Travel Notes from the One-Armed Paperhangers

Seven days ago today, my sangria-stained corporal cataclysm was interrupted with an email from our recording engineer, Rob Pemberton: "Lets check schedules, and get some dates booked. I just found out my schedule is going to get really crazy in three weeks. Mixing will take a week."

Translation: You have two weeks to finish your CD.

In other circumstances, not too bad a thing, except that we still had family in town and I just wanted to spend my sister's last day in town on the beach. We were looking straight into a week that already had four gigs, an airport run, the last week of swimming lessons, a fortieth birthday, and a forty-first birthday on the cards. Just the kind of week that explains why it's taken so long to do the CD in the first place.

Unlike the Rolling Stones, we don't have a steaming hot basement in France to exile to when we want to get creative; we are not rock stars, and so, have to somehow dangle the creative process loosely around very uncreative activities like working our day jobs, swimming at Nana's, doing the dishes, watering the brown grass, rescuing the droopy hydrangea, and grocery shopping. Like most working artists, we have to make the creativity happen, right there, smack dab in the middle of life. No matter how friendly you feel, don't wave to a one-armed paper hanger while he's hanging from the rafters.

What was left on the CD was all the vocals—both Steve's melody and my harmony—and as it turns out, a few re-dos of my parts that didn't sound so good.

It's seven days later, and let me recap because I think I'm proud that I survived.

On Tuesday, after a 6 am bike ride, we spent Plymouth's hottest day on record in the studio. Wednesday, we brought my awesome sis to the airport. On Thursday, we did a half hour set in a rock club in Boston. (Yes, that is correct.) On Friday, we spent another full day in the studio, then did a peaceful little concert beside Sandwich's shimmering Shawme Pond. On Saturday, I did another long ride (see that lovely photo? I love the morning!) then played a family reunion in Manomet for one of the most fun Irish families we've ever had the pleasure to play for--they were up set dancing at the first jig! On Sunday, last night, we celebrated a dear friend's 40th, then headed down to Woods Hole to help celebrate the release of Stanley & Grimm's third CD, Open the Gate. Rob Pemberton recorded their CD, also at Sounds Interesting Studios. Great CD, folks, and a great show!

Where's Soul Fry in all this? Right there with us for some of it, and right next door with her best buddy for the rest of it. She's fine. In fact, she's probably the only one that's fine.

As for us: Well, Soul Papa (née Steve) has done some amazing vocals on our songs. We have only one song left to sing, then I re-do sax and flute on two songs, and a little bit of harmony vocals. All tomorrow, we hope. Then, my friends, we are done recording. It will take Rob about a week to mix it all, then we send it off to get mastered, to get all the tracks at the same relative volume and feel. In the meantime, we'll be acquiring copyright licenses, writing copy and assembling images for the CD cover, and Design Diva Megan Harding will be designing it. We're excited because she's got some VERY good ideas.

Finally, the CD master and the design files get sent to be duplicated at DiskMakers and hopefully ready for our Aug. 24 gig at Church of the Pilgrimage in Plymouth, 8:00.

If it takes a while for us to return your call in the next three weeks, that's why.

Today, we rest, then eat a lot of breakfast meat from Ireland, for dinner. Then cake.

Happy Birthday to Soul Papa! We love you.