I was going to write a blog and give a little bit of background on the recording process, etc. but then Ralph posted this lovely piece on Facebook and I thought to myself – this tells the same story but from a different perspective. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Barry Mc Cabe – My Hometown Virginia
These are strange times, indeed. It might not make a lot of sense to release a song now, but on the other hand, I think a lot of you folks out there will enjoy this. We recorded and mixed this song on November the 9th & 10th of 2019. The world was a lot different then.
I’ve known and worked with Barry for almost 30 years now. We like to “wing it” when we work together. No plan, no safety net, let’s just see where the music takes us. After the last project we did (the soundtrack to Suzanne’s beautiful documentary “Zielen van Utrecht”), Barry told me he had one more song he wanted to record. I hadn’t heard the song prior to the recording session. I knew it was gonna be an acoustic folk song, so I set up the mikes and guitars I figured would get the job done and off we went. Now, if you know anything about recording music, you know that the most important job is to capture the best possible performance. Preparation is key. And I know Barry well enough to know that the second or third attempt at the song is usually “the one”. This session was no exception. Take two was the keeper.
I must confess that it had me in tears for a moment, there. That’s because the meaning of the song got to me: it isn’t as much about longing to be in one’s “hometown”, but more about remembering it fondly and treasuring those memories. And as long as the memories are there, we can always “go home”. And having lost my mother a couple of months earlier, that sentiment struck a nerve. It still does. It’s an ode to the memories we’ve made that are important enough to us to remember.
Over coffee, we discussed what else the song might need. We figured a second guitar could work. It took me a couple of passes to find the right part. I didn’t want anything to distract from the vibe and feel of the basic track. Barry sang a beautiful harmony part, and I added a high harmony on the choruses. Then I added the harmonium, which is complementary to the “Irish” feel of the track.
The next day we recorded Ruurd and his magic harmonica. He was given the difficult task to add some icing on the cake and pulled that off brilliantly. Usually after a recording session I take a few days before I start mixing, but this one felt so good, I mixed and mastered it the same day and we were happy with it. Really happy.
And then here comes a global pandemic. Everybody’s lives are touched by this. Life as we knew it is gone, might be gone for a long time. And on the other hand, it might help us remember what’s really important. A sense of place, a sense of purpose. Hopefully this song helps with that, or at least brings you some joy. If it does, please share it and take care of each other.