The “Shadows Sessions” Story

A little over 10 years ago I played my first open mic at a small coffee shop in Clemson South Carolina. Since then I have performed countless times all over the United States. I have also written, recorded, and released multiple albums and singles of original songs. Which are all things I never thought I would do.

One of the more difficult things for songwriting artists to get accomplish is getting professionally produced versions of their original songs… because the costs can be significant. Even if you find someone to help you at friend prices (which I was lucky enough to have sometimes), it’s still necessary to get them mastered which is generally another $25 per minute of audio.

So for example, the “Shadows Sessions” album I just finished would have cost $1K just to master, which would have been out of the question right now. Fortunately, there is a new Artificial Intelligence based mastering system called Landr that was only $10 per song… so $100 for the 10 song album. Which made it doable.

After my last attempt to get a 5 song EP recorded turned into getting 1 song done because of the costs. Around that time it was suggested by a producer I connected with online that I get the Slate VMS ML-1 microphone and Logic Pro X to record and edit myself cutting down on the long term audio production costs. So I did and awaited the opportunity and space to record.

When I rented a cheap apartment in Fort Myers Florida in January 2020, it seemed to be exactly what I needed to get this done. I had already started working on it, but when the world locked down I was able to take advantage of this time and record all of my original songs and use those recordings to learn to use the many features of logic including beats, MIDI, instruments, etc… and build out my songs with a full band… and more haha.

I even found a great guy from London (Thanks Julian) to give me some 1-on-1 Logic audio production training (including eventually creating a pro plugin template for the final mixes). Which led to me finding out that all my recordings so far were not going to work because of ambient noise, echos, or whatever haha.

But his suggestion to use a cheap solution consisting of acoustic foam squares that I got on Ebay for $20 then hollowed out a mic opening, and the comforter from my bed. Worked perfectly and allowed me to get at least all the guitar and vocal tracks recorded in the quality necessary for high level professional audio production.

As I worked with all the instruments and dug deeper into all the complexities of music arrangements, instruments, etc… I was reminded that I’m pretty much winging this whole “musician” thing haha.

I strum and pick the simplest chords there are and change keys with a capo. Then write and sing words to those melodies. It seems that since that’s what I actually know how to do, then I really have no business trying to do all that advanced musicianship without the training.

So I decided to put together a raw acoustic album. An actual album like they used to be… where consideration is given to which songs and in what order the melodies, tempos, lyrical content, etc… flow as a full experience.

“Shadows Sessions” consists of both new, unreleased songs and new recordings of previous releases. Creating an existential and reflective musical journey over the course of 10 acoustic folk songs (37 minutes).

It’s just my voice, my words, and my acoustic guitar.

And just as I was finishing things up with the audio, my long-time friend Phil Patterson and professional photographer / musician was able to get me some great shots and especially one that captured what I was looking for to use for the album cover.

I now feel that I have a solid musical product that represents what my music is… love it or hate it… and everything in between… this is what I’m capable of doing. And I think it turned out as good as I could have hoped for with my current options. I hope you enjoy it!

~Chords of Truth