Tag Archives: album

Thornfield CD release concert!

Well guys, after hearing my tales of our band’s first experience recording, I am so, so pleased to say that the hard work is done, and that we are releasing the resulting CD (Bright Northern Skies) and EP (One for a Lover) this Saturday the 21st!

The gig will be such fun–you should all come! Here is a link to the event page on facebook for the location, time, etc. We’re holding it in an art gallery called Autumn Space, and it’s also a kid-friendly space if you want to bring your whole family. Some friends of ours volunteered out of the blue to coordinate free appetizers, and my mouth is already watering just reading through the potential menu they sent over. It’s BYOB, so feel free to bring a bottle of red–and don’t forget to bring some cash to actually purchase our two recordings! We’re selling our CD for $15 and our EP for $5–essentially, 19 tracks of music for $20–that comes out to $1.05 per track if that makes you feel a little looser with your wallet. And to top it off, some other fabulous musician friends are joining us, and they are seriously talented people.

After going into detail about our studio sessions (you can catch up here, here, here and here), you may be wondering what happened after all that. Well, a lot of stuff happened, and it happened fast (hence the lack of blogging on the topic). To meet our deadline (we kind of wanted to have an actual CD to sell at our CD release party, heh heh), we entered into about a 2-week period of what I like to call massive crunch-attack time. Because the description ‘crunch time’ alone doesn’t seem to suffice. This was intense, extremely stressful, and (dare I say it) distinctly not fun. There were tears. There were nightmares. There were nights of restlessness. There were phone conversations galore, texts, chats, and emails flying back and forth and back and forth and back again.

My head is spinning just thinking about it.

In fact, I haven’t been this stressed about anything since moving to Chicago 3 years ago! Nothing went wrong to cause this stress–it was just the necessary big push to meet the deadline, the effort that Eric, Carrie and I had to put into communicating quickly about a million little decisions that we couldn’t be in the same room to make (Google chat saved our butts on a few occasions), the nit-picky back-and-forth of finalizing the mixes with our engineer Rick, getting the song order nailed down, the mastering with the fabulous (and fast) Alan Hackert, the graphic design with the talented Kimberly Applewhite, figuring out the right size for the actual order of CD’s, etc.

So how did I like making an album? In short: the studio part, I loved. The rest of it, I survived.

And I’m so glad it’s done.

(but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited about starting another some day!)

The only big step that remains is getting our stuff on itunes, and I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s available for purchase there.

Now onto the happier part!

I’m so excited about the recordings. When we first started the process, I wasn’t sure how it would go. I had a little fear in the back of my mind that after all our work, I wouldn’t feel proud of the results. Thankfully, that fear has been put to rest–I’m so proud of what we’ve done. I’ve seen these songs go from musical ditties we were toying with, to full-fledged songs that we performed together and perfected, and finally to actual recorded pieces. There are 13 tracks on our CD and 6 tracks on our EP, and each track has a creative story behind it that I know and love. Music to “The Watchman’s Back” (there’s a little sample on our website if you want to listen), for example, was the result of an awesome creative afternoon in my living room that I recall with so much fondness. I remember working out the melody with Eric and Carrie, getting excited about it, then fitting it all together so that we could perform it at our next gig. And now, what started as a small, floundering melody has grown up and filled out and gotten itself recorded for posterity! Sniff sniff.

And speaking of the ‘sniff sniff’ element, there’s also a bittersweet side to our upcoming gig that I’d be remiss to ignore: it’s also a farewell concert, because Thornfield is being put on pause. I’ve alluded to this in the past, but for those of you who haven’t heard the nitty gritty, Carrie and Eric are moving to North Carolina in a few weeks, where Eric will pursue his Masters in Composition at UNCG. We’re not breaking up the band–but the distance is going to make regular gigging a little impractical for the time being.

So anyway, come if you can! If not, stay tuned for the itunes release! Love you guys, and thanks again for following along on this crazy and wonderful journey!


