Saturday, December 15, 2007

Studio Blog 8 (12-13-07 & 12-14-07)

The last two days have been a little bit boring, to be perfectly honest. Not a ton to write about, so I decided to combine them into one.

Guitar overdubs are slow and painstaking. Every note has to be perfectly in place. With bass and drums, if something is slightly off, you can go in and move things around. Guitar is a little bit tougher, so everything has to be perfect. I always felt bad because when I'm at home, it can take an hour to get a guitar part right. Then I see pro studio guys take an hour and it makes me feel kinda good...or at least that I'm doing better.

I already told you about George. George has been great all week long, getting the right sounds.

Thursday, we did more of the same. We had 3 songs left for electric overdubs, so we hit it hard...we really wanted to get the songs done so we could start vocals on Friday, after we did some acoustic gutars. So, we started with "Running Back". The rhythm part, we decided should be a little more brit-rock, so we used the Orange Tiny Terror. It sounded pretty freaking great. The part I played was more of a Switchfoot kind of rhythm part, basically downstroke-upstroke in 16ths, while the chord changes happen on off-beats...for those non-musicians, basically that means very syncopated. We started that one and in a couple of takes on each section, nailed that part. Then I doubled the part. Then I tripled the last chorus to give it some extra "umph". I even surprised myself, actually...since I'm supposedly so bad at rhythm I guess I kind of buy into it sometimes. But I/we found my "rhythmic difficulties" untrue in this situation.

We finished that part around lunch time and broke for lunch. Thursday, Sarah stopped by, as well as Mindy, Ash's wife, and thier kids. Debbie, Brown's wife, made a great chicken ceaser salad to help me stick with my diet, which was very kind. Steve Bishir and George and the rest enjoyed it, believe me, but I was thankful they were able to help me. At lunch we took some time to relax and watched part of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"...what a great movie. Such great dialogue. The Coen Brothers are great.

After lunch we went up and worked on "In a Moment", which came really easy. I've played that song so many times that it just kind of comes natural. This new arrangement has such an incredible build to it. It starts off with a slow build and when you get to that last chorus, it is just absolutely huge.

Once again, I nailed the part pretty quickly, then doubled the part.

Then, it was on to the last song: "Cry Tonight". We decided what I needed to play and I pretty quickly got that one down. Seriously, I don't know if it's just the surroundings, but from a rhythmic standpoint, I was on this week. So, that was encouraging...I was scared of taking hours and hours to do electrics. In fact, Brown, thinking that I would have rhythmic difficulties had hired George to be there for a full 3 days for electrics plus a day for acoustics, so we got done a full day early!

After we finished "Cry Tonight" we listened through everything to make sure we had what we needed, then I headed home to get some sleep.

The next day, I showed back up to the studio and the electric guitar equipment was all gone. We immediately got to work on acoustics.

This stuff doesn't really need a bunch of acoustic stuff to carry the rhythm...but Brown really wanted to put some acoustic stuff in the songs for flourishes and just something different sonically.

Ash didn't come in on Friday because it was kind of the same thing we'd done...same studio, same people, etc. So it wasn't quite as fun without him there.

We started off with "Empty Me", which definitely needed an acoustic part. We layered the acoustic guitars, using my Taylor and a 1960 Gibson B-25. My Taylor has a bright and airy sound while the B-25 has a deeper, darker sound. "Empty Me" went pretty quickly and we broke for lunch.

My diet for yesterday was basically a fast, so they went and got great-smelling Mexican food...I was pissed! I wanted to ask someone for something so bad, but held firm. No cheating for me. So, I went back to the control room and ate my 1 oz of cashews and two celery stalks.

After lunch, we listened and decided to add a part to "Cry Tonight". I wrote a really great acoustic part but realized pretty quickly that I just wasn't a good enough guitar player to pull it off in the couple of hours we had before Brown had to leave. So, I taught George the part and he went in and recorded it. It took him 2 and a half hours to get it. So, thank God I didn't try...George is one of the best guitar players in town, so I'm sure it would've taken me twice as long. Anyway, he recorded 3 passes. The first one was with my Taylor which we did stereo. Then we used his B-25 as a mono track. Then he used a 1961 J-45 (the acoustics the Beatles played) to record another mono track. Altogether, they sound great.

