In the late nineties I went to any class I could to learn how to write better music. At one class, hosted by ASCAP, Dan Keen, the head of ASCAP’s gospel music division, played a song by an artist he was very excited about – a guy named Wes Cunningham. I got excited too. I waited over a year for that disc to finally come out and when it did I listened to it incessantly. Very clever lyrics. Very hooky melodies, every verse could have been a chorus. And very skillful playing and production. It was the closest thing to a perfect album I’d ever heard at the time.
Some musiciains worship The White Album or Back In Black but I’ve always wanted to make something that made people as happy as Wes’ Twelve Ways To Win People Over To Your Way of Thinking made me.
A few years later, after Wes’ career had taken him away from labels and into independence, I signed with Rocketown Records. I had already written the songs for my first album when I signed so the only hurdle to recording was agreeing on a producer. I told my label’s president I wanted Monroe Jones to produce. He was a little surprised that I would have such a strong opinion about a producer, having never recorded before and all. He asked me what I knew about Monroe. What I knew, I told him, was that he produced my favorite album. He laughed knowing what I didn’t know: Monroe had also produced almost every single CD Rocketown Records had ever released.
I’m a good lyricist – on days when I can write at all. I’m an OK piano player. I’m a terrible guitarist and a mediocre singer who’s always battling allergies and sickness and fatigue to even get through a recording. If you’ve ever heard a song of mine that you liked it was largely because Monroe Jones produced it and Shane Wilson and Jim Dineen mixed it (this was the case for my first two albums) or Richard Dodd took my production work and fixed it in the mixing process (this was the case for my third album). I owe a full calendar, a blog audience, money in the bank and literally thousands of kids’ lives to these men who’ve waved their magic wands and multiplied my talents.
You can watch that wand waving this week right here starting Thursday at around 10:30AM CST (“Around” is a big thing in Nashville). I’ll be broadcasting our recording session live.
Now, there won’t be a fancy shmancy studio full of studio musicians. It’ll just be me and Monroe and Jeff Roach, his favorite guy for keys. We’ll be “working” on a song called Kingdom Coming. I’ll have at least one camera, possibly two, in Monroe’s home studio. Warning: This isn’t that exciting, which is one reason I want you to see it. Basically, we’ll hang out and talk a lot. And at some point I’ll play the song on piano. Then Jeff and Monroe have some ideas about what to add to it. Then, another day, we’ll record drums and guitars and vocals and bagpipes. (Kidding. Maybe. Probably.)
So, come back here Thursday around 10:30AM CST or go to mogulus.com/sgtv to watch on a bigger screen.