Friday, June 01, 2012

If I started a bucket list right now, it would already be half finished

As much as I complain about it, I actually have a pretty cool life. I get to do some cool stuff, anyway. Because of some weird, mystic combination of knowing a bunch of different people who are engaged in a wide variety of activity, my big mouth and a pinch of Forrest Gump-like serendipity, sometimes I find myself with opportunities that clearly aren't earned on any kind of actual merit. Previously, this has resulted in things like getting to sit in a dugout with Brooks Robinson and Harmon Killebrew at an exhibition baseball game in St. Petersburg or riding through Times Square in a limo with Leeann Tweeden. More recently, this happened...

Over the last few years, I've gotten to know Ronny Elliott. Ronny is a musician's musician, in that while many people don't recognize his name, there's a chance that they own an album by somebody that he's played with, and the people whose names are on those albums probably know him. I'm not going to attempt to write a bio because I'll forget something important. If you're so inclined, you can read the one that's posted on his web site. I'll just leave it at mentioning that he opened for Jimi Hendrix.
Anyway, recently Ronny mentioned that he's recording a new album, his first in five years. As is my wont (for better or worse), I had to open my piehole: "Hey, I want to be on the new album!". Now, I'll point out that I was being completely sincere: I did/do want to be on the album, but that doesn't mean I expected to get the opportunity. I want to do all kinds of things but not every single self-indulgent whim that comes flying out of my mouth gets granted. More accurately, my bluffs often go uncalled, dismissed with a pat on the head...but not all the time.
Ronny told me that they would be in a recording studio last Friday and I was welcome to come by. Well, sure! Sounds like fun! Maybe I could contribute hand claps or bang on a tambourine or something. When I got there, Ronny met me at the door. "Are you warmed up?", he asked, gesturing to his throat. "Huh? Oh yeah. I was singing along to the Beatles on the way over. Ha ha!" "Good. Because you're up next. Rebekah already did her part. We just need to add you singing with her and that track is done."
Singing? Me? With who? Rebekah? As in Pulley? Yes. He actually wanted me to sing. Further, I'd be singing with the immensely popular and critically adored Rebekah Pulley (one of my favorites). Suddenly, the stakes were MUCH higher. But rarely have I been accused of favoring discretion over valor so I wasn't going to back out...unless I was given the chance, of course. Steve, the producer said to Ronny, "I don't know if you need more vocals. Maybe a (French term that I don't remember) would fit." "Yeah, definitely", I said, "I could do a (French term I don't remember). What is that?" "A (French term that I don't remember) is a brief spoken, not sung, part." "Oh right. Yeah, I should probably do one of those." Ronny said, "No, let him sing. It will be good."
They played the song for me and said "just sing the same part as Rebekah on the chorus" and put me in a room by myself with a microphone. I put on the headphones and realized the microphone could pick up everything. I immediately became self-conscious about my breathing and cocked my head at a weird angle and started breathing out of the corner of my mouth, like a smoker trying not to blow exhaust fumes in someone's face. The song started playing and I sang along quietly. Steve stopped the song and said "are you singing?" "Yeah..kind seems really loud" "Don't worry about that. Just sing normal." "I don't normally sing." "Just sing loud and I'll take care of it in here."
We started over and I sang louder this time, and kind of got into it. When it was over I asked, "Is there a back door that I should just leave through back here or...?" "Come on up. It's fine." I went back to the control room and Ronny said, "Wow, you turned into George C. Scott there!" The guy that won the Oscar for playing Patton isn't the first person that pops into my mind when I think of music but I said thanks. "I just mean in terms of how dramatic you were. It was good!" So apparently, he's happy with it and they're going to keep it. The album is scheduled to be released around the middle of July and I'll be sure to include all the info here so you can check it out.

So while that may not have been as cool as hanging out with Brooks Robinson and Harmon Killebrew, it's definitely up there.


Jessie said...

This story makes me very, VERY happy. I also appreciate the fact that by buying that CD when it's released, I'll be supporting *two* of my favorite people.

Bees said...


Jeff Hickmott said...

Where do I buy a copy?

Clark Brooks said...

Details available VERY soon!