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Harmony vocals & life off of the road

HM Studio & Mics 2010 004

After many years spent as a solo performer focused on singing lead it should come as no surprise that my ability to harmonize ‘on the spur of the moment’ has been somewhat compromised. To anyone other than myself this would likely be accepted as the inevitable consequence of delivering more than 1500 solo vocal performances over the last dozen years however to me it arrives as a total surprise.

Ce la vie.

Thus my days are currently being spent arranging and performing harmony lines and backup vocal parts for the latest soon-to-be-released new album, as taxing and thankless an exercise in popular music that there is. For the actual price one pays for the unadulterated glory and drama of life as a professional recording artist and touring musician is largely this; a relentless pre-production schedule involving hours, days, weeks, and months of seemingly endless rehearse/record/review/repeat for each individual component part of each song. The months of pre-production invested into each of them is designed to lead to a ‘best’ composition for each element of the final recorded performance, be it instrumental or vocal in type.

For performing this work there is neither audience nor payment.

In fact for the most part many of us that do this for a living are eternally grateful that pre-production work is completed in private as the vast majority of it isn’t fit for human consumption. Count me among those that prefer to write/rehearse/record in the comfort and absolute privacy of my home-based studio with company strictly limited to either band-mates or studio musicians directly involved in the production at hand.

A man will spend an inordinate amount of time perfecting those things that he wishes to appear he gives no thought to at all.

When at work I’ve always appreciated the need to take the time to complete a task properly, however in spite of not working by the hour I believe that no one should take too much. In fact my approach in the recording studio is rooted in the contention that with music and musicians first impressions are often not only lasting but also best and most accurate. For this reason and while a strict adherent to an exhaustive program of pre-production rehearsal and a strong proponent for repetition being the manufacturer of mastery, when in the recording studio I tend to produce very few individual takes.

Too much time spent preparing and not enough time spent doing is not good for anyone or anything.

I’ll wrap this note by mentioning that I’m well aware that the river of time moves in only one direction for all of us whether we like it or not. In spite of the fact that I’ve taken the time to write 3 separate and entirely distinct collections of songs since the release of my last album I’m also aware that it flows rapidly. This work that I do for posterity takes the time that it takes to produce while my patience must outlast only my immediate desires, which it long ago grew accustomed to doing.

Thus like the man said, it goes on.

Thanks for being here and see you at the show.

– TH, 2/26/2014