Simple, Not Easy

I read a killer article the other day.

The basic premise was this: Life isn’t easy, but it IS simple.

Boom. Isn’t that good?

Okay, how do we unpack that idea in a way that helps us make better music? Here are a few examples to work our way there:

Eating healthy isn’t easy, but it is simple. This year Pam and I have dramatically changed the way we eat. I’ve lost about 15 pounds and don’t see myself stopping. For the longest time we would try to find the perfect eating plan, the perfect diet that would make us be more healthy. As it turns out, it doesn’t really matter what you do when it comes to eating healthy. It doesn’t take a genius to know that junk food is bad for you and vegetables are good for you. We wanted to find something easy. It turns out we needed something simple instead. (more…)

This Makes Me a Horrible Blogger

I’ve been blogging and YouTubing since 2009. That’s a pretty long time in internet years. When I first started out, I read every article I could get my hands on about how to write blog posts and headlines and emails, etc. Everyone had a formula. “This 3-Step Formula Will Double Your Subscribers.” Stuff like that.

The things is, those formulas work…sort of.

We’ve all fallen prey to the super catchy headline that promises something amazing or interesting or surprising if we just click the link. After all, that’s the purpose of the headline, to get your attention. (Hello, click-bait.)

So I tried the formulas, and they kinda worked. But the problem with formulas is that once you start using them, you feel like you have to use them everywhere.

“If formulas work for things like headlines, then I should create formulas for how I record and mix things,” I thought to myself. So I would start coming up with “My 7-Step Formula for…” and “3 Secrets to a Better…” (more…)

Living a Better Story

I re-read a book by Donald Miller recently that I just love. It’s called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Don is a Christian writer, but his stuff doesn’t read like a typical religious book. It’s more like the random, thoughtful ramblings of a Christian who’s trying to make sense of this crazy life. (I mean no disrespect to Don, I really connect with his books.)

One of the themes of the book is the idea of story — what makes up a good story. The elements of story are similar to the elements of life. What makes a good story makes a good life.

Don comes back again and again to the question “Am I living a good story? Or is there a better story I could be living?”

Don suggests that we can actively insert ourselves into a better story, especially if we find ourselves in a dull or unexciting one. (more…)

0 + 0 = 0

I just got back from the NAMM show out in California. It was a fun time. I got to meet some great folks and hang out with new and old friends.

I attended a talk by big-time drummer Kenny Aronoff. He’s quite a character, super entertaining. He was talking about some of the keys to his loooong successful career in the business. One thing he said was:

0 + 0 = 0

A few times at NAMM I heard successful folks acknowledge that luck was a part of their success, but they were quick to say that the luck was in the opportunity that presented itself to them. What set them apart was that they were prepared for that moment when it arrived. (more…)

“Free” by Joe Gilder (ft. Low Pro)

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. (more…)

Across the Room and Under a Microscope

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. (more…)

The Number One No-No of Recording

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…

(more…)

2016 in Review and Planning for 2017

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. (more…)