For The Record: Becky Buller #6

Once again, Stephen Mougin at Dark Shadow Recording has prevailed on one of his artists to retail their recording experience for us in blog form. This time, it’s Becky Buller who is working on her first solo project with the label. Here is the sixth installment of her studio diary. A talented songwriter, Becky also tours and records with Darin & Brooke Aldridge on fiddle and clawhammer banjo.

March 10, 2014

Day 6 at Dark Shadow Recording - Stephen Mougin, Ron Block, Jesse Brock, Becky Buller, Barry Bales, Kenny Smith4:30 a.m. CDT: They took an hour away from me Sunday, those toads.

I committed to this cookie thing and Amanda Smith told me Kenny (both guitar, Kenny & Amanda Smith Band) likes chocolate chip, so, by golly!, I was going to have fresh baked chocolate chip cookies at Monday’s session. Of course, I didn’t account for Romy going through more teething Sunday night and needing a bigger dose of Mama time. We got in the big rocking chair in the living room and got comfortable watching a Smithsonian Channel documentary about the finding of the mortal remains of Richard III, lost these many years. (“Now is the winter of our discontent…” Romy is a HUGE fan of The Immortal Bard.) We went to bed at midnight, no cookies made.

5:00 a.m. CDT: I realized we were out of butter-flavored Crisco and self-rising flour. The cookies wouldn’t do right without, so I made probably my quickest Wal-Mart run ever.

5:15 a.m. CDT: Cookie making and baking commenced. Romy and Jeff slept on. In between batches, I got Romy’s gear together for sitter and my gear together for studio. I was flying!

6:30 a.m. CDT: Cookies baked. Beautification commences. (Facebook pics to think about.)

8:30 a.m. CDT: Half an hour behind dropping Romy at the sitter. Still no makeup.

9:50 a.m. CDT: I arrived at studio just after Barry Bales (bass, Alison Krauss & Union Station). He brought TWO upright basses! I had never been in a session before where the bass player brought two upright basses. Ron Block (banjo and guitar, Alison Krauss & Union Station) was already there, set up and ready.

(Okay, I’m abandoning the whole timeline thing. It was only cool for the first bit so you could appreciate how psycho kitty early I got up.)

Kenny AND Amanda (which was a surprise…I didn’t know she was coming, too) were next to arrive, followed by Jesse Brock (mandolin, Gibson Brothers) who also brought an upright bass. I’ve never been to a session where the mandolin picker also brought a bass. We were overrun with basses!

We kicked off that morning with “angry Gospel,” “angry” referring to the melody and tempo rather than content. Perhaps “intense gospel” would be more apropos? It’s called I Prayed For You and talks about how Jesus prayed for all believers when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 17:20-23) and how He continues to pray for us now that He’s at the right hand of the God the Father (Romans 8:34). Pretty intense when you think about it! This is the “youngest” song on the project; I finished it last November.

Jesse Brock and his cookie at Dark Shadow RecordingJesse was stationed in the control room as all other booths were occupied. The floor in there is vinyl wood planking. We had to muffle Jesse’s incredible metronomic stomp with the studio’s pizza and watermelon wedge pillows.

Then it was on to the album’s peppiest number, Nothin’ To You, which is also our single. It’s fast, it’s love gone wrong…it’s bluegrass! It’s one of the oldest of my originals on the project, written at least a dozen years ago and a lifetime away.

As the guys were fixing tracks, I had a chance to hang out with Amanda, which was really fun.

Ron Block tracking at Dark Shadow RecordingAfter Kenny and Jesse finished up and headed out, Ron, Barry, and I tracked one more song. Make Us To Shine is a co-write with the wonderful Lisa Aschmann and Mark Simos that I’ve had tucked away, awaiting my next record. If it was “angry Gospel” in the morning, then this was “peaceful Gospel” in the afternoon. The text for this one comes from Philippians 2:15 “…then you will shine among them like stars in the sky…” I always love writing with Mark and Lisa. It’s always epic! I think the melody on this song is achingly beautiful and there was no one I’d rather have playing guitar on it than Ron. I think Barry whipped out bass #2 on this one. It must be his “peaceful Gospel” bass.

6 or 7 pm CDT: Exhausted and about to chew my arm off. Rolled through Arbys and blew my diet with a Reuben and curly fries and a Pepsi and another homemade chocolate chip cookie or two… Ecstatic I got to spend yet another day making music with my heroes.

End of day six. If I don’t get some sleep, I’ll be sick…