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November 12, 2018

Smush Album Notes

Just a few notes on the latest EP, Smush.

Third Coast Recording Co. is a gem in Michigan’s west-side — a studio with big-city feel, and small-town charm. It has the bells and whistles of any state-of-the-art, industry-standard studio but retains the character you look for when trying to record in a remote location. It’s also founded by Bill Chrysler, whose work you’ve certainly heard on the radio, for years.

I approached the session from a standpoint I’ve used in the past — show up and play, or, show up, pick out the gems and form a crown. It was easy with Scotty and Kevin, two consummate pros at their instruments. Third Coast is its own creature, and the vibe there also contributed to the ease of this project. 

The album was produced by myself, Scott Pellegrom and Kevin Kozel. All songs were written on the premises of Third Coast Recording Company in Grandhaven, MI, and the EP was engineered by Kevin Kozel.

We showed up and did the deed. No fancy solos. No worry over metrics and impeccable timing. Just feel and play.

And then Ray Torres and Steve Leaf came and made their magic. Their magic rounds these three songs out. On Saturday, Ray and Steve joined the session and filled out with guitar work until we had a decent pool of seven tunes to work with. By that point, Merf (Dan Murphy) was wrapped on his tunes. We did use mixing/mastering engineer Nick Agorgianitis for bass guitar on “Gambit” due to some recording issues, but the session, for the most part was smooth. And Agorgianitis, who mixed and mastered the EP, played a strong part in completing “Gambit” with his bass contribution.

I live, musically, inside a very small place, most of my time divided between the study and exploration of ancient choral arrangement, recent symphony,  and the ever-present grab-bag. In any given hour, I might consume Alan Hovhaness, Billy Cobham, A-ha, Tyvek, Habib Koite, Christopher Tin, Beethoven, Tobias Hume, The The. I’ve always found my musical duty to be one of exploration without question. I go where I’m taken.

I’m okay with things being simple, and I’m okay with things being complex, and I’m okay with things being a little of both. I’ll sail the open sea, kayak the coast, fish off the shallow dock and eat any fish that fries in my pan.

Smush is my homage to the unknown fish, the un-fished fish, the un-finished fish, the world of fish. It’s my way of saying, let’s just play.