Mind Flight Newsletter
March, 2021 ~ A publication of Rob robinson Music ~ Issue No. 1
"Heart On Fire" To Be Released On March 15, 2021
It was the spring of 2015 when I last released new music. I had recorded a couple of well produced tracks with Ray Tilkens in late 2014. "Walk Away and I Believe" were heading in the right direction and I could feel my writing and my vision for the music growing. I even did a video for I Believe which got a decent amount of views on Youtube. But that's where things kind of stalled. As money got tight and my world began to take on a look I had not anticipated, the music kind of suffered. I was still writing and I tried desperately to start recording on several occasions, but it just wasn't to be. Now almost six years later, a couple of different living locations, the passing of my mom and my new home in Fort Worth, Texas, I am holding in my hands a brand new single and a full-length album is within sight. It's been quite the journey and the good Lord has extended me grace beyond anything I deserve. But, as often is the case, some good art has come from the experience.
March 2, 2021 - After six months in the recording studio I am excited to announce the release of my first single, "Heart on Fire". The sessions at Crystal Clear Sound have gone extremely well and I am now at a place where releasing some music will be good for my spirit. It's something that Pete Miller and I talked about from the very beginning as we knew that the project could take upwards of a year to complete. We wanted to put something out as bit of a teaser to what will ultimately be a full-length album released sometime in the later part of 2021. "Heart on Fire" seemed to be a good choice for the first single. It's a very compact and hard-hitting rock song with a catchy and memorable hook. It was the first song we recorded back on September 26th and the band really took to it and put forth a great performance. Aside from Pete, it was the first time I had met the other guys that were on the session. I was immediately comfortable with the feel and proficiency of everyone and it was certainly a great start to the project.
I feel extremely honored to be working with some very special and talented people on this album. It's the first time that I've really let go of the helm and allowed someone to produce a project for me. It helped that I was able to do quite a bit of pre-producing on my own during the past 5 years as many of these songs went through a few different looks. I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for and it was just a matter of communicating that with Pete and putting it in his hands. We had some long meetings on Zoom leading up to the first session in which we recorded 7 songs. Initially I had thought seriously about recording with an acoustic based trio (guitar, bass & drums) and then using some other acoustic instruments (violin, mandolin) to color things in a bit. Pete really felt strong that many of the songs spoke to some of the late sixties and early seventies electric bands and he wanted the chance to capture that in a modern way. It was the first thing that I had to look at and say to myself, "you've hired a producer, now let him do his job". Needless to say, Pete's vision was on point and we have recorded some really rockin' songs with good vocals and harmonies.
One of the first guys that I became aware of being on the session was Stockton Helbing. I knew of Stockton from his work around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He is very dedicated to his Jazz performances and his presentations of Jazz history. Stockton was the music director and touring drummer with the great Maynard Ferguson. He continues to work his craft in extremely inspiring ways. He is a fantastic drummer and because I am a drummer I watch and listen to that element very closely. He's been great to work with on the sessions.
We've been really blessed to have Jay Brown on piano and keyboards. Pete knew exactly who he was choosing when he asked Jay to record on this project. Jay's steady and consistent approach to the songs have provided a comfortable melodic bed for other parts of the music to lay in. Jay finds just the right spots to tickle a little melody in the midst of all the other action going on. His Hammond B3 playing is awesome and he has also given us some very memorable performances.
The guitar playing in large part has been done by Larry Rolando. Larry is a veteran session player who lived and worked in Nashville for many years before returning back to Dallas. Larry has played on records by Seals and Crofts and Art Garfunkel. When I think about my desire to record something a bit more acoustic, I think about how I would have missed out on the sounds of this brilliant and seasoned guitarist. The only thing I can add is just wait until you hear him on these songs...
I suppose it's easy to overlook Pete's abilities as a bass player because he is so busy keeping things in order and directing the sessions. But similar to Jay, Pete provides a comfort and stability in these productions. He's a really good bass player and picks his spots to remind us all that he is also capable of a riff or two. I know that when all is said and done and I'm listening to these songs 5 years from now I'm going to appreciate the bass on this album as much as anything.
All of this great talent and musicianship would go for naught if it wasn't for the professor himself, Kent Stump. In the very first conversation I ever had with Pete he told me that he really liked working with Kent because it made his job easier. Kent is magical at the console. He's got a great ear and moves quick and precise. I have spent many hours in the control-room with Kent and Pete and I still watch in amazement as Kent does his editing magic and brings the mixes into a place of real happiness.
At this point in the process we are still mixing and putting additional recording touches on some of the first seven songs. Since that initial recording session back in September, we have had a second session with the full band in which we recorded three more new songs. In between that time, I have been recording all the vocals and some acoustic guitar. I am super happy with everything and especially the vocals which I have spent a lot of time on at home.
The coming months will hopefully see the recording of several more songs, possibly as many as six. The thought is that they will be more of the acoustic based sound so we can get some diversity throughout the album. I would imagine we will begin some conversation about those songs by the time we hit April. Look for another single to be released sometime during the summer with the album hopefully ready by early to mid-fall. Hey, maybe just in time for Christmas!
Until the next issue of Mind Flight, this is Rob saying thanks for reading and we'll meet again. Peace!