and it will add some sparkle to the song as we go along. That’s the creative spirit at work! Taking a leap is good!

Since we were working on my mando, we cued up The Crawl for some rhythm chops for the tune, and, after some mental lapses on my part, we were able to add some good folkie sound to the song, as well as coming close to a fairly strong ending.  I really enjoy the process itself: self-correcting, challenging myself to play it well, with feeling, and simply being in the moment, listening to the drums, vocals and bass in my headphones. The song continues to grow as we go along. We’ll add some barroom vocals with friends and their spirit, along with a tin-whistle, to make it kick.

We finished up with my final vocals for Smokin’ Babies, and, though it is relatively short, I have to be able to express some humor, irony and fun in order to be able to ‘sell’ the song, so that folks are clued in with the somewhat sarcastic slant of the song. Kevin’s new mike is able to capture some incredible resonance of my lower voice, and that’s a vital part of the song. We listened to a rough mix of the new vocals, guitar and mandolin parts, and, again, the song becomes something new and wonderful. That’s what I love about being in the studio, creating something that is more than its parts.

Soon, we’ll figure out where the songs grow from here: vocals, leads and other ear candy. I love it!