Hello, traveling companions! Cureado returning once again to tell more of my Crealitation success story. This week I’ll be covering the third segment of my four part series: completing songs at Old Soul Studios. The final recordings marked another milestone in my nearly four year practice of Cassidy A. Maze’s program for creating your own reality, known as Crealitation. The results have been undeniable.
I concluded my last blog entry explaining how I had been staying at the Art Farm prior to traveling to the studio. Among other attributes, the Art Farm gets my head into a creative space like nowhere else I have been. I was there for three nights. After working one last morning with Maze where her horse, Freedom, was stabled, she shared some words of advice from her vast recording experience, and I hit the road for Catskill, NY and the studio where I had started 7 songs just a few months earlier.
Studio owner Kenny Siegal is producing my songs. For the two weeks proceeding my arrival, we were in regular contact via text, email and phone. We discussed ideas and recommendations for musical arrangements and other details of our upcoming sessions. Among those suggestions was bringing Jay Collins in to play on two of my songs. Jay is a highly sought after touring musician who has played with a long list of industry legends. Lending his talent to my projects brought an immediate smile to my face as he laid down baritone and tenor sax parts on my song, One. He also added flute and sax to my song Peace, and both songs suddenly bloomed beyond what they had been.
We wound up the first day's session with Jerry Cronin recording numerous cello tracks for my songs High Tide and 13.8 Billion Years. I had met Jerry in July during the rehearsal and performance of Maze’s Crealitation, the Musical. She is including my song To Be Here in the production, and kindly invited me to perform while there. Jerry played cello on the song and fascinated me with his ability to immediately add beauty and texture to a song he had not heard before. His work at Old Soul that night continued to amaze me.
Much of the second day featured Connor Kennedy laying down outstanding lead vocals on all five songs. Connor had played lead guitar on my songs during my previous trip to Old Soul Studios, and working with him again was a joy. I had to smile when I stoked the wood burning stove that morning, and made what I thought to be obscure reference to a David Bowie song about evolution by saying, "put another log on the fire for me". My spine lit up when Connor sang the next line. I couldn't help but wonder how he so quickly recognized this song written over 45 years ago; a song I had performed during gigs back when I was in high school. He is a unique and gifted man, and this moment forged a very deep connection for me. Back to recording, however, his voice was excellent on each selection, but in particular, he took High Tide, a song featuring mesmerizing harmony vocals by Lady Moon, to new heights.
That night pedal steel player Rob Stein arrived to work on a couple songs. His masterful contribution to High Tide added to the sensation of the ocean ebbing and flowing. Rob also played on 13.8 Billion Years, creating a vibe that caught me off guard, shattering the limited views I had of how pedal steel guitar might sound on this song, and adopting a new appreciation of the instrument when played by a master.
The following day was a blast. Along with Connor’s return, Lee Falco and Will Bryant arrived to help put finishing touches on the basic tracks they, along with Brandon Morrison and myself, had recorded a few months back. Being around such talented, high energy, intelligent and funny people turns work into play. My job at this point was easy -- a little singing, but mostly listening to make sure what was being performed was consistent with what I envisioned for the song. I offered guidance here or there, but these guys are world class talents and continually exceeded my high expectations. Connor added harmony vocals and keyboards, and further impressed me with his non-stop vision of what studio techniques may help take songs to a new level.
This was the first time I had heard Lee sing, and I was overjoyed that he was bringing yet another of his gifts to my project. Along with his powerful vocals – ranging from passionate to ecstatic -- he added additional percussion too, including brushes on High Tide that emulated a feel beyond their actual sound -- perfect for the song. We would later discuss a video vision that Lee had shared with me during our earlier sessions for the song Peace. His creativity is unending.
Will Bryant was his usual amazing self, adding his impeccable voice and his keyboard expertise to the songs along with the calm confidence he naturally exudes. His organ solo on 13.8 Billion Years puts a smile on my face each time I hear it, but his true genius to me is in the unending subtleties laced throughout every song, breathing expanded life into them that affects the senses far beyond just hearing. My favorite "Will" moment, however, was when he grabbed a banjo and played an impromptu version of “Mr. Sandman” that made me feel I was catching a glimpse into another era.
Before the final mixing process began the next day, Maze showed up to add vocals to my song On This Journey, but her presence there was so much more. Much like my last trip to Old Soul Studios, she took the time to ensure my journey was living up to expectations, and, of course, offering her help however I may need it. The support she provided me was amazing. Her belief in me never fails to inspire.
Kenny hired Danny Blumenfeld, a Grammy winning producer, to mix the songs knowing fresh ears would be vital. It was great watching Danny work, answering any questions he had, and offering my own thoughts on how I envisioned songs sounding. In the end, like everyone with whom I was so fortunate to be affiliated during these sessions, he worked his magic well.
During the five 10-hour-plus recording sessions, I was treated as a guest at Old Soul Studios. Kenny’s hospitality was extraordinary, and his skill, creativity, musical talent and technical brilliance impressed me more with each day. He brought incredible versions of each of my songs to the surface, and gave me plenty of glimpses into the human experience behind running this great recording studio, as we continuing building a working relationship and friendship. I am very grateful to him.
While staying at Kenny’s, I had my travel Crealitation station set up in my room. Each morning taking deep breaths of gratitude for how my dream was unfolding; visualizing the day to come, and relaxing into the acceptance of how the days would unfold.
This has been an extraordinary journey so far. All the work, the musicians, Kenny and Danny, and my completing best versions of my songs, all of this came about because Maze so kindly invited me to participate in Crealitation. Her work and guidance are present in every step of this process, whether or not she is not mentioned. The simple path of “love Now”, which may not always seem so simple at the time, has revealed that the life I want is attainable. Creating the “Happy Story”, as Maze would say, is realistic.
I am finishing up a year of living the dream, and considering carefully my steps for next year as my dream grows and grows. What can I say? Crealitation works, my friends. I encourage you to participate if you are not already doing so.
That’s all for now. The last segment of this year-end story will be published next week, reviewing my trip back to South Dakota through snow and ice, my Thanksgiving, and being back in a home seemingly constructed of brick and mortar, but actually made of lots of loving hearts. Until then, traveling companions, love Now.