The Making of Potshots From Over the Hill
This is a special album to me. Something I have been tinkering with for the past six years. A reimagining of some of my best unreleased songs. ‘Potshots From Over the Hill’ (Potshots) is a double album featuring sixteen new tracks updated for 2020, recorded across a 36-year period. It’s a bit of a Frankenstein project as well, presenting me with a bunch of technical hoops I had to jump thru. All in all I’m happy with it, and think the finished product holds together well.
For a little history: In September of 2014 I was in the inSync Asylum Studio B and had begun transferring my old eight track half inch reel-to-reel tapes into Cubase – my DAW of choice. The original intent was twofold – one to preserve that work, and two to maybe remix and release some of that music someday. Most of my 8 track recordings were on a Tascam 38 and were recorded July 1983 thru October 1993. As I approach my 63 birthday, I certainly realize that time is marching on. Considering my 40 plus years of writing and recording music – most of it original songs; I realize now that I was most likely at my peak during that ten-year stretch. Little of this work has been released into the digital world and has not been heard by most of my audience.
Something interesting happened with the transferred audio, and I’ve discussed this on my Podcast and utilized it in my last two releases – Magic Moon and Live From The inSync Asylum: Vol One. Both albums have tracks that I call Retreads – reel-to-reel tracks that I’ve brought into my current studio setup, and started working on as if they were modern day tracks. For more on that process, check out my Podcast as well as the making of docs for those two albums here and here.
The Basic tracks for Potshots were recorded in 1983-1993, with new overdubs added in 1997, 1999, and 2014-2020. For example, the song ‘You Define Mystery’ has parts recorded in 1988, 2014, 2018 and 2020. As I’ve discussed previously, one of the biggest challenges bringing all these different eras together was not only the different bit rates, formats, tempos, etc. but the need to correct the pitch of the different parts as well. Only one song has been released previously – ‘Baby Blues’, in a different version from my 2001 album ‘A Matter of Time’ – though I stole a guitar part from it and added it to the new version, whose basic track was recorded live to tape in 1991. ‘Crying’, another song from that same live to tape session in ’91 has never been released in any form or version, even to my close friends. My goal was to make these songs sound like they were recorded at the same time. Without the technology available today, this kind of digital voodoo would not have been possible. Pretty much all of the tracks have new bass and drum parts added. For me, the drums and drum machines on the original recordings are what makes them sound dated, so they had to go or be layered in with the new drums. Six songs have the original vocals, while the other 10 have new vocals. Most have the original guitars with new guitars added. The same goes for the keyboards.
Check out the image below from the compact disc release, to see the recording dates for each song.
This caps off a busy five year run for me, where I came back to music after a nearly 15 year break, and released six albums and eleven singles. As always, I’d love to know what you think of the new album. Till then, stay well, wear your mask and Happy Holidays.