I began thinking about this album just days after our last album, Five Leaves Left: A Tribute To Nick Drake, was released. The plan was to record an album of songs that were all written by Seattle jazz composers in an effort to a) do something cool and different, and b) shine a spotlight on some of the wonderful jazz musicians living and working in Seattle. I had no idea if the concept would be met with favorable reactions so I was blown away when everyone I talked to was as excited about the idea as I was.
I started out by asking a few folks if I could record their songs. People I approached were my bandmates Josh Rawlings, Evan Flory-Barnes, D’Vonne Lewis and Cynthia Mullis, and a few others whose songs I really wanted include like Thomas Marriott, Marc Seales, Ryan Burns, Gregg Belisle-Chi and Hadley Caliman (through his wife, Linda Lee). To my delight every one of them said yes. Then, after announcing my plans on Facebook, I was contacted by many other musicians who asked if they could submit songs, including Jeremy Jones, Bill Anschell, Tim Carey, Brad Gibson, Nate Omdal, Michael Owcharuk, Bill Patterson and Joe Walker.
We entered Studio Litho with engineer Don Gunn on December 1st for two days of tracking. At the end of day two we had recorded 16 songs, downed a whole bottle of Woodinville Whiskey and many six packs of Pike Place Ale, and eaten at most every restaurant in Fremont. It was an exhausting two days but we had lots of laughs and got through more music than I had anticipated.
Leaving the studio with the rough mixes I had no idea if we had gotten enough good takes to make up an album. It’s so hard to judge and I’m always my own harshest critic. The first few listens are often extremely hard and humbling. But right off the bat I was pleased with what I heard. Once again my band proved to be true professionals and consummate musicians, and they had completely nailed many of the new tunes.
In the end, I culled the 16 takes down to 10 songs that I feel make up the strongest, most cohesive record. My good friend Nate Omdal, who has done the design work on our previous two albums, did some beautiful original paintings for the artwork. Don Gunn did the mixes. John McCaig did the mastering at panicStudios. And I had the CDs made by Seattle’s Realtime CD & DVD Duplication. In order to finance the CD I had applied for five grants, three of which I was awarded. I couldn’t have made this record without the invaluable assistance from the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Artist Trust and 4Culture.
I’m proud to say that “Homegrown” is 100% Seattle – the compositions, the recording, mixing and mastering, the artwork, manufacturing, the financing, even the food and drink consumed during the process, all came from right here in my hometown.
The official release date is December 9th (my birthday!), and I’ll be announcing the details of the CD Release Party soon, which will be in early 2015. In the meantime, the album is available for streaming and pre-order now! Click here to pre-order the CD and get an immediate download of the entire album. Or, just use the player below:
Thanks to all the composers who submitted songs for this CD. Your work is what makes the album so great, along with the tremendous playing by Josh, Evan, D’Vonne and Cynthia. Y’all are the best!