What an amazing, amazing week!
It was an epic six days at Phase One as we lay down the bed tracks for 32 songs! I’m still not sure I have my head wrapped around this incredible experience, but the one thing I did come away with is how amazing all the musicians are in their own right. It was such an honour to work with these great session players and performers. Don, as a producer, is fabulous and the arrangements are just stunning. One of the things I was in complete awe of: the many great songs and songwriters that this nation produces. As I sat there absorbing the lyrics of these gorgeous melodies I was singing, I was filled with a sense of pride. It was really emotional to share them with the everyone in the studio. And it’s a really exciting step in the whole process – to start bringing these songs to life and reimagining them.
I want to thank everyone who was there – from Don Breithaupt as my fabulous producer and pianist; the awesome musicians Mark Kelso on drums, Pat Kilbride on bass, Justin Abedin on guitar and Lou Pomanti for a few piano appearances. For their patience and their excellent ears – the Juno Award-winning John Bailey and his assistant engineer Milan Sarkadi. I’d also like to thank my vocal coach Lorraine Lawson for helping me stay stylistically true to the arrangement – she’s awesome at doing cross-genre music. And finally, Olivier Picard from Parce Que Films and photographer Greg Locke who captured the week for posterity.
And I must say, Retriever Records president Amy T. Dog and Princess Audrey weathered the week very well…I’m more “dog” tired than they are!
But I’m also elated, not only because everything is going so well, but also in realizing how personal this project is becoming. In singing these songs, I’ve visualized so much imagery of Canada in my mind. I keep thinking of the gorgeous and diverse landscape or our country and how it has shaped us all. The sincerity and authenticity of the songwriters, the many magnificent people that make up this country, the immense talent we have collectively as a nation – it’s all very humbling.
I’m feeling very proud and grateful to be Canadian at this moment, and I only imagine those feelings intensifying as we move on to the orchestral sessions later this month, beginning March 22 in Edmonton.
Milan Sarkadi, John Bailey, Lorraine Lawson, Eleanor McCain, Don Breithaupt, Pat Kilbride, Mark Kelso, Justin Abedin
All photos: Greg Locke