2017 was a year for change. It was my first year without the business I built and ran for 5 years; a year of letting go of some things, and saying "yes" to scary and new opportunities; a year of pushing my limits in recording, writing, and producing; and a year full of new musical friendships to last a lifetime.
Here is a brief look at some of my favorite projects from the year.
Smoke Perkins & The Bad Winter Cough (April 2017)
Beyond my musical highlights of 2017, the recording session of the Smoke Perkins & The Bad Winter Cough album stands firmly atop the list of all-time favorite recording sessions. After months of rehearsing, we camped out at Pacific Studios and played complete, live takes, tracked to tape. No overdubs, lots of bleed, limited tape, and a constant presence of stage lights and giant cameras created the perfect amount of intimidation. Playing music as a complete team with your favorite musicians, closest friends, and responsible amounts of gin and tequila created the perfect amount of party. And within that combination, there it happened: recording our most authentic musical moments until the early morning, we made an album.
Watch out for the album release later this year.
Abbey Road Studios (June 2017)
When we're kids, our dreams are big. Recording at Abbey Road was one of the those big dreams of mine, but as I got older, that dream got a little smaller and more attainable. To simply visit Abbey Road became a bullet point on my bucket list by the time I was a teenager.
Needless to say, "excited" doesn't begin to describe the feeling when I got the opportunity to co-write & produce an album at Abbey Road. It was a musical and personal landmark that I previously thought to be unreachable - and a blunt reminder not to write off your dreams so quickly.
With a tight schedule, tenacious artist, wonderful engineer (shout out to Matt Mysko), and complete team effort, we made an album to be proud of. Look out for Grey's solo debut later this year to hear the fruits of our labor.
Jordani + The Sun Kings + The West Coast (August 2017)
To travel with friends, play music together, be welcomed and received by new faces and places, and soak in some California sunshine is quite the treat - especially when it's all considered work. It started with a non-stop solo drive from Seattle to Hollywood (which was its own adventure in and of itself). We played LA and San Diego, and the boys flew back home while I got to keep soaking in the sun for a couple more weeks and join Ethan Tucker for more music-making.
After a few thousand miles, I slowly made my way back up the coast. The sun was soaked. The music was played. And I had original, salty, beachy waves in my hair for weeks. Trust me when I say, it was a wonderful August.
Black Winter Hymnal w/ Stephanie Anne Johnson & Birds (November 2017)
I admit, I've essentially lived in an incredible recording studio for most of my professional music career. While it served as the perfect incubator for me to develop as a writer, engineer, and producer, I left the nest in the summer, and ventured into uncharted territory. One of these mystery lands was accepting the challenge to record a full-length album in a living room in one day. Without the comfort of the studio and my familiar equipment, I put my Rhythm Nation hat on, and got to work. Fortunately for me, the talent made my job easy, and the amazing Stephanie Anne Johnson, Michelle O'Connor, and Angela Rickard sang like birds to create the Black Winter Hymnal album.
Those things I initially missed from the studio were quickly forgotten with all the goose bump moments these ladies created. My only job as producer was to create the space for their performances to shine in a recording just as they do live.
If you have the chance to check out Birds live, GO. And bring a sweater. Cause those goosebumps are REAL.
Cheers to all the projects and people I got to work with this last year. I'm excited to do it all again, and then some.