On our way back from Phoenix this spring, we stopped in Fort Worth, TX for a short visit with our RV friends, Brad and Sharon Bradley. It was great to see them, and share a couple of meals and recalling some of our time on the road together. They're from Texas, Y'all, so they always find a good barbecue place.
After Texas, it was on to Kirksville, MO to see another friend, Joyce Groom. Joyce is a talented songwriter who has been gracious enough to let us use some of her songs on our last two CDs. But this was more than a social call. Joyce shared with us last summer that making a CD of her performing her songs had long been an item on her bucket list. So, Kathy and I came up with a plan to make that happen. We met with Joyce on our way to Phoenix in October and discussed what she wanted to do. Over the next few weeks, she sent us mp3 files of her playing and singing her songs. After some discussion we narrowed it down to 12 songs, and decided on the style and arrangement for each one. During the month of November, Kathy and I developed all of the music for her project and sent it to her.
Joyce is also a snowbird, but where she goes each winter, she is referred to as a "Winter Texan." Anyway, the plan was for her to rehearse with the songs we sent her. Some songs had completely different styles--Joyce writes pretty much everything as a country song. Many of the songs also had different beats, different timing, and different arrangements. Joyce rehearsed with these "new to her" songs during the winter, and got ready to record them when we arrived in the spring.
On Monday morning, April 9th, we left El Dorado, Kansas, ready for the 350 mile trip to Joyce's. Arriving safely, and without incident--PTL--we got to Eagle Lodge RV Park in Kirksville, MO. After setting up the RV, we went to see Joyce, who had prepared lasagna for us. (We both had seconds!) Later, we got set up to record. Some of the things we brought along were our music computer, headphones, speakers, microphones, and a make-shift portable recording booth. Our "control room" was a card table Joyce brought in from her garage. That's where we placed all the electronic stuff. Meanwhile, Joyce prepared to sing along to our soundtracks surrounded by sound-dampening blankets. The blankets were supported by mic stands and 1.25 inch PVC pipes, all safey-pinned together. It was dark enough inside the booth that we had to get a light in there for Joyce to see her lyrics. After setting up the control room, and recording
booth, we tested all the gear to make sure it was functioning properly, and the volume levels were set correctly.
Finally, after a pretty long day, we returned to our RV for the evening, anxious to get started the following morning. The next three days were spent recording Joyce singing the 12 songs she had been practicing during the winter months. Before we left, Kathy and I made sure we had enough good takes to bring back to Wisconsin for editing and mixing. Kathy was instrumental in coaching Joyce through the process. We also got to meet Joyce's granddaughter, Ainsley, who sang on one of her songs. It was really good to spend time with Joyce, another one of our RV friends who we have grown so close to over the years and miles.
We've included a sneak preview of a song from Joyce's not-yet-released CD, "I Will Carry You." The song is entitled "There's Some Things You Never Forget." It's a fun country song in which she recalls special memories from her past. As with many of the songs we put on our blog, this song is in the mixing stage. We're about a week away from having the final mixes completed for all twelve of the songs in this project.