My main job as producer is to invite the right people to the party ~ and step aside while they realize a song’s full potential. To that end, my favorite production process is to assemble a full band and record live ~ keeping as much as possible in the final mix.
The John Fullbright recording here, “If the Shoe Fits” is a perfect example of that process, and one of 17 songs recorded live off the floor for the ‘Back to Paradise’ album. We made the record at Leon Russell’s lake house recording retreat, a compound he built in 1972 as creative workspace and hideaway. The musicians and I all lived there for a week ~ submerged in making the record ~ and we were especially lucky to have that communal experience just days before the world shut down.
Fast forward a couple of weeks: with my normal production process rendered impossible, I spent the rest of 2020 learning how to work and create in isolation. After wrapping mixes for two albums (including the ‘Back to Paradise’ album), I mothballed my studio and settled into working out of a makeshift demo studio in my dining room.
Throughout the spring and into the summer, I sent songs back and forth with my friend Arnold Kim in California. The Libras song included here (“Quiet Part Loud”) was one of the first things to come out of those remote sessions. Paul Griffith added drums in his garage studio in California, Shawn Stroope played bass at home in Shreveport, and Al Gamble set up his Leslie speaker in his Muscle Shoals laundry room to add Hammond organ.
While the experience of recording “If the Shoe Fits” and “Quiet Part Loud” could not have been more different, they provide bookends of sorts to my year of recording projects. And while the party may have been virtual for “Quiet Part Loud” ~ it was still the attendees that brought the magic to the track from their makeshift home studios across the country.
About half the songs on this playlist were recorded and completed in the strange times of 2020, while the rest were recorded earlier and released this year. But when I listen to them as a whole, I hear like-minded players attending a party thrown in celebration of the song, regardless of distance or circumstance.
Jason Weinheimer is the owner of Fellowship Hall Sound in Little Rock Arkansas. He is also the songwriter and singer in The Libras. The new album ‘Faded‘ is coming out February 26th, 2021 on Out Of The Past Music.