Sunday February 6, 2005



After my weekly talk with my Grandmother and photo-editing from last night, I spent my day tracking and tracking and tracking. These recording are definitely better than the last batch in sound quality. I also finished up a couple of the unfinished songs from last time (at least instrumentally). I got "Towel Cape Song" and "Taking Its Toll" mixed in comp form by late afternoon. I guess I'll try to get the vocals done tomorrow.

Oh - Amanda's fine now. I think she just needed a good night's rest after a long day yesterday.

In the evening, I caught Paul McCartney's half-time show at the Super Bowl. Of course, I didn't see or care to see even a second of the actual game. I thought McCartney was perfectly fine if completely predictable. I love his current band (I think it's the best band he's had since pre-1970 if you know what I mean). I got to see this lineup back in '02. You can read all about that experience and see what my pics looked like before I had a real camera by clicking here.

I'll also let you in on a little secret. I'm 99.9% sure that McCartney was lip-synching tonight. Not because he can't do it, mind you, but because the Super Bowl makes you do that so they can set up and tear down quickly without having to worry about all of that pesky wiring. Hmmmm....and yet Ashlee can't get a break!




Saturday February 5, 2005


Working, working, working.

In the a.m., I had to do more backing up of recordings. Tom and I got together around noon to begin the next batch. We used a completely different mic configuration that I believe will remedy some of the overheads / cymbal problems. We'll see. Again, Nuci's and (in specific) Dan went well out of the way to help us. It is appreciated and duly noted. If and when we can ever return the favor, we absolutely will.

Today we tracked other songs that are (almost) definitely going to be attempted for the record. Those include "Into My View", "Sometimes I'm Sam", "Down" and "I'll Be Fine." We got 'em done but we were infinitely less efficient this time than last. We ran over about a half hour and only got 4 done. Last time, we finished right about on time and got 9 done. You do the math. Oh well - par for the course.

Then I had to ditch and get on the road. Amanda and I drove out to Alpharetta (which thankfully wasn't nearly as far as I'd thought) to cover the Monte Montgomery / Jason Isbell Trio show. If you know me, you know I was mainly there to see Jason. If you don't know why, then let me fill you in. Jason's the guitar wunderkind from Drive-By Truckers who has added some of the best songs they've ever done to their catalog over the last couple of records. Plus, I recommended him for the gig so I felt like I should get out there and see it. I've also been itching to hear material from his upcoming solo album (now pushed back 'til August). The show was at the Rock Star Saloon and I've got to say it was a remarkably clean, beautiful room. The lights and sound were also phenomenal. There were a lot of friends there that I haven't seen in a while, too. It was good to see Scott H., Mike, Scoley, Josh, Scott M. and the rest. Amanda took it upon herself to ask Jason to play "Danko / Manuel" which we both just adore. So the second song he played was that! He first did an acoustic set in which he played every Truckers song he's ever recorded with them. Hearing them all back to back just lets you know what a phenomenal talent he is. He added in a new song with the hook "Thank God For The T.V.A." that stands among his best work. Maybe it wasn't dark enough for the Truckers but it was affecting nonetheless. After "Outfit," Jason invited up Shonna (D.B.T. bassist and Jason's wife) and a Muscle Shoals drummer to join him for a handful of new material. I was floored by the quality of the songs...and I'm a fan already. The songs were a little more pop / blues / country than the DBT standards and that combo worked just fine here. They weren't all doom and gloom either. Jason's got a sly wit and a sense of fun underriding his stuff that might've been out of place next to some of Patterson Hood's and Mike Cooley's work. Or maybe not. Jason performed a Patterson song called "The Assassin" that Pat never does and that he "bequeathed" to Jason. It snuggled right in among the other stuff. All in all, I'm now even more excited to hear the new Isbell record. Or even better - a plugged in Jason Isbell Trio show!

