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It's My Time - The Face of 68

The Face of 68

In January, I went into Overdub Lane studio in Durham, about six minutes from my house. Overdub is owned and operated by my friends Lisa and Wes Lachot, Wes being a studio designer of great repute. 

And I have recorded there with The dB's in the past, but most recently with The Paranoid Style, the brilliant brainchild of writer Elizabeth Nelson and her husband Timothy Bracy, recording The Interrogator last year. 

Our engineer was the extraordinarily talented sonic architect Jason Richmond, who took the directive to 'make the guitars sound like Eliminator' and ran with it. 

It was, to say the least, a transformative experience for me, as I jumped willingly out of my comfort zone and became lead guitar player for one of the coolest bands I've heard in decades. The proof is in the pudding, which was baked the next month at the 40 Watt in Athens when Paranoid Style opened for Drive-By Truckers at the latter's annual HeAthens Homecoming. I think it's safe to say we wowed the DBT fans (as well as wowing ourselves in the process).

I'm incredibly proud to be a part of this group now, and I am eternally grateful for Elizabeth and Tim's confidence in me, which has given me a new reason to believe IT'S MY TIME finally. 

That said, strapping on that new-found confidence like an explosive vest, I booked time at Overdub with Jason to cut a solo album. My plan was to upend what I did on Game Day several years ago by hiring a real producer (Don Dixon), a real bassist (Robert Sledge), a real drummer (Rob Ladd) and work in a real studio like Overdub with a real engineer like Jason at the board. 

It's tentatively entitled The Face of 68.

Having already made the 'one-guy-plays-and-records-and-mixes-everything' record, it was time to present my new songs with something more, erm, palatable and listenable. 

So we went in with no rehearsal, just my demos for the gents to acquaint themselves with. We cut eleven basics, of which we are using ten (and Dixon has 'tarted-up' one of the demos for the eleventh). 

The sensitivity of the rhythm section to the songs was nothing short of remarkable, like a big gift to me and my tunes. We should all be so fortunate to have people like Rob and Robert play on (and apparently really like) recordings like these. 

I sang every take with my new post-potsmoking voice, which was stronger and brighter and able to wrap around the words like wisteria on a trellis. My feeling was that, after 50+ years as a pot-smoker, it was time to move on, which proved invaluable to me as a singer.

I played almost exclusively electric guitar, using my roadworthy Tele/Esquire, my finally-deserved Les Paul Standard and my workhorse Epi ES 339. I used my Silvertone 604EAVS parlor acoustic for one song (I am, after all, a Silvertone endorsee). The studio's amp selection is immaculate, but I used my trusty Fender Pro Jr for most of the record, with a couple tracks through their Princeton Reverb and a Carr of unknown model designation. Once I even went through the Leslie. 

(And we even tried to contact the actual Face of 68 to get Peter Frampton to play a brief guitar solo, but he was busy preparing for the tour he's on at present, so that was a no-go, unfortunately.)

We had Mark Simonsen come in for some Hammond B3 also, and he, too, captured the spirit. 

After 3.5 days, we were done at Overdub. Dixon went home to Canton OH where he began mixing. He added some bits and filigree, and I was able to persuade Marti Jones to sing harmony on one song, which elevated it to the stratosphere. Marti, as you probably know, is not actively pursuing music as a vocation these days; her paintings are simply stunning and are a perfectly good reason for having left 'the biz.' But her singing is as sterling as ever, and I'm thrilled she agreed to sing on my record.

The mixing process is in its second phase (where I tell Dixon what all I like and what I'd change and why, and he changes things or he tells me why it might be a bad idea to add something, and we end up with something better sounding). 

And we've begun sending it out to some labels we think might have an interest in releasing it.

I like it an awful lot. I hope you will too, once it's released. Stay tuned!


Anonymous said…
Absolutely fabulous Peter, I can't wait!
George said…
Sounds terrific, Peter--so looking forward to it.
Jefferson Hart said…
Exciting news! Thanks for the update.
Greg said…
Marti and Don are the best. Can’t go wrong with them contributing to your album!! Can’t wait to hear it!!!
Anonymous said…
Tremendous news. Although I'm sorry you had to step away from the 420, you sound as if you are truly living your best life. Keep on keeping on, and can't wait to hear the finished product.
halfpear said…
It was time to stop smoking, because, honestly, if I was no longer feeling anything appreciable, it had become a money pit.
Will Kimbrough said…
Can’t wait to hear!

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