All photographs by the talented Zane Davis.

Thornfield CD: the final session (kind of)

I’ve been slacking on writing an update on where my band’s first album stands. So here goes!

Eric, Carrie and I spent the Sunday before Memorial Day in our final big recording session. Petras came in and did his final bass tracks during the first hour . . .

. . . we stretched our limbs and prepared our souls for the work ahead . . .

. . . and then it was up to the three of us to check everything off our master list and get this thing done.

With 19 tracks in various stages of completion, we still had lots of work to do–some djembe for our song Lucien . . .

. . . Eric’s awesome ipad organ for Watchman’s Back and Mary Sang . . .

. . . some of Carrie’s main vocals for Dive Down Deep, Breathless, and others . . .

. . . some re-do’s on parts of Eloise . . .

. . . some re-do harmonies from yours truly on Scarecrow (I was a tad bit off my game on the first go-around) . . . a lot of tambourine-ing . . .

. . . some glockenspiel for kicks (which adds a ton to the fabulous song Dinosaur), a little melodica, etc, etc.

6 1/4 hours after we entered, we were putting the final touches on the final songs.

You may remember that during our previous session, I had unexpectedly and irrationally been filled with terror when I approached the microphone to record my lead vocals on a song that had quickly become the embodiment of my recording fears: the dreaded Green Wheat and Poppies. After spending most of Sunday recording harmonies and banging the tambourine against my thigh, it was all coming down to this song.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from my emotions when the moment came. I gripped the mic stand to prepare myself.

But guys . . .  once I heard the guitar track playing in my headphones, I was 100% calm. It was 100% enjoyable.

I actually had fun.

I thought about the words I was singing, what I wanted to convey when I first wrote it, and just . . . let go.

Looks like the terror was a one-time thing, perhaps caused in large part because that was the first vocal track I had attempted (in retrospect, not a good idea–I should have warmed up to the whole thing with some harmony tracks).


So what’s left, you may be asking?

Well. Well, well, well. I vill now tell you, ja.

So: our engineer Rick gave us his initial mixes last Wednesday. But as this is a self-produced album, it’s our responsibility to weigh in on the mixes and participate in that process to the fullest. So we have been listening to each track over and over, taking notes on any changes we want (lots), met Friday to discuss them all, and have emailed our list to Rick.

This week, Rick will re-mix with our requested changes, and give us the new set.

Then, we will listen again and take detailed notes again.

Then, we will schedule a meeting with him to go over all our thoughts and get the final mix in place. This will include re-recording any tiny pieces that just can’t be re-worked with digital magic (hence the “kind of” disclaimer after that words “final session”). At that point, we will listen to all the tracks together in the studio and make the decision that that’s all she wrote. (Which I hope we can make in good conscience–I don’t want any of us to feel like we’re compromising on the quality of our stuff.)

Once that’s accomplished, it’s just (“just”! Hah!) a matter of putting everything together–editing the amazing pictures that my friend Zane took of us the other weekend and deciding on an album cover and an EP cover. Divvying up the 19 tracks into an album and an EP (the EP will be released a little later) and finalizing the song order on each of those. Getting copyrighting and all the legal stuff done. Finalizing the verbiage we need on the album with all the right credits (I’m already terrified of forgetting someone). Getting the graphic design for the jacket done. Placing the order for the CD’s, and paying our dues and going through whatever channels we need to get it on itunes and other methods of digital distribution.

And then, having a CD-release party/gig, promoting the heck out of it using whatever channels we can, and seeing once and for all if this lovely album is going to make any more than approximately $40.

Which I think it will . . . but ultimately–and I say this from my heart–I don’t care if we never recover our investment. Because guys–I love this album. I’m proud of this album. And I’d do it all over again even if we were our only audience.

But let’s be honest–I could definitely use a margarita (or three) to help me get through these final steps.

Over and out!