Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead…
The choices in the business at hand are always considered either that of wisdom or folly. I’ve immersed myself fairly deep in my latest venture… and we’ll see if it turns out wise.
Recording as a Tribute Artist is always a topic of hot debate. Even to myself, it seems folly unless we can do something meaningful with these songs. Simply reproducing precisely what is done by the original artist seems dumb. Just doing a sloppy job of it, also pointless… as in both cases, why wouldn’t a person just try to find an album by the original artist? I’d love to be able to elevate an old song to some new relevance without disrespecting the original arrangement. Having someone tell me I achieved THAT would be the ultimate motivator to do more. These are the instructions to the Mixing and Mastering Engineer. A tall order when the 1977 Rumours album, the 8th best selling album of all time (Over 40 million copies sold) took a year to produce and probably a million dollars in studio time.
Most of the vocals are “in the can” and we only have a few more bits of saxophone, mandolin, violins and other strings, and pedal steel guitar to add to the tracks. I didn’t write a single one of these songs… but I still feel like it’s a work of art that I’ve been able to have a hand in. I’ve tasted working in a big well equipped studio with absolute A-List musicians…. and it’s a really really wonderful flavor.
As Christmas 2012 approaches and I think about the wisdom of my choices, I try to think philosophically about these things. From an article I read recently, “A wise person sees both sides of a matter. The fool sees only one. The origin of the word “wizard” is wise-ard. It means wise man. Nothing more.
The wise-ards of the Christmas Story followed a star, had an adventure, made a discovery and leaped onto the pages of history. What did they talk about along the way? Who did the cooking? What pressing issues did they leave unattended back home? Did they do anything really big with the rest of their lives? Where, when, and how did each of them pass?
We know only that they followed a star everyone else was content to ignore… that they were nonconformists with strange beliefs who had the courage of their convictions. They took action. They left home and found the thing they sought.”
This is what gets me out of bed in the morning. How about you? Will you run with the big dogs or sit on the porch and bark at the postman? Talk is cheap, the buzzing of flies. What are we trying to accomplish? How will we measure progress-to-goal? Do I know what needs to happen next? Which star do you follow?
An encounter with the wise man in the woods is part of every hero’s journey. Athena was the wise man in the woods for Odysseus. When Obi-Wan was gone, Luke went to Dagobah and Yoda became his wise man. Mr. Miyagi was wise-ard for the Karate Kid. Morpheus for Neo. Galadriel for Frodo.
When you’re in the darkness of the forest – the belly of the whale – look around for the wise-ard who will help you complete your journey. The wise man in the woods exists only to assist the hero on his or her adventure. I’d love to be that hero….
“As I bow at the waist and back slowly off the page, I pass along these carefully crafted words from heroes who carved their names deeply in the tree of life.”
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!'”
– Hunter S. Thompson
“If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough.”
– Wes Jackson
Julie C Myers