Thanks to some casual Google Fu, I discovered Mark over at Ride the Tempo did a nice little track spotlight for Natalie’s song “Howler”. Dig the unexpected shout-out to my steel-playing.
The volume swell noodling at the beginning was something I was going to get rid of. When I sent Natalie a rough mix, I told her it was just a bit of messing around and didn’t really feel solid enough to keep. Plus, you can hear a bit of amp hiss in there. There was no way to mask it that early in the song, before too much else was going on in the mix.
“We have to keep it!” she said. And so it was kept.
Natalie played my Kay Thin Twin here. Sometimes I forget what a cool guitar that funky old thing is. I played the other things. A few of the songs on her album felt like they weren’t going to be well-served by any kind of traditional drum part, and this was one of them. So you get drums played with mallets, all background thump and cymbal swells.
The group vocals were a lot of fun to record. We were going to go for a repeat of the quartet that worked out so well on one of my own songs — Natalie, Steven, James, and me — but Steve couldn’t make it. Caleb Farrugia stepped in to provide the baritone foundation in his stead.
We did two tracks that were pretty straight harmonies. The Pearlman TM-1 is still my go-to “stick it in omni in the middle of the room and record group vocals” microphone, but here I used a TM-250 instead. Then we did the howling. Some of the best howls are Caleb’s. My little high harmony on the line, “It may not be Oahu”, was one of those spontaneous things that just felt right in the moment. Another thing to dig: Natalie’s own high harmony on the choruses, tracing a second pattern around the main vocal melody.
(CAT & CORMORANT has been living inside CJAM’s top 20 for five weeks now. After hitting the top spot a second time, it’s sitting at #14 this week. I think that might mean people at the station like it.)