Since today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the US, I want to share a song and a story.

I’m a white guy. I grew up in a small town in Mississippi. We were a squarely upper middle class family. While there’s technically no segregation in Mississippi, it’s still a very segregated culture. White people live in this part of town. Black people live in that part of town.

Growing up, I remember feeling a distance between me and any black friends I would make. It was almost as if we were looking over our shoulders, waiting for someone to tell us we weren’t supposed to talk to each other.

Fast forward to a few years ago, and I met Donté. Read more »

Yesterday I did something I didn’t want to do.

See, was trying to come up with some new ideas for a series of videos to post on my YouTube channel. I couldn’t get this one idea out of my head. I mentioned it to Pam, and she thought it was a good idea. The only problem was, as I said already, I didn’t want to do it.

The topic? Songwriting. I love songwriting. I really do. Nothing we do in the studio happens until a song is written. I’ve written lots of songs over the years, but I’ve never talked much about my songwriting process. I’ve only ever written a song on camera once for a video series for my VIP Members.

When I thought about a video series on songwriting, one thing I knew for sure: I don’t want to “teach” songwriting. That feels pointless. “Hello, my name is Joe, and in this video I will give you my 4-step formula for writing a song.”

Barf. Read more »

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This week I’m BACK for 2017. We talk about motivation, AD/DA converters, recording drums, and what I got for Christmas.

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One of my buddies from college released an EP last year. His name is Seth Talley.

I attended the release party at a cool studio in Franklin, where they recorded a few live acoustic versions of the songs with a bunch of folks gathered around. It was sweet.

Being the dutiful friend that I am, I promptly forgot to buy the EP. Fast forward a few months, and I finally remembered, and I headed over to Amazon and snagged it up.

I ordered it right at the end of the workday, so I couldn’t listen to it in the studio. Instead, I played it on our little Bose system in our kitchen area while we got ready to eat dinner. Read more »

When you run a blog about home recording for almost eight years, it’s easy to get away from the basics. But as any football coach or guitar teacher will tell you, fundamentals are crucial.

Whether you’re new to recording and haven’t recorded a single note or you’ve recorded a thousand songs, you need the fundamentals. Today I want to expand on one of the most basic principles for recording. It’s so stinkin’ easy to forget about this one, but it truly is the unforgivable sin of recording.

But first a story…

Read more »

Every year I like to reflect back on the year and see what lessons I learned. It’s helpful to look at the big picture sometimes, and it helps me look forward to next year. So…off we go:

LESSONS I LEARNED IN 2016

2016 was an interesting year for me. Lots of great things happened, and I also worked through some less-than-great things. Here are a few highlights, lessons I learned in 2016:

Lesson #1 – Putting Yourself Out There Works

As you may recall, I want to play a show at Ryman Auditorium one day. It’s a ridiculously big goal for a guy like me. I honestly have no idea if I will ever achieve the goal, but thinking about it regularly helps me figure out what the next step is for me. I can’t get to the Ryman in a year, but I can figure out what the next step is supposed to be.

Here’s how it’s worked so far. Read more »