The rain came down so fast that the gutters exploded, unable to cope with the amount of water pouring from the sky. We stood by the open studio door marvelling at the deluge, the drama of torrential rain, flooding the pathways and drenching the lawn and the cacti. It’s Texas so it won’t be wet for long, the heat will roll back in, although today it was slower in returning, a welcome respite from the dense heat. We retreated inside to the air conditioning and the music, different to where we live in Portugal, no heating, no AC but a climate of fewer extremes, thankfully generally warmer than where we grew up in Northern Europe and for me thankfully cooler than living in Australia.
Inside we continued working on the mystery album, I tuned up the Seagull 12-string and broke the octave G doing so. I had it tuned down for the flight and it didn’t like it, rebelling by breaking a string. I played engineer Kevin’s Epiphone El Capitan acoustic bass, a great big chunky instrument that oddly needed a light touch to get the best out of it. The previous day I’d been playing his Gibson Eb 2 sixties bass which was remarkably heavy for a semi-acoustic instrument. We’ve been mic-ing them up rather than amping them or using a direct line. It gives a unique stand but you have to keep quite still and no loud breathing.
Our friend and local music nerd Paul Averitt came in with his voice and did some great high melodic harmonies as well as some raunchy ones. John Dufilho played some soft drums and tambourine and tag-teamed with Kevin in the engineering chair, Sarah jumped in if either were indisposed. Salim contributed ideas and Olivia wondered about the violin parts that were needed. We will have Tess in again next week with her cello, teaming up with Olivia in the string section. Otherwise, the rest of the day was listening to recorded songs and making notes about what they needed. We will continue with this for a day and a half next week but tomorrow we fly to Minneapolis where I will be playing electric guitar on Fred’s project.
Music today has been Ozzy Osbourne’s cartoon metal and the album Patient Number 9, featuring Jeff Beck on the title track, I still can’t believe he died so suddenly. But whilst we are on the subject of musical losses (the ones I haven’t mentioned), the great Ian Bairnson left us too. He played that memorable riff on Pilot’s January and was on Top Of The Pops with his double-neck Gibson SG. He also played on the early Kate Bush albums and with the Alan Parsons Project. Gordon Lightfoot has also gone with his 12-string acoustic, his evocative voice, and meaningful songs. But the list goes on in guitarist land, Mudcrutch’s Tom Leadon, Skynyrd’s Gary Rossington, Yardbirds‘ Top Topham, and last but not least the nicest man, David Lindley who played on Starfish. RIP.