On a flight back to Sacramento California from Orange County, a dear friend Rich Chaffin and I happen to be booked on the same flight heading home to our families. Rich asked me "working any new projects? ". I said, "man, I'd love to just walk into a studio with my guitar, with a pile of old hymns, having know idea how I'd play them, use no headphones, turn no knobs, push no buttons, click no mouse, stare at no screens. Pull a guitar out, have some old microphones turned on with a nice mix already up and just play with tape recorder rolling. Then drive the tapes down to LA and have my friend Louie master them. So that means no mix down. Just raw 'singing in the can' ". Rich looked at me with a smile and said "tell me when you wanna make that record I'd like to pay for it." The plane landed and the door was open.
A few weeks later I had coffee with my good friend Keven Florence. I shared what had transpired and we got to talking about the idea of recording Hymns live and the nature capturing something like that. Keven was all in and stoked on the idea and called Bryce Gonzales on the spot. When he got off the phone with Bryce he said, "Bryce said that will sound amazing lets schedule it". Shortly after that call we had some dates scheduled.
On February 23-24, 2011 we recorded 'hymns'.
Out of a world of routine, controlled recording environments, endless editing.
Heading to this session was like driving to a meeting ground, some kind of necessary place. A defining moment that hadn't happened yet, a feeling as if I was on my way see a close friend I hand't seen for a while. A passage from a place in set times into an environment with extreme limitations that had no set time. Free at last. Yes. It was as if the Maker himself said "welcome back, I haven't forgot about you, let me show you where you are sitting." A love "other" , timeless and scattered in the beautiful contrast of the fine details.
Keven Florence was the "tape op" (operator) and really played role as a producer for the whole session. He would come out to the room and let me know I wasn't crazy or nod his head and would come into the large room where I played after a take and say, "that was the one" or "I like how you sang that second verse. Sing the whole song like that". Carol brought some great Tai food she made the first night and Brian Helvick took some photos during his visits. We cut 23 tunes including alternate takes in a day in a half. Keven mined 10 takes out of the pile to make this recording you have now. May it be a true blessing to you listen. dD
A special thanks to:
Rich Chaffin for the supporting and encouraging me make this recording. Keven Florence for your heart and gifts poured into this record, it was a joy making this recording and it's as much yours as mine. Carol Florence, Bryce Gonzales, Rachel, Ella and Miles Donnelly for giving up dad in snowy weather to get this music recorded. Shay Boomer for your time and booklet design, Brian Helvick for the great hang and taking some great photos that night including the cover. Richard Cimino , and to my folks Pat and Sandy Donnelly for their love and the songs that played in my ears as a kid (tk.8) Finally to Jesus who holds everything together till' the roll is called up yonder forever.