Recording like song writing is usually a slow process for me.
I start by cutting some very rough demos of songs on my own.
I usually just hit record on my computer and start to play.
I see what I can lay down and build it up from there.
I send it over to Charles Newman at Motherwest (my producer) and we take it in to his studio and talk about the arc, the mood, the options of the song.
But this is all just the beginning.
It can be very difficult to negotiate the translation of idea to reality. When I record I try to keep in mind that it's just me on the stage… I try to keep it simple and not over indulge myself just because I'm in a studio.
Sometimes I have success at this, sometimes I don't. But I do believe the greatest recordings out there are the ones that are so stripped, so simple, so to the point, that they have the ability to reach everyone.
I don't think I've ever succeeded at this, but I'm trying. I play as much as I can when I record. I've learned that I'm not very good at articulating my thoughts for songs to other musicians, so to circumnavigate that I choose to do as much as I can on my own…which in turns informs my live shows.
It's easy to fetishize recording to tape. It's real. It's tangible. It has it's own character that for better or worse will leave it's footprint on your recording.
When you are finished, you can put it on your shelf and have physical record of everything that happened in the studio. It works for me. It does take longer. It is more expensive. But at least for my type of music it makes sense.
All that muddled warmth and quiet hum it produces… it's beautiful. I love the sound of the tape rewinding in my headphones… in some ways it helps me relax after a bad take.
Even on metaphorical level it acts as a reset button. And when I'm recording, I tend to need to reset a lot.
Listen to “A Good Friend of Mine” from Dark Was The Yearling
The Bones of J.R. Jones is the brainchild of Jonathan Linaberry. Linaberry performs and completely inhabits the persona of the early-twentieth-century blues musician, The Bones of J.R. Jones. “For me it’s an outlet more than anything else.” His new EP Dark Was the Yearling, is out now. More at ttps://www.facebook.com/TheBonesofJ.R.Jones