After the set, Jason (and D.B.T. manager Scott) let us in on a secret. They were heading out to get back to Athens. Patterson was doing a solo benefit show and Jason and Shonna were to be the special guests. They invited us to come out. If I could've, I would've, believe me!

I had to cover the headliner first. That was Monte Montgomery. I've got to say that I was blown away by his playing. He was doing stuff with an acoustic that even the most super stellar guitarists wouldn't ever dream of doing on an electric. It was unbelievable and no surprise that he's been ranked one of the top ten guitar players in the world. He also had a power trio thing going and they were smoking. The songs were totally hit or miss - either a little too cheesy or dated in a pop-jam-prog way but the playing was out of this world.

I only got to hear a handful of songs, though. I had yet another gig to get to in another county. My friends in Sun Domingo were playing back in Athens and I had to get there to check 'em out, deliver a disc of portraits that I took of 'em and take a few more shots.

During their set break, I spent a lot of time chatting to each. I think I spoke to Brian the most that night (check out his site here). Then I wound up talking to Sibley, who was running sound. He played with the band Umpteen who we opened for at our first two shows. He, in turn, recommended us (and introduced me) to the Wild Wing booker. We all spoke for a while and the guy let me know that he would book us sight unseen because he's heard such good things about us. Wow! I'm not going to take him up on it yet, though, 'cause that's a huge room and until I know we can fill a nice chunk of it, I'm not even trying to headline it. It would be cool to do an opener for a night like tonight! Maybe we can arrange that.

Unfortunately, Amanda started feeling a bit sick while we were there. It was not a pleasant wave either. I felt really bad for her but she told me to keep going and get what I needed done. We ducked out pretty quickly once I got some more shots of the guys. We'll see 'em again when we open for them in Milledgeville on March 2.




Friday February 4, 2005




Oh, I forgot to mention that I got my customized black on pearl guitar picks yesterday. If I used words like "super rad", I'd use those to describe them. One side's got my signature and the other has the hand symbol that we've been using with the web address across it. Maybe I'll use them as business cards 'til I get some more.

Tonight, Amanda and I made another effort to go out to dinner. This time, we decided to go somewhere "less nice." We went to Ryan's. Why? Well, because we keep going to decent places to only be disappointed by one thing or another. I'm happy to say that tonight's trip was a success. We gorged to our heart's content (beyond my heart's content in all reality) and then came back home and just relaxed for once. It was a much needed change.

On the way out to the restaraunt we listened to the batch of demos that I finished up this week. I've gotta say - ACK! I'm not happy with them. They're all too tinny, brittle and not right. I WILL be remixing them within the next few days. I'll let you know when I put them up in their new form. I can't listen to 'em like they are right now. I'm proud of the performances (or at least satisfied) but I do not like those mixes.



Thursday February 3, 2005


Man (or woman or boy or girl) am I ever getting behind again! 'Tis crazy I tell ya. I'm going to do some brief little updates here just to catch everything up more or less.

I uploaded some new recordings today.

Here's the majority of the "Critical Darlings' Critical Updates" mailing that I sent out to explain.

"We've been feverishly working to get prepared to record our debut CD. We're going into Downtown Athens Recording Company beginning in a week or so to see if we can capture what we do. In preparation, we've been recording pre-production demos of the band arrangements and we want to invite you to sample them. The first updates are more of the rockin' stuff. Most of what we had posted was in the pop vein and some of you who've come to see us have requested that we get some of the more intense stuff up. Well, we hear and we obey. Check out the extended version of "Phony" and the cover of "Creepy Jackalope Eye". There are also brand spanking new recordings of "Everyday", "I Know Too Much (For My Own Good)", "Until The Road Ends" and "Colors In Black & White" to occupy ya. Of course, both of our demo EP's are still up and there's tons of other media at the site to peruse. Please download these tracks and let us know what you think, what you like, what you don't like and what you want in the future. Here are the direct links to the pages so you don't have to wade around looking for each one.

(Cut and paste 'em if clicking doesn't get you there!)

