Making records.

The creative process can be daunting. One of the most difficult parts is in the decisions, or indecision. I experience this on a regular basis as a songwriter; the instinct to self-edit can be so strong that it blocks creativity completely. You can spend hours circling around an idea, but until you make the decision to commit to it and run with it, the idea remains as it is...just an idea.

This year I have worked on a few projects in the role of engineer/producer. In this role, I've seen the creative process from a different angle. It's been great. One of the most satisfying experiences was with Fred Van Vactor.

Fred has a ton of great songs but until recently he didn't have a record. He tried but could never manage to see a project to completion. This summer, he and I spent a couple of days working on demos of his new tunes. It was extremely fun and he felt a huge surge of inspiration. I did what I could to record the demos well, but it seemed like part of my job was to help him get the ball rolling in a bigger way. He was on the verge of making the decision to start a real album project, he just needed a bit of a push. After making the demos he went to San Diego and knocked out a record with Christopher Hoffee...I've only heard a few of the tunes, but it sounds fantastic and suits him perfectly. And, I think one of our demos made it on the record! Listen to 'A Girl Like You' on his Myspace page.

Another highlight was helping John Shipe finish 'Yellow House'. He had put a ton of hours into the record but it hadn't taken shape. I think he just needed an objective opinion...someone to say "Keep this, axe that..." etc.

This week I'm working with another friend, Mike Last. We're in the thick of it...he's getting more and more comfy with the idea of committing to a final version of his tunes. I really like being the guy who's just around to push buttons and say "that was good but I think you can beat it". I'll post a link to his tunes when they're done!

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