As soon as he finished that, Brown headed off, and left us to lock up. We headed out soon after and I went home for some much needed R&R.

However, Mitch invited Sarah and I to go to see TobyMac, Aaron Shust, Superchick and several other bands on the Winter Wonderslam tour. Aaron is on the same label as me and with the same management, so I thought it'd be great to meet him. So I went home, hung out for a little bit and headed off for the show. We got to meet Aaron and hung out with Mitch for a while. These Nashville shows are a veritable churning pot of who's who of CCM, so I met quite a few really cool, influental people backstage. Aaron's show was only 4 songs, but it was really great. I was impressed. Mitch left after Aaron's set, but Sarah and I stuck around for part of Toby's set. Wow. I've seen Toby before and he blew me away, and he didn't disappoint this time. Seriously, the best performer in CCM, easily. He just jumps around stage and his band are all energetic and incredible. You need to see Toby sometime, even if you don't like his music.

And there's the last 2 days.


Badpacifist said...

I love "O Brother". I just bought my wife that Robert Plant and Allison Krauss CD for Christmas. What an unusual combo I thought. A dash of bluegrass a dash of Zeppelin. I have played piano for years but my wife says I am having a guitar related musical menopause now. Consequently this stuff you are writing about is as exciting as it gets for a relatively new guitarist. I can sit on my couch for hours with a guitar. I did have to get those Bose headphones for my wife till I get better. What age were you when you picked up the guitar?

Carmen said...

Just listened to "Loaded Gun" on your myspace. I like it. Has a very interesting sound to it.


risalea said...

Maybe boring for you, but it's all new and fun to us amateurs out here.

Would you please quit insinuating that you are rhythmically challenged?! It's not a chance thing that it all came together--nobody could write or sing like you do and have a serious rhythm issue. So there, Simon Cowell! : )

And good for you on the diet front! (let's call it a lifestyle adjustment) I hope food gifts you've gotten haven't made your journey more difficult. The holidays have been pretty challenging for me this year. OK, let's be honest---I've never met a dip I didn't like. LOL It seems like I have had more social events than ever and I'm not good at passing the goodies by. I have been working out, though, so I'll give myself a pat on the back for that.

I hope it's sunnier in Nashville than here in Sherwood. We have gotten a cold snap and had the rain and it's still pretty gloomy out. I think there's a better forecast for tomorrow.

Have a great weekend, all! Risa

Carrie said...

... This blog made me both excited and hungry.

Nique's Nana said...

I've never been able to get into "O Brother, Where Art Thou"?. My boss and a lot of other people I know that have seen it just love the movie. What am I missing? I guess I'll order it on Netflix and try watching it again. Maybe this time I'll get it - lol.

This is the worst time of year to be dieting. I admire you for being able to stick to your program. Me? I have no won't power and when I see my doctor on Monday and she reads me my lab reports, well, she'll read me the riot act. I promise to get back on the band wagon 1-1-08!

Do you have a date as to when we can expect you new cd?

vivian from missouri said...

nice of you to keep us updated on your experiences and good for you to stick to healthy eating--it is really tough to be good when it would be so much easier to eat whatever is handy or fast, You aren't rhythmically challenged---slightly movement challenged perhaps ---my husband is also---he switched his major from music to theatre and is a strong singer and director but can't dance to save his life--doesn't make sense to me since he has no trouble keeping rhythm in song it just doesn't connect to the rest of his body. You must be feeling better if you are going to start working on the vocal tracks--that's great---hopefully eating healthy will help to keep you healthy and have I mentioned ZICAM, it really works if you catch the start of something. Love "Oh Brother"--and the soundtrack, what a marvelous film---I am always amazed at what a soundtrack does for a film, awed by the talent of someone who can see what would work for a particular scene. On another note along the same line, just happened to catch the end of Elton John on "Inside the Actors Studio" this morning and they were questioning him about how he gets his musical ideas and he asked for a book, any book, and what he got was Peer Gynt and he opened it to the second chapter and put the dialogue to music---truly amazing. You write music and lyrics so you probably don't understand how magical that seems to someone who appreciates music but doesn't have the talent to do that AND you sing to boot. Do you ever wonder at that yourself? At any rate we now have about 8 inches of snow here so I am going to go clear my car again--take care.

