LINER NOTES, LYRICS AND CREDITS
I asked Chelsea to check out a tune I wrote on the first classical guitar I've had since I was a kid. Within five minutes she wrote the first verse and melody. No lie, I have witnesses, and not just my imaginary friends.
Would that the rest of song finished itself that quickly.
I've always wanted to work with John Kurzweg. My friend John went from being "the guy" in Tallahassee to becoming a multiplatinum producer, seen on VH1, interviewed by the NY Times, etc. So when he agreed to mix this song for us, I almost had an aneurysm. With no rough mix and little input, he got the first draft 98% right.
For the string section, I asked Leah Calvert (Dappled Grays) if she could find a stellar cello player, and that she did. Cello is Matt Jarrard of Oryx and Crake, who received multiple "best of" ratings for their self-titled 2010 album. The Atlanta newspaper said Matt's cello "is one of the band's defining characteristics." No more synth strings for me!
The bass part is on the most fantastic instrument - a 5-string fretless Pedulla, on loan from one of the ATL's musical patrons, a modern Medici. Thank you, sir.
Mid-project, I was advised to acoustically treat the walls at Studio594. Research led me to Lowell Opry House in Carrolton GA, where George Britt set me up with 1979 cubicle panels from a John Deere HQ. I rented a sheetrock lift and put those bad boys up.
Not saying it didn't go well, but my son was marred for life by heretofore unused combinations of words he ain't supposed to know. But hey, the room sounds fantastic now.
When you only have a general idea of what the percussion should sound like, here's a tip: get a world class drummer. Grammy-nominated Sean O'Rourke (SugarLand, Mother's Finest, Derek Trucks...) did us up mighty fine.
I met some resistance at first on the guitar solo - too much for this sweet song! "Remain calm, this will work." Part of it is a Les Paul going through what's called a Rat, into a Boogie. The Rat is this heinous black stomp box that, unless you're careful, produces some heinous sounds. Hence the name.
I bought the Rat in 1988 from a bloke named Peter Stroud at Atlanta Discount Music. Bumped into him at a show last year - "Hey are you Peter? You sold me a Rat in the 80's." He said "Yeah. That's funny, I was thinking about my Rat just the other day." True story. Peter is currently playing guitar for Sarah McLachlan, after playing with Sheryl Crow for over a decade. Super nice guy, but dude, stop snarfing up all the dream gigs.
What a privilege all this has been. Thanks for listening...
- John Kurzweg
from Betcha Didn't Know
track released January 14, 2011
Vocals and Lyrics: Chelsea Kendrick
Composition, Guitars, Fretless Bass, Piano: Mike McLeod
Violin: Leah Calvert
Cello: Matt Jarrard
Drums: Sean O’Rourke
Mixing: John Kurzweg