September 28, 2014 | Nick Payne
At the end of March I announced I was recording a solo album this year - so where the hell is it?
Richard Galluzzi playing clawhammer banjo on the recording of Never Had A Sweetheart - Photo courtesy Jolyon Gray (our dobro/mandolin player)
The traditional model of releasing an album has always been write it, record it, mix it, master it, release it. In the past the first time fans heard of a new album was when a single was released to radio and then shortly after that the whole album would be available for sale. The internet has created opportunities to change that model and do things differently.
It would be dishonest of me to pretend this album is taking longer than I hoped for. The challenge of co-ordinating different people to be in the same room at the same time, co-writing songs with folks in different parts of the country, holding down a day job and looking after a family causes things to stretch out and take a long time. There's been progress, but not as much as I'd like.
On the positive side we have tracked two songs with the band that sound great - Never Had A Sweetheart and Old Sydney Town. Next weekend I'll record some backup vocals on those songs with Katie Jane from Golden Whistler and Lyn. The following weekend the band is recording Rising River and I have three traditional Irish musos who are going to help out with A Shipwrecked's Lament - once we find a time everyone is available. After that I'll track Peace Tonight with just me on guitar and Carlyn Chen on fiddle and then I've got one more song to go complete Side B of the album. That last song may be an instrumental Lyn and I wrote a few years ago called Hometown.
Of the songs that will go on Side A, four are written and ready to record, one I've started writing with Karl Broadie and the last one Lachlan Bryan has agreed to co-write with me.
Given things are taking longer than I'd like, how could I leverage the speed of the internet to find alternative ways to bring this album into the world? How does this sound?
As soon as the overdubs on Old Sydney Town are done I will get it mixed and mastered by Glenn Santry at Heartbeat Studios and make it available as a free download from the Dear Orphans website. I will also release this to radio.
As soon as the remaining tracks for Side B are recorded I will mix and master them and release them as an EP that you can download for free from the Dear Orphans website. I will release this before Christmas.
Early in the new year I will record Side A of the album. I will record White Line Fever first, mix it and make it available as free download. I will release this to radio.
Once the rest of Side A is recorded and mixed I will release this as a second EP available as a free download.
I will then manufacture the complete album (Sides A and B) on CD (maybe vinyl too if there's interest?). The physical album will be available for purchase and I will formally promote the album for the rest of the year.
There's a time to focus on getting something finished fast and there's other times where you want to slow down and do something properly. Whilst things could have moved faster I don't apologise for making decisions on some things in the interest of quality. Stuff liking hanging out for the right musicians, insisting on tracking live with everyone in the same room, as well as angsting over the songwriting process and re-working songs until they're right.
I've certainly learned some stuff along the way about getting stuff done and I've also had focus, lost focus and regained it. I'm pleased I chose to record songs as they were ready rather than saving them up and doing them all at once. I'm also pleased that the internet provides new ways to distribute music at no cost so that I can make music available as soon as it's created.
Right now I need to get back to making calls to organise the next recording session.
Rain is the first track we ever recorded.
This track appeared on a compilation called Home Grown Roots 3 and hasn't been released elsewhere since.
Playing on this track was Lyn Taylor on guitar and vocals, me on guitar, backup vocals and tambourine foot stomping, Mike Kirkley on dobro, Richard Galluzzi on clawhammer banjo and Lindsay Mar on double bass. It was recorded by Russell Pilling at Damien Gerard Studios.
Given you can't get this track elsewhere, I'm pleased to be giving it away as a free download. Just click the download button and enjoy!