It is 1:30 a.m. and I need a break from mixing songs. I just spent a half hour in my car over at the lake. Why? Because it has a nice Bose sound system (the car, not the lake), and I wanted to hear a burn of the whole CD to check for problems. Did I find problems? YES. It is kind of an eye-opening... or maybe ear-opening experience. So I have a list of things to work on for every song. But I need a short break, so I am going to throw two random thoughts out there.
Next random thought: I have some favorite moments on this new CD. Not just songs... yes, I have favorite songs too. But there are some “moments” that are pretty much amazing. There is one in the duet that Rachel and Kevin sing called “What Would You Say” where they are singing in full voice, and Rachel’s vocals carry out and Kevin does this kind of “flip” on the end of his, that just gets me. Another one was a surprise that happened just yesterday. “Santa’s Really There” is a song I have been dreading because I wasn’t sure what I could possibly do to give it the cool jazzy sound it needed. And then yesterday a Marine named Charlie Arbalaez showed up on my doorstep with his saxophone. He gave this song so much attitude. When I am listening to it I almost feel like I can play sax, or like I AM playing it. And there are two or three “moments” in that song where no matter how tired or down I am feeling (and believe me there have been plenty of both this weekend!) I find myself smiling... almost laughing, because it is so fun, what Charlie did with it. Away in a Manger... this one has two “moments.” The first one is the vocals on a key change. It makes me smile every time I hear it (I decline to mention why at this moment), and the second is right after the key change, where the song almost starts sounding like Riverdance, thanks to some awesome post-production by Kevin Anthony.
The last “moment” that comes to mind right now is in the song “That’s My King.” This one got a rescue from the Marines as well. Bob Siletzky (I think Sergeant Bob Siletzky) from the San Diego Marine Band lent his trumpet skills to this one. I am kind of proud of the arranging I did on this one, with the trumpets. Garry knew since the middle of summer that he wanted horns for it, and so I have been coming up with this arrangement in my head, and to hear it with real trumpet... wow. But the moment. Okay, so the moment comes right before the last chorus. Garry sings from the point of view of a man in Bethlehem the night the Savior is born, and he spends that night searching for the baby, but without ever finding him. Right before the last chorus, the music builds as he sings, “Though I didn’t get to see the babe, or hold him in my arms, I can marvel at the gift he freely gives...” and for me that may be the best moment of the whole CD. There are times when I am listening to a live music performance and when the sound is so big that it just seems to live in me, rather than being something at a distance, then I feel this swell of emotion. That is what happens every time I get to that moment in the song. And believe me when I tell you I have listened to this song probably sixty times just this weekend alone... and it still works, every single time. Or maybe I just got hit in the head by a rock. Oh, yeah.
Well, it is now 1:47. Fifteen minutes’ break, over. Time to finish this thing. I know this sounds crazy but I have to make all the changes I wrote down, burn another CD and then go sit in my car and listen again. Edit, burn, listen, repeat.... and repeat. I am so tired, but we are going to make our deadline tomorrow! That means you will have CDs to buy a week before Thanksgiving! And I think I can safely say that it is going to be good enough that you might have a few “moments” of your own when you listen. Thanks everyone, for being so supportive as we have attempted to do this crazy task of writing, recording and producing a CD this year, and the crazier stunt of putting on concerts as well. It has been a wild ride.