"Solstice Carol," my first "digital-only" release, goes live this Friday, December 4th. We're very excited about this single, and very grateful to our new friends at The ConneXtion, who've made the process so smooth. Well, from their end at least...see, there's this thing about recording - a temptation to try to make things...perfect.
Now as a listener, I really don't care about perfection in a recording. Many of my favorite recordings are "live," from the warts-and-all, like "Live at Leeds," to efforts with a little studio polishing, like "Waiting for Columbus." I could go on about this for days (just deleted a meandering paragraph...), but it's undeniable that there's often an important. gut-punch difference between a performance that's "of a piece" and one that's pieced together. As one making a recording, however, there are also the little voices we all hear, worrying about how a performance will be received - and it becomes a balancing act. So (and I'm hardly alone in this), in spite of the tools available to assemble a recording note by carefully crafted note, I try to use complete takes of at least the foundational parts of a song (like the main acoustic guitar and lead vocal) whenever I can, listening for those things that might be hard to explain, but are quite obvious when they're missing!
Then there's the business of time. Of which there's only so much, whether working in a studio, or at home with one's own gear (with its own limitations...). There are other jobs to do, other people who live in the house, and the simple fact that at some point, wherever you're working, you have to declare the thing "done." Go on, get a take that feels right, move on, get a mix that works, move on, get it out and get on to the next thing...which means it's not going to be...perfect.
And it isn't. And there will be those only too happy to dissect every blemish, but I promise you this - it's a recording that will let you hear the song and what it has to say. And that, not "perfection" is the point, isn't it?
I had the privilege, long ago, of studying with an amazing teacher named Herald Stark. Among the things he said, often, were "tell the story!," and "I don't know what perfection is." If you can hold those ideas together, you might have a chance to make some real music. (Joe Walsh and Dave Grohl have had some pretty good things to say on the subject, too...).
So, Friday morning "Solstice Carol" is officially out of my hands and into yours. I hope you find it a worthy gift.