Setting “Man of the Hour” on fire, “Sweet Amorilia” visits Africa, and a genre called “Soufté”

I have to tell you the process of recording the songs for this next album is the most fun I’ve had in music possibly EVER! Alex and Jim have been a blast for Chris and me to work with — they’re funny (I laugh so hard every time we get together, I can’t breathe. And singing while laughing is quite the challenge.), they’re amazing musicians, and they’re awesome human beings.

We just finished recording “Man of the Hour.” Actually, we finished it a couple of weeks ago and now we’re just waiting on mastery at this point. Schedules have been busy, so it’s been hard to make time for it, but it will be ready very soon!

I have to tell you, I am more excited about this song than I have been about any other song we’ve ever recorded. “Man of the Hour” is my favorite of all of them. And the biggest reason for my excitement is not because of anything I’ve done with the song — it’s because of what’s been added to it by an amazing bunch of musicians — The TSP, and very special guest, Brandon Ruck! The song is ON FIRE, thanks to the intensity in Alex’s drum work, Jim’s haunting tin whistle, and Brandon Ruck’s blazin’ electric guitar, who appears courtesy of Corduroy Friction Records.

When Chris, Alex, Jim, and I first got together to record “Man of the Hour” in our living room, I thought it was pretty awesome at the time with what just the 4 of us laid down. And, I thought it was done, too. Nothing more needed. When the possibility arose to have Brandon Ruck lay down some lead guitar for us, I honestly didn’t know which song to have him play on. (If you don’t know Brandon Ruck, he’s a phenomenal guitar player, as well as one of my favorite local singer/songwriters. His skills are in high demand — he splits them between something like 5 bands, so it was a real privilege to have him record with us. Do check him out:!)

The strange thing about this set of songs we’ve working with is in a lot of cases I can’t hear the production of the tracks in my head. With Perspectives, our 2006 release, I could hear it all. With this album, the production seems to be coming spontaneously at the moment the song is being recorded, which is actually quite exciting because it’s leading us in directions I would not have expected. Like “Man of the Hour” — I had no idea it was going to be a rock song, but it is. This spontaneity could be the result of recording the core tracks live rather than multi-tracking it like we did with Perspectives. Or, it could be the absence of a confining click track with its endless ticking reminding us to be on time, or else! We’ve nicked it this time around, so the tracks have a very human, organic feel.

So, I had to give the question of where to put Brandon some careful thought and consideration so he could really shine. I gave our roughs several listens, and wondered, what about “Man of the Hour?” Yeah, I thought it was done, and I really could not hear any electric guitar for it in my head, but this song really fit Brandon’s style. So, I figured we’d see what he could do with it… and what he did was SET IT ON FIRE!!

Since we added Brandon’s guitar tracks, Chris helped me make a rough mix, which I put on my ipod and literally listened to over and over for 2 days straight. I have probably listened to it more than 200 times because the song just feels that good to listen to. It’s like being on a natural high. (I should point out that I have never listened to any song of mine over and over again like that. I used to hate listening to myself. And I haven’t gotten tired of it.) Every time I hear it, I put my head back, close my eyes, and just sit there and soak it up. I feel like I’m sitting surrounded by a bed of warm embers on a chilly, breezy evening, but I can’t feel the cold because I’m wrapped up in the song. It’s like being out in the desert late at night under a clear, star-filled sky, and the song is what’s lighting up the surrounding area in a warm, amber glow. And apparently, I’m not the only one who’s guilty of listening to it over and over again. Jim’s done it, Alex has done it, Chris has done it, and a select few people I’ve shared the track with thus far are doing it, too. (I know this because I can track their listens on my web stats. LOL. You’ve been caught! Ha, ha!! You know who you are.) Last month, “Man of the Hour” was the most listened to track on our website — and it’s an unreleased, unpublished song!!

So, needless to say, I am absolutely gushing over this song. I absolutely CANNOT wait to share it with you. Once the song is mastered, you’ll get a chance to download it for FREE for a very limited time. After that, you won’t be able to get it until we release the album. So, stay tuned for that in the coming weeks!

Of course, as I gush over “Man of the Hour,” another new track called “Sweet Amorilia” is swiftly coming up on it’s heals. Just have piano to lay down on it, but once we get that one mixed and mastered, it may trump “Man of the Hour” or at least become it’s equal. But it’s totally different from “Man of the Hour.” For “Sweet Amorilia” we summoned the spirits of our great ancestors from the depths of the African desert to build a world-music-inspired choir and drum circle for the chorus of the song. Or as Alex put it, it was something like “organic Soufté with a touch of primal Plern resonating off the windswept Sahara.” That’s going to be an exciting one to mix because there’s a LOT going on. I’ll have to make Chris many pots of coffee when he gets around to that one.

Speaking of Soufté, we finally came up with an answer to the question, “So, what kind of music to you do?” Thing is, we haven’t known how to answer that. We don’t fit into any particular genre, and with this world music influence rearing it’s head in our mixes, and the eastern and western influences, it’s become an even more difficult question to answer. That is, until now… We came up with our own genre. We’re calling it “Soufté,” pronounced “soof-tay.” Want to know what Soufté sounds like… listen to Sheila and the TSP!


~ by Sheila on February.5.2010.

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