Friday, July 29, 2011

Track 3: open air #5

I started this song with the incredible Javier Santiago, drummer for the Annie Moses Band.  We spent a day laying down all his percussion for the album, and this song was just an idea at the time.  Javi played the very versatile Cajon (the Box) along with a high hat.  The Cajon has a bass sound like a kick drum or djembe, and a snare sound on the front, plus a variety of tones on the front, top and sides.  The player sits on top of it while playing.  I laid down a scratch guitar part, and we did a few different versions of the drum part, so I could have some options later when I finished the song.  Jeff Cox finished off the track with a killer bass line.

The #5 in this song title comes from the Batson No. 5 that I used to record.  I've been friends with Grant and Cory, the brothers behind Batson Guitars, for awhile now, and they asked me, along with some other Nashville guitarists, to take their new model out for a spin.

I'm a big fan of Batson Guitars.  They have a unique construction that really enhances their tone and sustain.  Because the sound hole is located on the top side, the front face of the guitar is able to resonate more efficiently.  The No. 5 is a somewhat stripped down model, more for the working musician than the collector, with simpler fret markers and binding, a no-frills work-horse kind of guitar.  It still plays and sounds amazing, though.  I was excited to get to play with it.  I kinda felt like I was test-driving a superbike through the Colorado San Juan Skyway, banking turns, dropping down hills, twisting through the mountain curves.

I recorded the rhythm tracks at Scarborough Fare, Trace Scarborough's home studio, then finished the leads at my place.  I ended up playing from the highest fret down to drop D, tuned to DADGAD.  The No. 5 did not let me down.

"This thing sustains so long, it's a problem," I told Trace after holding out an end note for what seemed like two minutes.

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