Charles Brings his Guitar and Plays MineSeptember 13, 2006
Well, this week I'm inches closer to finishing up the new CD and there are some noteworthy changes, most importantly the title has changed. After thinking for a long time about the previous title, "Keep it Down" I decided that I'm entirely too comfortable with self-sabotage and self-deprecation. Twelve years ago when I made my first record and set up my publishing company, I called it "Great Unknown Music" and now after all this time, what do ya know, the music is still largely unknown --- go figure.
So thinking there maybe something to this whole trend, I'm opting to take a right turn for a change and call this new record: "Waiting for the Light to Change" --- not entirely forward motion, but certainly not in reverse anymore. So promoting this song to become the title track required giving a little more love and attention. I spent hours over the course of a couple of evenings last week slopping various gobs of crappy and tired guitar licks from my dusty Stratocaster slinging days on to the track. Nothing was working. I started to lose faith --- (not hard to imaging if you know me ;-)
Enter Charles. As always, the wonderfully talented and incredibly accommodating guitarist Charles Williams agreed to come over Sunday evening without hesitation --- except for the understandable complaints about the huge bump in my driveway. After some minimal chatter, he sat down and proceeded to play the fuck out of my crappy old Mexican Stratocaster --- I had no idea there was that much fuck in my guitar but he found all of it.
In typical Charles style he tossed off four or five totally different approaches to the song before zeroing in on the best choice. His vocabulary is world-class when it comes to playing in so many different styles. I know and recognize this talent because it comes from years of sitting in a small room teaching guitar lessons to everyone from eight year old girls who want to learn how to play songs from the "Sound of Music"; to middle-aged stock brokers on a mission to stumble through the entire Stevie Ray Vaughn catalog. I did my time in this gig years ago.
Charles single-handedly made the recording relevant again. "Waiting for the Light to Change" actually sounds title-track-worthy now. So that just leaves me with cleaning up the last little messes everywhere and then packing the session files off to Glenn Matullo for mixing. I have often compared this part of the recording process to the last part of a move. You know how it is after you've already moved all of the important stuff that you really care about and all that's left are lint tumbleweeds, coat hangers and boxes of stuff you never unpacked from the previous move. The truth is that I could continue to tweak little things for the next 10 years and totally destroy any chance of life these songs have, so I'm going to turn them loose soon.