Cathy Storms said...

Wow..Nothing boring about any of this as far as I'm concerned. You make me want to start playing guitar. You are not rythmically challenged!!! Not even a little bit.
What a great time in your life right now...Well except for the Mexican Food thing..I could never pass up a good

Cathy Storms said...

I just heard loaded on your myspace page. Awesome.....

Carrie said...

Hey Chris, I don't know if you can answer this or not but for Loaded Gun/Good Intentions... Is the final going to sound more rock like the original, a lot closer to the pure strings version or be a combination or both of those?

I'm kinda hoping more for the third option.

ChrisSligh said...


The recorded version of Loaded Gun will be all strings. I really wanted to do something out there and completely could rock as a full band thing, but I think that it has a cool factor like it is now.

The string arrangement will be real strings and it will be a tiny bit different, but the demo gives the idea.


Carrie said...

Hmmm. I guess it is pretty different because when I heard it, it wasn't what I was expecting at all. I already really like the lyrics to that song -- it's one of my favorites, so I hope I have no problem adjusting to the final version. I can't even really think of any current songs out there that are mostly strings, so that's cool. I was hoping for a song with a real rock feel, but I of course trust your decision and know that even with strings it's still possible to rock out.

ChrisSligh said...


When we play it live it will be full strings with the band.


Carrie said...

That's definitely something I'll have to see. Sounds like a lot of fun! Sorry if my last comment made no sense. Sleepy.

ChrisSligh said...

Hey guys,

Eventually, I will turn off the moderation. When I me a favor and don't advertise it. I don't want the idiots to have a clue.


risalea said...

Just got back from one more social event with eating (ARGH!) Anyway, as we speak, just getting my first chance to listen to the Loaded Gun song...I think that will be awesome with the real strings. It's good to mix it up. I'm still waiting on my Christmas song. : )

Speaking may not be able to find this one, Christmas CD buffs, but Trisha Yearwood's "The Sweetest Gift" is just full of great songs that are mostly not your traditional Christmas song. Got that back out and really enjoying it.

Carrie said...

Don't worry, I won't.

Sorry I haven't been around too much everyone. Today I went to visit my grandpa again. He's still very tired/out of it but he's slowly coming around. He's more responsive. His stomach is really bloated from his lymphoma and he has to eat puree food but he actually knew I was there this time. I wanted to cry but I didn't. I think my dad did when he went in the bathroom, though. My grandpa, through all of this, still retained his sense of humor. Also, as we were leaving, he looked at my mom told her he's going to walk out of there. And you know what? I believe him. Next time I go back there I'm going to bring my camera because his room is up on the 14th floor, so you get this nice view of downtown buffalo. I also want to take a picture of the Anchor Bar -- it's the home of the Buffalo Chicken wing. Haha, sorry for bringing those up, Chris.

ALSO, since my dad works for the highway department we usually know when storms are coming because he employs the snow plows and a big snow storm is coming tonight. Hoping it isn't like Oct 06... (we lost power for a WEEK!)

BostonIan said...

A lot of the tech stuff goes way far over my head, but one thing that's cool to see is what producers actually do. As a layman I always pictured producers as these sorta overpaid knob-twisters who just recorded what band made. With some of the past posts about "chunky guitars" and the new electric overdub thingamajigs and the acoustic overlay hoozawhatsits, it seems like the producers do have a big effect on the way an album ends up sounding.

As for the "rhythm", I wouldn't sweat that so much. I never noticed anything odd. To me, it seemed like you lost favor with the judges for whatever reason - "Hi, Dave" - and the rhythm was just a codeword to hit you with.

Carrie said...


My cat was SO pissed.

risalea said...

LOL, Carrie! He even looks p.o'd!

gdahimself said...


Dare I ask, was there a hat with that outfit? Not that I suggest you attempt to put on.


gdahimself said...