For "Until The Road Ends," "Phony," "I Know Too Much" and "Everyday", click here.

For "Creepy Jackalope Eye", here's your link.

and for "Colors In Black & White", this is the place.

Cool. I'm so proud to present these band versions of the songs. If you like 'em download 'em, though, 'cause I'll definitely be replacing all of these mixes with a) updated, improved mixes of the same songs - making these totally unique, rough mixes, b) replacing these songs completely with a whole new batch or c) some mix of the two.

Be sure to swing by our SHOWS page. More dates continue to be added!

By invitation, we just accepted another opportunity to play the Athens Open Mic gig that we won the first time we played (and blew the second time!). After saying yes, I went to check out their website and saw this.

I definitely approve except for the fact that Amanda didn't receive proper credit for the lovely photo! And thanks for the new quote, AOM crew!



Wednesday February 2, 2005





Today I got a lot done on our pre-production demos. I had hoped Frank would call or come by as it's his day off but I never heard from him. I had saved a few tracks for him to do. When I didn't hear, I had to go on and do them myself. Even so, we're still way behind schedule. So I finished up (vocals and everything) on "Creepy Jackalope Eye," "Everyday", "Colors In Black & White", "Phony," "I Know Too Much For My Own Good" and "Until The Road Ends." In the evening Tom came over to lay down some harmonies but we couldn't get 'em to quite mesh right. I sent him home with some mixes to work with so hopefully he'll be ready to nail 'em when we get into the studio.

You'll be hearing some of these pre-production demos on this site within the next couple of days. So for those of you who haven't seen us live, you'll get to hear how much more we rock with live instrumentation and the new arrangements. Most of 'em are the same songs but they're seriously amped up.

Oh and I just noticed that Nuci's Space has a couple of my less-than-stellar pics up from the Jan. 22 Drive-By Truckers show. You can check it out by going to and click on the photo of Patterson holding up the check for the story. Or you can click this link to go directly to the story without seeing the headline.



Tuesday February 1, 2005

My morning with Spike Lee...


I had to get up bright and early today to be at a press conference with movie director Spike Lee by 10 a.m. (it was on the other side of Atlanta). Man, the traffic was stressful. It was even worse than usual. Luckily, I still got to Morehouse College with minutes to spare. The big announcement was that he's agreed to do a sequel to his groundbreaking '80s film School Daze. This is a big deal 'cause Spike has always turned down sequels in the past. He apparently loves these characters enough to want to revisit 'em, though. He hopes to have the script turned in by the end of '05 with work to begin in '06 if all goes according to plan. He chose to announce this in Atlanta because that's where he went to school and Morehouse was the inspiration for the original movie. So the President of the University was there, too. Dr. Massey was really nice but his wife and I got into a bit of a tiff before Spike spoke. It was ridiculous and had to do with parking but it all worked out in the end. I did what I had to do and so did she. I was invited to go shoot Spike's autograph session at Circuit City and his lecture that night at the college but I passed on that to get home and do some more work on the band stuff.



Monday January 31, 2005



So January's done, eh? I can't believe I've kept this diary up for nearly a year now without a day missed. I'm impressed. It's not as easy as one would think and a lot of times it's more trouble than it may be worth. I feel like I'll appreciate it someday, though.

Today was another one of those "ketchup" days. I had a lot of little meandering things to tie up. I got a slew of 'em done. I also added a "karma" date for us on Wednesday, March 2. We're gonna do it down in Milledgeville. We need a few warm up gigs before that important show opening for Honestly at Tasty World on the tenth.

Maybe by then we'll have a good chunk of our studio work knocked least the basics. That would be nice.

In the evening, Amanda and I went out to Johnny Carino's for dinner. It should've been a wonderful, pleasant evening but it was not. For some reason the restaraunt was absolutely freezing and completely uncomfortable. We made the best of it but if eating out's gonna be like that, I'd much prefer to stay home!

Click here for last week's rambling with The Arcade Fire and...uh...some other stuff?