Wow, I am really toooo late with this update! My apologies!!!! So sorry about that. Seriously. Time is flying by and so much has happened, that I just couldn’t keep up. That’s why I am inviting you to look back with me to the past few days. I would like to take you on a trip for ‘Memories down Sweetgum Lane’ 🙂
6316 Sweetgum Lane
This is the street where our house was on and the place where my Nashville story commenced. From there we headed to the city, the studio and the cafés.
My first day here, I wanted to post a blog from our house. I did post it on Facebook, but I didn’t post it on the website (smart thinking, Yentl…). Yeah, to say the least, I wasn’t really thinking those first few days. For good reason though. Through a friend I arranged a gig at the legendary Bluebird Café during the Open Mic Night on Monday night. It’s a café that looks more like a shop on the outside, but where all the ‘greats’ of country music have started or have been discovered. It’s pretty hard to get in, because the selection is done by ‘first come, first serve’; you have to phone in and the first 25 calls on Monday morning get on the list. Lines open at 11AM and at 11:15AM all spots are filled. Thanks to some cool dude I made the top of the list. Awesome obviously. However, nerve wrecking as well, because I still get really nervous for performing. And so, the days before Monday, my head was really focused on that performance.
Sunday night I gained some last inspiration during a performance by Vince Gill and Rhonda Vincent in the Grand Ole Opry (I didn’t know her, but wow, she’s awesome!) Also, Henk (my producer) and I worked on some vocals to prepare the studio session with the musicians. In the meantime I also practiced my song.
Maandag: The Bluebird Café
That Monday we had to stand in line at 4PM. The doors opened at 6PM, but any later than 4PM and we wouldn’t have made the cut to get in. I wanted to take my ‘crew’ (my dad and Henk) with me inside, but only 80 visitors fit into the café. So, there we were. As they waited in the ‘visitors line’, I was waiting in the ‘artist line’ myself, standing next to a diehard Trump-fan who told me he only wrote songs about guns, guns and… guns. Ok-aaay… haha, well, you do that, sir. After waiting for an hour and a half we finally got to go inside for the moment of truth. It all happened pretty fast, because as fate would have it, I was the first one called to the stage. It was a really cool experience en even turned into a funny evening when Mr. Trump-fan started to sing his gun-song and half of the audience started cheering him. A pretty strong confirmation for us Europeans that we really were in the South. I survived the night with a relief, haha. Ready for the real reason I came to Nashville!
Dinsdag: Lamplight Studio
Finally, the day we worked towards for so long arrived and it was time for Henk, the musicians and I to bring together all our effort, ideas and inspiration in Chad Cromwell’s Lamplight Studio. Time to play some life into these songs! The studio was actually a renovated shed in the middle of nowhere, but certainly one awesome shed! Outside there was silence of the countryside, a lot of green, two horses and Quackers the duck who marched after Chad’s dog and the cat like a happy-pappy. Inside all the golden records and pictures on the wall of whom Chad had worked with (Lady Antebellum, Amy Grant, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young to name a few;).
I was completely overwhelmed. What a place, what a talent. As we started to record the first song I got even quieter with awe. These guys really know what they’re doing. The vibe, emotion and intention they’re adding to my songs, it’s almost moving and magical. How bizar, but more so, how cool is it to hear your own songs the way you intended them without even knowing it!? I enjoyed singing these songs on the barstool back home, but these creative minds working together really have brought my songs to a next level. Turning it up a notch… times a million! I felt it so intensely: This is the reason I came to Nashville… I think it turned out great and can’t wait to let you guys hear it!
Woensdag: Pedal Steel with Uncle Dan
After that long day in the studio we weren’t quite there yet. For one song we still needed a special instrument: the pedal steel. So, Henk and I visited Dan Dugmore (the legendary Uncle Dan:) to record that steel guitar. Again, somewhere in the countryside there was an old white house with a big tree next to it and a man on the porch waving us welcome. From the get go he was full of stories about his house, his horses, his duck (another duck), but mostly about his music. In his studio (that looked more like a living room from the 70s) he told us that he had toured in Amsterdam with Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor and actually played on JT’s song ‘Carolina in my Mind’ (one of my all time favorites:) I nearly fell of that old leather 70s couch of amazement, haha. He was a real sweet guy:) After his stories it was time to record. Henk started the track, the intro started and Dan started to play. I swear, from the first notes he played I got goosebumps and choked up. Wow, how does this instrument lay so much emotion in a song? And how does this guy know how to strike the right chord? It’s a lame cliché, but… I can’t describe it in any other way.
So, we’ve now recorded all the instruments and made a hundred backups of everything, haha. We’ll protect this piece of gold with our lives:) The more I let everything that’s happened sink in a bit, the happier I get, because I realize that whatever it is we’re doing, it’s beautiful. I think it’s going to be awesome and I’m very happy I came to Nashville to do this. The next few days I’ll be afterglowing on this:)
A new update will come soon(er than later:)
Photos: Hellenthal Studios