To Chris Sligh,
From GDA,

"When we play it (Loaded Gun) live it will be full strings with the band."

There's a budget to take a string section on tour, or will you & band be playing live over prerecord string track?

Ronni said...

oh In a moment! I can't wait to hear that redone... I wear OUT that mp3... I have it memorized... heck I've harmonized with you so many times I think my neighbors have it memorized.. HA!

I hope you didn't change it too much... its fantastic already!

No seriously. ;)

Carrie said...

My sister put the santa suit on my cat. I just found her like that, sitting in my bed when I woke up. She didn't actually mind it that much, she just hates her picture taken -- and I do it all of the time, so she puts on her "leave me alone" face whenever I grab my camera unless I turn off the flash.

There IS a hat for that costume. It's for dogs though and my sister said she put it on her, but it fell off because her head is so small. My cat wouldn't allow a hat. We put it on my dads puppy and she just froze in her steps -- too funny.

AND I just heard great news, my grandpa is slowly getting better. He's going to walk out of there before Christmas!

risalea said...

That is great news, Carrie, about your grandfather!

Friends, keep praying for Amanda. She's had a rough patch...she was back in the hospital, then went back to Target House. I got a text today that she had to go back again to the hospital today because of running a fever. She's also had a lot of pain. On top of losing her friend, Tyler, well, that's just a lot for a young person...a lot for anyone, actually.

risalea said...

Another prayer request, for a family related by marriage to a friend of mine. They were in a car/truck accident on the way to church this morning. Their two children, ages 3 and 9 were killed instantly, and both parents are hospitalized with severe injuries. A tragedy too awful to comprehend....please pray.

sandmoran said...

saw Daughtry tonight
and I was so rocked out, y'all
so very rocked out.

Carrie said...

Thank you. And wow that is horrible. I can't imagine what that family must be going through. :\ They'll definitely be in my thoughts, as will Amanda, of course.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I'm not too sure what I think about the new version of Loaded Gun but maybe I'll get used to it after a few listens.

Risa, wow that's horrible! I'm so sorry to hear about that. I'll keep them in my thoughts and prayers. I can't even imagine fighting for your life while knowing you have to bury your children.

How about those Dolphins? ;) I had forgotten what it felt like to win a game. It had been since December 10, 2006. The last time the Patriots lost in the regular season. I really wanted a win for Jason Taylor & Zach Thomas (although on IR) because they didn't deserve ending up on the 2nd winless team in NFL history. The 1976 Bucs can pop the corks!

Cathy Storms said...

Risa~That is so tragic. I will keep them in my thoughts and prayers. I can't even imagine what they are going through.
Carrie~Great news about your grandfather.

rosalee said...

Risa -
Sorry to hear that news. I'll be thinking about them. This month is turning into a real horror show. Can't wait for the year to be over!

Carrie - I'm glad your grandfather is getting better!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris-- *waves*
badpacifist-- I have that album, of AlisonKrause and RPlant. I have to say, it is an interesting album. They sound nice together, and it is her style of music def.

You know who else sounded great together--and was on PBS this weekend? David Gilmor with Crosby and Nash!--so good. Spouse said the album they were on together was a couple years ago.

Feeling my own mortality issues today. Dan Fogelberg passed away, if you didn't hear. It doesn't seem real that he could be gone. Makes one wonder about oneself, in question marks.

rosalee said...

In memoriam

Anonymous said...

Yes, Buulyse & Rosalee. Was just coming to bemoan the passing of Dan Fogelberg and see your posts.
I am upset. Only 57 and NO ONE EVEN TOLD ME HE WAS SICK! :o)
So, a shocker to me.

His music takes me back to my carefree single days. I had SO many of his albums! It was great mood tunes for cleaning my little apartment to. A spoonful of medicine type thing.

So thankful I got to see him in concert once in my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

slimpickens--I didn't know he was sick either.:-/
Thanks for posting those nice YouTubes, rosalee. I keep forgetting treasures like this are out there online! Always, a surprise.

Glad you got to see TobyMac in concert Chris. You reminded me, so I had the house in Portable Sound while I cleaned it today! "Boomin'!" heh.