Hire the right people

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We had a recording session last week; it was going to  be the last one we would have in our studio space since we are moving out of it and I wanted it to be something special.

I had written this new song “Angelia” and was pretty jazzed on how it was sounding.  Brandon had laid down a great drum part and we’d worked out the patterns and it was smoking but it needed a guitar part, a guitar part that I couldn’t do.

Now I do lots of guitar playing and sessions on lots of different instruments and I know the areas that I mine pretty well.  I can solo half decently but my strength is in the overall sound, creating sonic soundscapes and writing.  This song needed something more roadhouse, it needed to be played on a Stratocaster and it needed to burn – I knew the guy to call.

Travis King is a dude that I love.  Sometimes when he plays you hear a bit of Jerry Garcia or James Burton or a bit of Neil Young but it’s always Travis.  He stands about 5’6″ but plays like a giant.

I told him about the song and he was pretty stoked to come in and lay it down.

“What do you want me to do?” He asked.

“I want you to play like you.”

“I can do that.”

When you hire the right person for the job, and just let them do their thing, it’s going to be right. If I tried to make him play like me we would’ve been there all day.  Instead we had a great vibe, he blasted through a handful of takes, each one better than the last and we had fun and made great music together.  I put a Stratocaster in his hands and he played through the 4 watt Vox AC4 and it was amazing.   Great players always sound like themselves through any gear.

On the last Riddle & The Stars album we had a song that needed a guitar solo and everything I threw at it I hated; I thought about who I knew that would be perfect for it and Tom Bremer jumped into my head.  I had played some pedal steel but the solo needed something more. I had a three note descending line that I kind of liked but wasn’t all that attached to it but Tom heard it and thought it was a great jumping off point and he even came up with a second part in harmony with his first part and in less than an hour we had a stellar guitar part on “When We Ride”.  

Again he asked what I wanted and I told him “Play like you.”

The last Fallen Stars album had a song called “Sally Starr” that had a 70’s rock vibe to it, I heard Faces and old Stones so I called Danny Ott.  I don’t think we even discussed what to do on it, he heard it, played through it twice and it was done.

Hire the right people and your job is 90% done.