Our album is underway! We have settled into the castle keep at the Risque Disque Records studio in Ladysmith, B.C. Todd Dunsmore and Anthony Sharkey operate this unique looking studio in Yellowpoint. “Nestled among the rolling hills and groves of evergreen trees in the rural Vancouver Island community of Yellowpoint, Risque Disque Records is an independent record label and fully-equipped recording studio in a quiet, natural environment. Built inside a three-storey stone barn, and designed by world-renowned studio designer and sound engineer Fred Gilpin.”
We have had some very busy but extremely fun-filled days working in the studio with our producer, Ray Materick, and the talented players who have joined us on this project.
When we first started to talk to Ray about who we would get to play on this recording, he had one percussionist in mind, and when he mentioned Dave Tolley, we burst out laughing. Years ago we had seen Dave play, first with Xavier Rudd on Jimmy Kimmel Live and then at the Duncan Garage Showroom and the Vancouver Island Folk Festival with his band Nine Mile. We were so impressed with Dave’s playing we actually said to each other that if we were making up a dream band, Dave Tolley would be our drummer. We couldn’t believe that he was now living in the area and would love to join us on our album!
Our favorite memory of recording the drums came when it was time to record “Circles Around You”. We were outside catching a breath of fresh air between songs and Dave asked Jess what she wanted for the feel of this song. She said, I don’t know how this translates to drumming, but imagine the ocean crashing against the rocks on the beach in a storm. Dave smiled and said that he understood. We went inside and tracked the song and when Dave was done the whole room burst into spontaneous applause. It was so moving, so powerful. The waves hitting the rocks on a beach on a stormy day…
We have known multi-instrumentalist Martyn Jones for years, as he is everywhere on the Cowichan Valley music scene, and when it came time to find someone to play the bass parts Marty’s name came up repeatedly. He is experienced, competent and versatile, not to mention groovy. We worked Marty hard, promising him sandwiches and treats as a reward. Dance Up The Power was a particularly rigorous part that Ray had formulated. Marty only had to rest a few times when his hand would start to cramp! We are so fortunate to know Marty.
Glen Foster has known and played with Ray Materick since the early 70’s and they both ended up on Vancouver Island. What a bonus for us! Glen’s diverse guitar skills play out on this recording. From country acoustic guitar solos on Deliver Me to soulful Stratocaster on Circles Around You to rock and roll with his Gretsch White Falcon on Dance Up The Power, Glen gave us everything. The consummate professional.
We had always imagined some of these songs we are recording on this album with strings, and Ray went out and found the man for the job. Blaine Dunaway walked into the studio, sat down in the booth, and began to track Circles Around You. By the time he was through the first verse and into the chorus we three girls were huddled together on the couch with tears streaming down our faces. We were so moved by his hauntingly beautiful interpretation of this song.
And now it is our turn! We have tracked the piano and acoustic rhythm guitar parts, and now it is time for the vocals. Barb and Jade have their harmony parts down and Jess is ready to take on those leads… Let’s have some fun!!