Lucy looking like a pro!
This past July my niece and nephew came to visit me for the first time.
I planned for this visit for months; fixed up the yard, cleaned, cleaned, cleaned and booked 3 hours of studio and engineer time at The Parlor here in Nashville. My brother had told me that Lucy, my 12 year old niece, was getting interested in music and theater at school. So, with a sincere longing to become closer to a family I hardly know, I decided to ask Lucy if she would like to sing a duet with me – a song I wrote – in a real recording studio. Lucy’s response was simply, “Yes please!”
A month or so earlier, in our regular writing session, my dear friend C J Watson and I wrote a song based on a title I had, “Ordinary Day”. We wrote it for Tricia Yearwood but it was the perfect song for a young lady to sing with me backing her up all the way; and for the more mature lines I would fill in.
As the day approached, I stressed and stressed over how it would go; Could I teach her what I know without freaking her out? Would my constant intensity and perfectionism run her off forever? Could we have fun in my introducing her to a world that she knew little about but that I have worked and created in for decades?
Robin Ruddy ready to track the guitars
The experts all say that the key to happiness is not in the stuff we acquire, the success we achieve or financial wealth. The key is in the experiences we have with family and friends – What do we remember most, say they? “Holidays, vacations, proms, weddings…” and possibly recording sessions? I agree.
This is me counting Lu in
The big day arrived. We shipped the boys off to go Zip Lining and headed to the studio. My friend Robin Ruddy helped me lead the day along, charting and playing guitar as if it were a normal guitar/vocal session on any other ordinary day.
Lucy and I were in adjacent recording booths with a window between us so I could count her in when she wasn’t quite sure where to enter and make faces at her when I thought she might be getting a little hard on herself. We are, after all, cut from the same cloth.
Lucy punching a line
We sailed through the vocals, comped a track, punched in a line or two here and there, after deciding not to fly the choruses. As Lucy heard Robin, our engineer, Matt Legg and me talking through all of this in our short-hand studio-eeze, she said, “Should I be getting concerned here? I mean, we’re comping, and flying and punching and cutting and pasting and I’m not really sure I like the sound of it!” My little niece brought down the house with her dry wit and quick sense of humor. Delightful!
Lucy was lovely, funny, fun, confident and beautiful. She sang like an angel and listened to every bit of coaching I gave her – and I saw her grow. My mother and HER mother watched and listened from the control booth and heard her blossom from a little girl to a slightly older more experienced one. So many generations understanding one another on a higher plane; maybe for the first time ever.
Me singing a line or two
I guess the best part of it all was that I’ve never been happier. I felt important in my world; a world in which I have to fight for every drop of validation. I felt like a mentor and I felt like maybe I had changed Lucy’s life in one small way…forever. In all the days I’ve had the privilege (well mostly) of living, this was one of the top finest of all time. Not such an ordinary day after all.
Click here to listen to “Ordinary Day”