Shaya - The Album - Credits
SHAYA ~ the album took me over three years to complete.
It all began when I met my wife, Ri, in Costa Rica. Then we had our first child, Shaya.
It wasn't long after that glorious day that the songs came flowing out of me. Recordings began in 2004 when I returned to Denmark for a short visit. I brought string quartet arrangements and a couple of pop songs to begin.
It was great having a reunion with Casper Hansen on bass, Stefan Krey on guitar and Anders Pedersen on drums. I spent many years in Copenhagen writing and performing so it was natural to make music again in my favorite country.
We recorded basic tracks for "Immigration Man" and "Waiting For Shaya" at the personal studio of blues pianist, Poul Reimann (who also played his Yamaha C-7 on Waiting For Shaya). The crescendo of these sessions was getting back together with violinist, Josefin Lykken Gude, who I have been close friends with since 1984. Josefin brought Mats Larssen on Cello, Helene Bordonaro on 2nd violin, and Astrid Christensen on viola for "Mother Of My Son".
I flew home with great excitement in having begun my first studio project in over ten years. THE GOLDEN ROAD, my debut album, was released on May 1, 1995. Next, I called engineer, Donnie Whitbeck, who worked with me on TGR and booked Electro Vox Studios in Hollywood to do basic tracks for "Daddy's Life" with legendary Ian Whitcomb on Ukulele and accordian. Ian brought Tim Emmons on upright bass and Randy Woltz on his homemade drums. It was wonderful recording on analog tape, getting the warm sound of the 1930s on that track.
Now I was ready to book Chris Rosa's home Studio in Toluca Lake for editing and vocal tracking. Chris and his girlfriend, Jillian Escobosa, who happens to be an incredible vocalist, warmly greeted me at the door for over a year while I went back and forth from tracking the rest of SHAYA abroad and bringing them the tracks for further production.
Chris helped me produce and inspire the overall sound of the record including editing, tracking, SFX and album cover concept. He also produced "The Music Box" which took days to create authentically from scratch. Jillian became my vocal coach, vocal producer and comp master. She inspired me to sing like I've never done before into a Nuemann U49. About six months later, I returned to Denmark for a second round of recordings. Thankfully, a snow storm hit Denmark shortly after I arrived and it forced me to stay inside Henrik's house in Holte (north of Copenhagen) for two straight days.
"Believe In Love" just flowed out of me and I wrote the string quartet chart just in time for my session at Medley Studios, Copenhagen. Josefin returned with the rest of her quartet and we performed for "World Of Wonder" and "Believe In Love". There was not a dry eye in the studio after that track was laid. Casper and Anders returned as well to Superstar Studios for a 12 hour session of basics where we cut "Who Will He Be", "Shayalala", "Costa Rica", and it's "All About Me".
Stefan, who co-wrote the guitar parts on "World Of Wonder", also returned to lay acoustic tracks on the new songs. Most of the making of SHAYA was about reuniting with musicians who i've known and performed with through the years and finding Jason Sinay in L.A. was the coolest. We hadn't seen each other for almost a decade and met at Kathleen Wirts 4th Street Recording in Santa Monica for a full day of guitars with Sejo.
Jason brought an incredible line up of six and 12 string vintage guitars that made most of rock'n roll history and we played acoustics opposite each other on "Baby" and "Together" (which was cut out of the final selection for SHAYA). Jason also jammed electrics on "It's All About Me" and ripped it on "Who Will He Be". We ended that session with a thai feast and memories of The Golden Road. The following month was dedicated to the brass section of the album.
The amazing blues pianist, Bob Malone, wrote me three fabulous horn charts and we tracked "Immigration Man" and "It's All About Me" at Electro Vox Studios with Steve Stassi on Trumpet, Larry Goldman on tenor saxophone (BTW-Larry overdubbed that burning sax solo on Me at Headroom Audio, Hollywood), Jeff Dellisanti on Baritone saxophone and Eric Jorgensen on trombone. Bob also played piano and Hammond organ on both tracks as well as performing on "Who Will He Be", "Shayalala", "That's What You Love" (great 1920's Scott Joplin piano vibe on that one), and battling accordians on "Daddy's Life". We later tracked further horns at Studio City Sound, Hollywood, for "Costa Rica".
Bob played a vital role in making SHAYA sound and feel like the kind of records I listened to when I was a kid. In between most of these sessions, I tracked my vocals with Chris and Jillian, most notably performing, World Of Wonder, in just one take in their little red velvet laden vocal booth downstairs. I also brought in soul singer, Clark Andersen, to sing back up vocals on a few tracks along with Chris and Jillian who, along with me, became the Charlettes on Waiting For Shaya.
After completing most of the instrumental overdubs and vocals on SHAYA, it was time to head out across the Mojave Desert for a reunion with the co-producer of THE GOLDEN ROAD and my dear friend, Jean Francois Brissette. Jean brought me to Dominic Messier's home studio in Las Vegas for a day of percussion with another dear friend from the old days, Kurt Rasmussen. There was a lot of love in the air that day for Kurt played percussions through most of SHAYA with ease and grace including the atmosphere on "Costa Rica" and the boom booms on "Shayalala". Jean also lent his talents on bass to "Believe In Love" and "Baby".
The following day I started chemotherapy for a rare bone cancer that was recently removed from my jaw.
Oh, did I forget to mention I produced most of SHAYA with the threat of death at my door? OK, so now you know. Chemo didn't stop me from mixing and mastering SHAYA. In fact, because of my situation, I was able to slowly put all the pieces together thoughtfully.
Chris Rosa rallied for mixing engineer, Bob Horn, to put his golden touch on the overall sound of SHAYA. Bob also studied at The Berklee College Of Music, Boston, and we both had the same taste for the concept of the mixing of the record. I let Bob do his magic and I came back a few weeks later to lend whatever ears I had functioning in assembling the multiple tracks. It was a meticulous process that stretched out for over four months until we were ready for mastering. Chris also recommended Gene Grimaldi at Oasis mastering, Burbank, and I'm happy he did for Gene stayed true with the natural sound of the record and polished SHAYA beautifully for it's virgin voyage to the printer.
I shot the cover of the album on film with my vintage Minolta at my home in Idyllwild, California, with Shaya's hands trying to play my 1927 Steinway grand. I also shot the other photos on the album and sat with art director and friend, Steve Rachwal, as he put it all together tastefully.
One last credit goes to my talented wife, Ri, who supported me throughout the making of SHAYA, my stuggle through cancer and the beautiful melody for "The Music Box", the opening song to the album.
I thank you all for giving your friendship, talent and support to the making of SHAYA.
It's good to be back on The Golden Road and so happy you came along for the ride.