What happens in New Orleans stays on the Internet

Done!! All the discussion, preparation, demoing, flying, driving, not sleeping, Internet harassing of friends and strangers is over just like a flash!! ‘Blossom’, for all intent and purposes is, as they say, in the can. We have some vocal bits to polish up, a Jonny too record and some other minor musicality’s require our attention but that is pretty much that.

 
We must at this point pay gratitude and virtual homage and high 5’s too Devon and Matt who captained our musical spaceship through its voyage through the uncharted  waters that will now become ‘BLOSSOM’. They offered advice, expertise, humour and great patience to this project and it would not have been such an amazing experience without them there. They worked as hard as anyone on getting this album recorded and have become as much a part of this record as any musician or songwriter has been. They also pose a mean ‘prom’ photo 😉 Which leads us nicely too the wonderful presence that was our Photographer, Josh…you may have seen the band photo we posted up on Facebook?…well this was the work of young Josh. He kept everyone relaxed and in light spirits which really helps when getting your ‘Mug’ captured for posterity!! Jamie also gets huge props for taking some wonderful candid shots which I’m sure will appear online in time.
 
The recording of the album itself was like squeezing into an old pair of jeans that you always loved but could not fit into due to many culinary excesses!! It was just so damned easy playing together again. You remember all the subtleties your fellow musicians bring with them and all the ability you can only hope to embellish upon. There were also many many hilarious moments and memories that took place and sights we can never bleach out of our minds!!…I am of course referring too you Fifi!! 
😉
 
So the story is now that, as soon as the last bits are recorded, we go too the mixing process of getting all this stuff into a pleasing audio experience. We have Matt, Devon and the wonderful Sam Falle each giving us a mix of the record and, in a show of utter faith, we are not offering any post mix notes!! They give us their interpretation and we select one of the three too go on the record. Easy!!…we hope.
Artwork has been decided already as have fonts, colours etc etc and after that we send our mixed songs off for mastering to give them that final ‘polish & space’ that all great records have. So for now…we go track Jonny singing his bits and we finish ours and start writing the follow up,’Whitney Houston’s Goat’ (tentative title but it has a nice ring too it!!)…only if ye are interested of course!?…and this time we record in the UK!!! Get booking flight chaps!!
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Blossom Blog – Planes, Goats and Aoutomobiles!!

 

The Journey…well, it was long…very long! After getting a flight from Spain too Ireland, followed by 12 hours of insane boredom, there was the small matter of a transatlantic flight and a road trip from New York,via 11 states, too New Orleans. At this point I would like to say that Virginia was by far the prettiest and Alabama by far the least scenic of the states.
 
People up around the NY/DC area cannot drive!! On our first day on the road we came across 6 different accidents. When you consider that from Virginia on we didn’t see one you get what I mean…I think crashing is the true American sport! Nashville is a great town. People there were v.friendly and it has a great vibe too it. Also, the new Dodge Ram is nothing short of mammoth in size! I have seen smaller countries!!
 
We took our time on the drive as this is Paul’s ‘vacation’ from work and he gets huge props for driving the whole way. It rained for nearly 100 miles coming towards NOLA and it was of biblical proportions. Neither of us had experienced rain like it but New Orleans itself has been lovely and warm. Matt and Adam had there own epic adventure including free upgrades and missed flights but got here only 2 hours late and exhausted but beers were had and catch ups took place. Our comedy moment so far has been courtesy of Whitney Houston’s – I will always love you (with goat) so cheer yourself up and find it on YouTube.
 
Yesterday was photos, load in and set up followed by rehearsal. This was the first time during the entire process that we had all been together in 6 years and obviously the first time we had ever played the songs together. Yet, they all sound amazing!! It was remarkably painless putting them together considering our lack of opportunities of ‘full band’ playing until yesterday. Which brings us too now…and as I sit in the living room we are 3 hours from starting to record Blossom!! 6 months on from Paul’s random phone call we have convened thousands of miles away from where we used to be a band and become one again. This is very much ‘Our’ album. Stupidly excited in The Big Easy,
 
Ali
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Tea the saviour!

There is a great quote in Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ which goes uncredited and is as follows….

“every day wounds, the last one kills!”

Safe to say that there could be no more perfect quote in context of how I am right now! I am currently sat drinking a tea and listening too Bohemian Like You by The Dandy Warhols in Dublin airport terminal 2 suffering major sleep deprivation and a throat that feels like its being wire brushed every time I swallow. My flight isn’t for another 6 hours and I’ve been here for 5 already. Airport hotels are all booked up due to earlier flights getting cancelled so this isn’t exactly comfy and relaxing.

I have my sleeping pills primed and ready for the flight and am praying to the Deity of your choice for a good sleep and to wake up pretty refreshed for the arrival Stateside and the drive with Paul down too Charlottesville, VA for our overnight. I can’t wait for our little road trip! Surely it is the perfect mood setter for recording?! A nice little sojourn through eastern USA. It is a given that every song to be recorded will be dissected and discussed, lyrics will be mulled over, sounds will be given examples and influences listened too. So for now I will finish my tea (milk..half a sugar and strong) and enjoy Don’t fear the Reaper which has just come on….and suddenly changed too Back in Black for some reason… and fight off sleep for another few hours and prepare myself for the mental cavity search international travel always is!!

Peace!! Ali #tootiredforsconesindublin

 

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The Making of Blossom pt 1

Song of the Day : Big Chief – Professor longhair

 

I was walking home after meeting a few friends for a drink when Paul rang me with the idea for recording another Suzys album 10 years after ‘MIRRORS’ with all the boys. I loved the idea instantly but wasn’t sure if everyone would as we all have different lives now and live all over the place!! I was very wrong!!

The emails came in…everyone on board and loving the concept. We of course discussed the logistics of where and how we could do this and quickly settled on the U.S as a location but it took a while before we settled on New Orleans. ‘BLOSSOM’ ,at one point in proceedings, could have been recorded in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia but common sense kicked in.

Our next hurdle was how to demo the songs…this actually was pretty painless in the end as modern tech is so available these days and the other boys are all rather proficient with it, I, on the other hand, am not! I did my demoes on GarageBand and emailed the chaps my songs and they added or took things away and basically made it all sound better. It was fun hearing all these new songs coming from everyone in the band as MIRRORS had been written mostly by Adam & Myself, with Matt writing ‘Beautiful Thing’, so it was a joy to get these great songs off everybody and we all agreed too give our songs over to band and make them truly “band written”.

For me, the first song that made me think we may actually have a great album was ‘Stone by Stone’. I loved it the moment I heard it and it’s gotten better the more we’ve all shaped it. Other songs that came in just fell short for selection but were amazing too, songs like…’Death to Hapsbergs’, Train Robbery, Sometimes, Shallow, 9×5 and Cheer up Gary Jules all had there moments but fell at the final hurdle, but I feel we came up with the best songs for the Album in the end.

So, as I write this, we are roughly a week away from the last 6 months work reaching its purpose. I will keep blogging right through recording and giving more insight into the album as I go. Any questions you have please ask and I will try and answer as much as I can but for now…back too work for me!!

Ali (Guitar Monkey for Suzys Field)

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