4/12/18 - Learning to get out of the way.

Today marks a big day for the album. All of my work is done as-of today. The record officially rests in the hands of others: the rest of the band is reviewing and making comments on the final produced track, then everything goes into the capable hands of our good friends McKay and Piper for final mixing and mastering. The last time I was in this place, handing off an entire album's worth of material to the pros for polishing, it was almost 4 years ago.

Needless to say, it's an emotional moment. So, it's appropriate to post a particularly emotional track. This song, called "Fault," is special in a distinct way from every other track on the album (and almost every track in Great Highway history). It's special because, I had basically nothing to do with it.

My job as bandmate on stage during this tune is to play a very subtle line on keyboard, written by our keyboardist Sarah, who moves off of the keys to sing a spotlight solo.

Similarly, my job as producer of the studio track was to basically step out of the way of the performance - edit it, produce it, sure, but with no bells and whistles, no extra synths or bonus effects. The instrumentation features Sarah playing keys and singing; Makiko on violin as usual, and Sean on guitar. Meredith composed all the drum sampling herself in a session in late 2017. She even helped me edit the studio tracks just last week.

This is only the second time that I've had no hand in composing, arranging and playing a Great Highway studio performance. The first was all the way back in 2012 with Summer's "Sad Songs," but that track featured only two people, Summer and our lead guitarist at the time Earl. "Fault" is a unique full-band performance that I get to step aside and watch, an ensemble Great Highway song for which I play the role of the audience for the very first time. It's a testament to how far the band has come in 6 years of playing, since those early scrappy days when I sat alone composing most of the music myself on a half-size keyboard, a pair of shitty borrowed headphones, and a free copy of Ableton "Lite." 

In the above 'redux' of Fault, I highlight the performance of Sarah and Makiko, the closest friendship in probably all of Great Highway's history and the duo responsible for doing our show bookings and online marketing. These two really carry the weight of the song's drama and power, between Sarah's lush harmonies and the four (!!) layers of violin that Makiko recorded. Before we release the track with the supporting guitar, synth and drums, I hope you'll enjoy this soft yet dynamic performance from our leading ladies. If you need me, I'll be in the audience, front row, listening. 

-Jason