The San Francisco Sessions - Day 3 February 16th – 1st day of the session.

You know when you have something exciting planned? And you live the dream-version for a while in your head, until the big day comes. My big day was February 16th 2015. I’m still living the dream version.

From a day packed of special moments, I can barely scratch the surface in this blog, not without making myself late for the next day. So I will have to just jot down a few of the hightlights, for now.

First of all, both the warmth and commitment shown by everyone here is humbling. I wouldn’t mind – wouldn’t even notice – if some of the little details were only 90, 95% right. They know this. But it simply isn’t the point for them. They give their all. And it’s a privalige to watch.

While Matt (co-producer and engineer and Terry (engineer) were setting up the studio, I sat pensively cradling my small acoustic guitar watching James and Chuck jamming on theirs, taking their cue from Vicente’s drum beats and he tried out different styles. I was grinning, thinking, ‘why would I want to interrupt this magic with my own songs?’

Playing the outro with the band on the first sweet take, relaxed having remembered the new structure and knowing there was nothing left for me to get wrong.

Play a better later version, watching James’s hands and eyes to guide me on the bits we’d changed and I was liable to forget. Realising that I was PLAYING with him!

Hearing Kevin, at 8pm when Chuck had told the band they could go, say that he wanted to record another track, for safety, to cover any imperfections that might show up in the mix. James did the same thing.

Chuck taking me, afterwards, to an acoustic night at The Make Out Room (on 22nd, off Mission) where he introduced me to a lovely fella named Pat, who told me about a beautiful hour’s drive up or down from SF on Route 1. And where I saw Sylvie Simmons and got to tell her how much I loved her Leonard Cohen biography. I always love getting a change to thank people who’s work means a lot to me. She reciprocated by saying she really wants to know how my session turns out.

But I think my favourite moment was when James had gone back to overdub some 12-string. Matt was fussing over a ‘crack pop’ noise that was driving him nuts (see, commitment!) and Chuck was urging him to let it pass while James was doing his bit. Chuck was loving James’s playing – simple but beautiful whole-note chords. ‘He’s in the zone’ Chuck said.

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