Please Note: Due to uploading problems with blogger I posted Haden Family: Nashville Pt. 4 on my MOG page, the link is in the column on the right, or cut and paste http://mog.com/Josh_Haden into your browser.
Today was the final day of recording, and what a day it was!
None other than country music superstar Vince Gill came by the studio to sing a version of "Ramblin' Boy", accompanied by my dad Charlie Haden and Dan Tyminski on backing vocals.
What an incredible sounding three-part harmony! I videotaped a short excerpt of their rehearsal in the control room. In the video are, from left to right, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Dan Tyminski, Charlie Haden, Vince Gill, and Steve Rodby. My dad's wife Ruth Cameron is working on the computer in the far right corner.
Vince Gill is such an incredible singer and he's also one of the nicest people I've ever met. It was an honor to meet him and listen to him in the studio.
Next we finally recorded the last two of the three songs I sing on. First was a faster, country-fied version of my song "Spiritual", with myself on vocals, Russ Barenberg on acoustic guitar, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Dan Tyminski on mandolin, and my dad on bass.
Country legend Johnny Cash recorded "Spiritual" for his 1996 album "Unchained", but he stayed more-or-less true to the tempo and arrangement of the song as it was recorded by my band Spain on Spain's first album, 1995's "Blue Moods Of Spain".
Russ, Jerry, Stuart, and Dan sped up the tempo a bit and gave it a much more defined country styling, and I loved it! It has a real country soul gospel sound, and singing to it was a joy.
During the lunch break we took photos for the inside of the Haden Family cd jacket and I snapped a picture of my sisters looking all fancy.
After lunch we started recording the final song of our session, a vocal version of my dad's composition "American Dreams" from his 2002 album with Michael Brecker of the same name.
A few months ago my dad asked me to write lyrics to "American Dreams", which appears as an instrumental (with strings beautifully arranged by pianist Alan Broadbent) in its original version.
Anybody who knows me knows how much I love the national anthem as an art form, and that was the approach I took when writing the lyrics to "American Dreams"; writing the lyrics as if I were writing a pretend or perhaps alternative national anthem (not that I'm suggesting we need another U.S. National Anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner" is one of the most beautiful and moving songs ever written, in my opinion).
In the lyrics I praised the core values and beliefs of my country's founding fathers, while expressing concern that these values may have changed over the years into something the founding fathers would never have approved of.
The words I wrote for "American Dreams" extol the virtues of true love (love in its purity, if such a thing is possible) over materialism and that these virtues are, in my opinion, the real meaning of the American Flag.
Anyways, to make a long story short, the version of the song we recorded in the studio was nothing short of amazing, and it was a perfect way to end a productive, nostalgic, joyful, emotional, melodical, fun, and amazing musical family recording experience.
A million thanks to all of the great musicians who helped us with their out-of-this-world chops, and the studio techs whose expertise and skill were indispensible.
A special shout-out to Mark Fain for helping make everything possible and for his friendship.
Most of all thank you Ricky Skaggs and everyone at Skaggs Place Studio for being such gracious hosts. It was a true honor and I will never forget your hospitality.
Here is myself and Studio Assistant Lee Groitsch.
Best Studio Intern awards go to Morgan Hobbs and Dean Berner.
Here is my dad and engineer Bil VornDick
Tomorrow night we'll be going to the Grand Ole Opry to see how its REALLY done!
I'll be back next week with a new blog detailing my interesting life. Until then...