How the CD came together | Part A

It amazes me how the CD came into existence. I honestly look back and wonder where people came from, why they were willing to freely give of their talents and time, how gifted they actually are, etc. Let me start at the beginning of the project, when Jenny and I lived in Nashville, TN last summer. Be prepared to see how small the world is…

During Jenny’s high school years, she lived in Ocean Springs, MS; that’s right, Mississippi, land of William Faulkner, the Rebels, and “confederate pride.” In Jenny’s sister’s class was a guy named Brett Mclaughlin (check out his music here) with whom Jenny’s sister acted in plays. Jenny and Brett wrote songs and played shows together. Brett just so happened to go to Belmont University in Nashville, TN, where Jenny almost went and Jenny’s brother did go (Jenny made a hard decision between Belmont University and the University of Delaware, where she met me).

I had planned on going to Nashville last summer to live for $100/month in my buddy Matthew’s apartment, work at a prominent hotel in the city, and write, play, and record music as much as possible. Jenny was planning on staying with her parents at their relatively new home in Maryland, where she would be a waitress until school started again. Jenny’s dad did not want her to come to Nashville. Jenny was insistent upon not coming because of her dad, and that was that. Two weeks later, after Jenny quitting her waitressing job, talking on the phone with me every night and feeling a bit lonely, it just so happened that Jenny’s dad (a not-to-be-messed-with military man) had a change of heart. He said that God made it clear to him that Jenny should be in Nashville that summer.

Two days later, I picked Jenny up from the airport in Nashville, we headed to Pancake Pantry for a breakfast celebration, and I dropped Jenny off at Meredith and Meghan’s apartment, about 3 miles away from mine. Jenny lived in their spacious closet, where I had lived 6 months prior, for those 2 1/2 months. After a day of settling in, we ventured an attempt at finding Jenny a job. A week later she was working at a modern jewelry and accessory store on 21st street in Nashville.

Jenny called Brett; Brett and I met; we saw a show of his; played shows with him; and hung out a bunch. Brett had just been recording with David Dorn and Daniel Mixer at Dark Horse Studio among other places. David hung out with Brett a lot and so we got to talking. He gave me Daniel Mixer’s number and after a few conversations, Jenny and I were scheduled to record at Dark Horse! In case you don’t know, Dark Horse is one of the top studios in Nashville, if not the country (my favorite artist in the world Shane and Shane recorded some tracks for their latest CD there…). At Dark Horse, Daniel ended up recording every lead vocal track of Jenny on “a prelude” except “Nashville.” So pretty much Daniel rocked our socks off. He engineered some really excellent vocal takes, was super humble and helpful, even a year or so down the road. Daniel ended up connecting us to the guy who would co-mix and master “a prelude”, Brian Miku of Vital Media Group (website to come!). Brian and I ended up developing a great relationship over the phone. We discussed everything from music to prayer requests. To this day, I still don’t even know what he looks like, but the guy is a solid producer and super-genuine individual.  Working with Brian was a definite “God thing.”

Now get this. Brett Mclaughlin’s bass player’ name is Ben Stein; Ben also goes to Belmont. Here’s the crazy part. Jenny and Ben went to Senior Prom together at Dover High School in Delaware, were in a rock band named “The Quick” together from 7th to 9th grade, and wrote and played a bunch of songs together. It gets crazier. My ex-roommate of two years, the one and only Joel Rakes is Ben Stein’s best friend in the whole wide world. Ben and I have played music together on multiple occasions.

That’s it for now…

More about how the CD came together later.


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