How to make a record with no money, work your socks off and spot the magic clues….
May 6, 2014. No comments.
There has been something rather charmed about the making of the Jennifer Crook Trio album. The record is complete and although the official release will be some months away (such is the long lead time required by press etc) if you would like to get your copy well before the rest head over to http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/jennifercrooktrio and pledge now!
But back to my charmed life – that’s not to say it hasn’t involved a lot of hard work, uncertainty, patience, trust and flexibility, BUT – the whole process has been a real joy. It started off with me wanting to make a little record for all the nice people at gigs who had asked for songs, and I ended up with something that far exceeded my expectations! So I was thinking about how it all came about and thought I would attempt to trace it back and introduce you to all the wonderful people involved.
Some 12 years ago when I first decided to take my songwriting seriously I took a course where I met ROB BOZAS. He came in to talk about music publishing and he has been keeping an eye on my efforts ever since his wife got given a bootleg copy of my first demo recordings (entitled, rather hopefully, “Champagne For Breakfast”). More recently I started going to the ‘secret’ gigs he puts on, and in September 2012 I did one of my own with the trio. All the gigs for ‘Schtumm’ get filmed and recorded but due to some unforeseen factors I didn’t get the footage I needed. “We’ll do something at Real World sometime” he said “film the trio live in the studio…”
A year later, I was feeling kind of stuck. A recording week for the trio had fallen through – just as well really as I didn’t quite know how I was going to pay for it – and I was chomping at the bit to get going on the new album. I was also considering crowd-funding which meant I needed a video. So I rang Rob “You know you said…..”
And Rob being a ‘make it happen’ kind of guy, made it happen.
Rob pooled together the talented CHRIS and JAKE from Capture the Guru to film us and asked STEPHEN W TAYLER to record the trio for the Pledge campaign…..If you have read Stephen’s wiki you know that his wealth of experience could be somewhat intimidating! Stephen first came to my attention through my friend Trevor. Then I met Neville Farmer at the Schtumm Jamboree (who has been hugely supportive of this project) who rang to say he was recording Beth for some film music with Stephen Tayler and would I like to come down? As it happened, I was viewing a cottage just down the road from the studio, so I did.
I like to think that when you are trying to figure out what to do next, and how, life gives you little ‘clues’. You know how you hear someone’s name and then they seem to pop up everywhere? At that point I had no idea Stephen would end up producing and mixing my album but I’ve learnt to pay attention to those clues. Not to mention working very hard to raise the money! STUART BRUCE who mastered the record was another name that kept cropping up last year. It was a total honour to find myself working with them both.
LEON HUNT is the UK’s best banjo player. No question. Not that he played any banjo on the album…I did. In front of him. Gulp. I have known Leon since I was 17 (and yes, 3 of my ex-boyfriends were at one time or another in his band!). A shockingly long time ago he recorded a demo for me but this is the first time we have worked together in earnest. Just at the right moment he mentioned his studio and a couple of days later we had it booked. We wanted to keep the energy of the 3 of us playing together where possible, and it worked perfectly for the initial recording sessions.
Multi-instumentalist MIKE COSGRAVE joined BETH PORTER and I 2 years ago to form the TRIO – after several years of “we must get together and have a play sometime”. He and Beth came back to weave their world-class magic on the new songs at Stephen’s studio where we were doing the overdubs, vocals and mixing.
My dear friend MIRANDA SYKES came by during a tour and laid down some awesome double bass and exquisite harmonies. KEVIN BROWN came down the lane and added some inspired slide guitar. Kevin was on his way to a gig of mine last December when he texted to say, not to panic but he was in hospital having tests as he felt poorly that morning. “Poorly” was in fact a heart attack. And he even wished me a great gig!! Kevin’s session was his first since all the surgery. So that in itself was a blues lick short of a miracle.
ALL OF THESE PEOPLE ARE BRILLIANT. AND LOVELY. And I feel very lucky the way it’s all worked out. Thanks again to everyone who pledged so the album could be made. There’s been a lot of love put into this project – heart and soul. In these days where record deals are hard to come by (even if you can get one that actually works for you) it’s important to have a great team of people on your side. How do you find these people? Certainly by getting out of the house, having a rough plan and a bunch of songs, and then add a touch of serendipity…
If you love the album as much as we do and encourage everyone you know to buy a copy then that will be the tops. I might even have champagne for breakfast one of these days.