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Hello everyone! Wow! Here I am on the blog! Thank you for noticing my record out of gazillions released every day! Just wanted to tell you a little about the amazing cast and crew that are responsible for this record bring art to life. @GabrielRhodes along with myself, produced every song on this album, all of which were written my me, #StaceyGarretson. I grew up outside of Austin, and after years of session singing in LA, I decided to take it “home” to make this record. So I headed to Austin, and had the amazing foturne to work with Gabe, son of legendary singer/songwriter Kimmie Rhodes as my producer. The band I assembled is to me, the Austin All Stars, as each musician on this record has had a career and been a part of such amazing projects that it’s impossible to list all of their accomplishements. On drums and percussion, #DonyWynn, whose credits includ #RobertPalmer, Brookes & Dunne, and Gary Newman, on bass, #GlennFukunaga, who tours with The #DixieChicks, the one and only #Will Sexton on lead guitar and anything that you maybe confusing wiht a cellow or lapsteele, is actually Will playing ambient lines that only Will could concieve and execute. I am a huge fan of Will’s music, and after having heard “#Move the Balance” I knew that I wanted to work with Will. #Gabriel #Rhodes played everything you can name on this record: Rythym guitar, Lead guitar, Banjo, Dobro, Mandolin, Piano, Accordion, Pump Organ, Hand Harp, keyboards for strings and woodwind quartet, percussion, and ??? There really isn’t anything Gabe Rhodes can’t do. He ran the gauntlet producing this record with genres ranging from true country, to Texas Roadhouse, to alt Americana, clasical and musical theatre influenced “In 100 Years” and “#Josephine” to the crowning jewel, a 40 Torch Song ballad “#In a Fair World” that we had the amazing #DonnieTrumpet playing, along with JP Trombone Fl yd,and Irving Pierce on horns and bacground vocals. Legendary Chicago pianist Bob Solone played Wurlitzer on that track as well. Greg “Lightening Bolt” Holt lent his Fiddle licks to Itty Bitty Nitty Gritty, which just completley made that song everthing it needed to be on top of Gabe playing virtually everything on the record aside from bass and drums!
The cast of players was not to be outdone by the crew of engineers that made this record happen. We began on New Year’s Day at Yellow Dog studios, with Matt Meli at the board. When we came back in April, we cut six tracks in one day..that’s how great these guys were….whole band, whole takes, TO TAPE!! And Matt captured it all. As I live in Chicago, Gabe, after doing the rest of the production and overdubs,would send me the tracks, where I recorded all the vocals at #CarterCO Studios with #DrewMantia #FeelGoodMusic. I found Drew through an act of God, and the fact that he had U87, which aside from a U47, is my favorite mic to record very airy vocals on. Drew was a dream come true. The complete package: Unmatched technical expertise, a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, Music Performance, thus the ears of a musician, and a work ethic and attitude that I wish I could clone and inject into anyone I ever work with. Drew had the patience of Job to see my vision through on all of the layering and background vocals arrangments, all of which I sang. So it was a LOT of singing, with some songs having 20 vocal lines running simultaneously. I have no words for how much I appreciate Drew for all his professionalism on a very challenging record. #BradleyHartman, who began his career wokring wiht #RodneyCrowell and #RoseanneCash, who has more gold and platinum records out of Nashville than one can count, had landed in Austin, and was the house engineer at #SunbirdStudios, owned by #KimmieRhodes and #GabrielRhodes. So I was lucky enough to have Bradley record the last four songs on the record, and all of Gabe’s overdubs. He was the only choice to mix these tracks. The synergy between Gabe and Brad after years of working together lent an ease to understanding how this record should sound, and Brad’s niche of polishing a vocal sound was exactly what I looking for, as I choose to record all vocals completely dry…even in my ear phones. Wrapping up production, was another “bucket list” wish of mine…to have worked with the legendary musician, producer, and engnieer, Mark Hallman, who is known for hundreds of artits, including #CaroleKing. That was a list I wanted to be on. The culmination of Matt, Drew, Brad and Mark’s work was the art on the cover, which was done by world reknown graphic artist #DennisMukai. Dennis did a protrait of me, and all the graphics that I truly felt visually represented the intention of this record. I chose songs that were very personal, messages to people I needed to know how I’d felt about them, and it was highlyt introspective with regard to my politics, my values, who I am as a woman, a mother, a lover, and human being. I didn’t try to write a hit. This was all for the art of music, and I payed no attention to genre rules, or trying fit a radio station’s format. I wrote what I felt, and recorded it as such, so for me it was an #artrecrod. When I saw Dennis’ visual, considered how no take of any song was past take three by a group of geniuses that walked in, wrote their chart, and played the song..and were done after three takes…I knew the title to this record was “Living Art” as it was essentially recorded live in studio. I just wanted to see if anyone was still good enough to do it old school and have it still be a modern record using old school level of achievement to cut it in three.
It’s been a labor of love…many doubts, moments of elation, some disappointments, but in the end, everything I envisioned this record could be. I wanted to run the gammut of American Music, and that is in my eyes, what Americana really is….all of the various influences of American music, from Roots, to Country, to Rock, to Classical, to Broadway, to The Blues,..it’s all on this record.
I am deeply grateful to all of the people who contributed to the record on both the music performance and techinical sides. But I must reserve a special thank you to Gabe Rhodes for taking this project under his wing, seeing it through, and giving his heart and sould to every note he played, every direction he took, and every time he told me no, when I was running amok. 🙂 I don’t believe another producer could have arranged this wide an array of songs or concieved and brought to life everything I had in my mind….which I have to say, at times, it felt like he could literally read. I would think a line, and then he would play it. It was a musical connection that rarely occurs between a producer and an artist, and I will always be grateful to Gabe because he made this dream record of mine a reality.
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