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MP3 Dave Howard - Into The Wind

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Download MP3 Dave Howard - Into The Wind
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Defying labels while blending elements of rock, pop, folk and blues. The themes of love, joy, loss, strength, faith and realization run through Dave Howard's work like a timeless river.
Find out why Dave Howard is San Diego's most covered songwriter.

11 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Folk Rock, ROCK: Americana



Details:
One day in June, 2003 I called Sven Seaholm and asked him what it was going to take to get him to produce my record. I had talked to Sven about recording a follow-up to my first CD, "Unbelievable Unknown." Now I was finally ready to follow through, and I needed his help.
He was instantly delighted at the idea for, I think, two reasons. First, it had been a few years since "Unbelievable Unknown," and it was indeed high time for me to put out the record everyone was waiting for. Secondly, Sven wanted to make the same type of album I was thinking about. While he liked "Unknown" he told me that it just didn't feel like a Dave Howard performance. He was right.

When John Katchur and I embarked on the recording of "Unbelievable Unknown" we started with my solo performances and built overdubs on top of them. We approached each song as its own entity. What resulted was a multi-layered collage of each song. Often we had trouble finding or scheduling the right player for each part on each song. Even more often, I ran out of money to keep the project going.

That record took two years and three credit cards to complete. I still love that album, but I knew as soon as I heard the master what the next one would sound like, and how it would be made.

What Sven and I talked about for this record was to get a core group of players into the studio, sitting in a room with microphones and recording live.
Sven told me to get prepared; to find the right players and start rehearsing and arranging, so that the sessions could be efficient and effective. I hadn't been working with a band, but I had an ensemble already put together in my head.

Rewind. I met Peter Bolland, and later Marcia Staub at Twiggs Green Room in San Diego back in 1997. Peter and I had been playing circles around each other in San Diego's then-flourishing acoustic scene. I was astonished at how similar our styles were, particularly Peter's acoustic guitar playing. That first night we met, the club was completely empty, with the exception of John Ciccolella, Twiggs' entertainment director and Joel Siegfried, a local photographer, fan of singer-songwriters and web essayist. Peter and I traded a few songs back and forth while the two men sat and watched, and that began a mutual admiration that led to a few more tandem gigs.

Fast forward to January 2003. Peter Bolland released his first full-length CD "Frame." I dug it instantly, especially Peter's stripped down approach to the songs; chunky acoustic guitar rhythms, sparse, pleading harmonies, a little lap steel guitar. Bass, drum, voice, heaven. That was the sound I was looking for, but live.

After I got off the phone with Sven on that warm day in June, I called Peter and Marcia. I told them what I wanted to do, and that they were my first and only choice to record with. Fortunately for me dear reader, they were both about to have some time off, since they both work as educators. Serendipity. They were both excited to make the record and loved the songs. Schedules passed back and forth via e-mail and openings were found to allow for four rehearsals. Demo CDs were passed around to learn parts. The whole vibe was very easy-going and loose from the start. Recording sessions were booked for four days in mid-July.

The next phone call was to Jeff Berkley, who was off to Texas for some Berkley-Hart shows. Jeff would indeed be in town on the days we booked with Sven. Awesome. Jeff and I have worked together for a long time, and he knew the songs as well as I did. No rehearsal necessary. "Here's the dates. Show up."

Nucci is known to be one of San Diego's best drummers and we had talked several times about working together. Nucci was gigging with Berkley-Hart, so I asked Jeff if we could get him on the record. It turned out there was one day he could make it to the studio. There was one complication. Nucci is one of the hardest-hitting drummers in the business. The type of session we had planned would be totally overpowered if Nucci was in the room. It was decided that Peter, Marcia, Jeff and I would lay down all the songs, and have Nucci overdub his drum tracks. That's right friends and neighbors; overdub the drum tracks.

So there we were with our vision. Our mission clear. But there was another complication, and I was aware of it from the day I decided to record again. Where was the money going to come from? I am a single dad, with more responsibilities than your average bohemian artist type. I was paying the bills and didn't really have a nest egg to blow on a CD project. I decided to ask for help from my fans. I put up a contribution form on my website, and a few local media outlets picked the story up. As a result, several key people came through with enough seed money to take care of the session fees. We were in business.

The first two days in the studio went like this; Peter, Jeff, Marcia and I set up in Sven's main room and recorded one song and then the next. All live. No overdubs. It went like clockwork. A few takes of this. A few takes of that.
The following week we had two days booked and who should happen to be in town? Dani Carroll, that's who. More serendipity. Dani and Jeff laid down harmonies on "The Yellow Line" and "Make My Dreams Come True Tonight" the first day and Peter Bolland and I laid down some additional electric guitars. I doubled a few vocal sections, and Sven put his organ part on "Life Begins At Zero" and some backing vocals on "Almost Angeline" and "Answer The Door."

The next day Nucci came in, and as unbelievable as it sounds, he put drums on top of nine songs. Nucci is an unbelievable joker, and we laughed so hard that day that I thought we would all end up too fatigued to finish the record, but finish we did. Doug Meyer came in later that week, as did Marcia. Doug to lay down his pedal steel part and Marcia to record her backing vocals on "Answer The Door."

Sven really cut the production cycle down by mixing and pre-mastering as we went along. The consistency of the recordings, borne out of our decision to record live with the sessions so close together, made this easier than it might have been had we gone in a different direction.

When we began the sessions we had 17 songs. We eliminated 3 based on performances and continuity. That left us with 14. I wanted the album to be around 40 minutes or 10 songs, no more. We had 14 great tunes, and now the real battle began over which songs to cut. Sequencing a record has to be the most grueling part of the process. I have done it a few times and it has never been painless.

When all was said and done, we had 11 songs and the album came in right at 48 minutes. Everything that could be cut was cut, and everything that was left absolutely belonged there. The songs were in the right order and took us on a journey from alt-pop to country-folk.

I'm going to stop here, for fear of reviewing my own record. I will leave the final critique to you, the listener. I know that if I lost the ability to write and play music tomorrow, I would be happy with the legacy I'd leave on "Into The Wind." These are my favorite songs, and I hope they become yours too.

Dave Howard
January 4, 2004
Escondido, California


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