Common Grace

Sometimes, a song springs forth fully formed, and all you have to do is grab an instrument, set up a microphone, and make history.

Other times, a song springs forth fully formed, and the production process is a mind-boggling, iterative process of trial and error, creating and sifting through countless layers, tweaking the arrangement, eventually ending up with a computer-crushing 100+ track behemoth that forces you to go out and buy another UAD card.

I’m delighted to say that this track is one of the former. Delighted because it’s actually done, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. As many of you know, when a musical project goes on for a long time, not only do the session files become more complex, your ears and your brain get fried: there’s a point at which you don’t know how to pick from the dizzying array of choices you’ve created.

Ultimately, I had to rely a lot on my bandmates to keep me from losing my mind, and also on the wise words of great producers. In both cases, I’m paraphrasing. I once read a Rick Rubin quote where he made the point that there’s no perfect way to produce a song–just the way you happen to be in the mood to produce it that day. Daniel Lanois is famous for saying that a mix is a performance. What kept me going was knowing that, as the process neared the end, I would simply have to make decisions as they occurred to me. You can’t go back to how it sounded a few months ago: even if it was “better,” even if you have the session files, it doesn’t matter because you’ve changed. You can’t hear it the same way anymore. You have to buck up and make decisions based on how it sounds to you today.

Anyway, the proof is in the pudding I suppose. Give a listen and see if you think I pulled it together in the end!