Updated: May 23, 2022
I've been writing songs for as long as I can remember. I would write using anything I could find to play whether at my childhood house or at my neighbor's house. Gerard Spills (my childhood best friend) has cassette tapes of some ridiculous early stuff. Those songs have been on nearly every media type... cassette, reel-to-reel, floppy disks, zip drive disks, and of course, a myriad of hard drives over the course of +40 years.
My recordings really took off in the late 90's and early 00's. By 2009, I had already produced 4 albums of quality recordings before I set out to start recording other artists and bands. When you produce other people's songs, you have to walk a fine line of helping them achieve their vision and listening to what the song itself is suggesting. The Producer role is the most satisfying job I have every been privileged to have and I became immersed in that role from 2009-2015.
Before I talk specifically about this project, I wanted to let people know that I will be discussing at length about what "listening to the song and what it is asking for" is and why you should care in a different post. My plan is to interview some of the great local songwriters and producers I know. That will be a fun article to plan and work on.
Most of that period's work (2009-2015) was never published. The reasons vary. Artists ditched on the project, artistic difference, family interference or I became distracted trying to save my investment. The situation with the bar/venue dictated all my time and energy be placed there. Some of the work only exists in some demo mixes due to damage to those disk drive and back ups. Some of the work hasn't been touched since the original recording dates. There are others where I have periodically brushed off over the years and occasionally I would complete one and publish it like I did with Ball and Chain. This was a song of mine with Hannah Aldrich providing the vocal. Most others remained untouched... until now.
I am committing to a year long project to finish the body of work from that era and ensure it exists for posterity. For some of the tracks, it will be remastering the files that exist, while for others I will have to learn the songs again to provide some or all of the instruments. Some are getting a face lift and others reconstructive surgery. My objective is to show a point in time, here in KC, when some extensively well-written songs were being crafted under my watch.
I think you will agree that many of these songs are fantastic and merit frequent listens. The project is called Saunders Street Archives. It will contain all of the previously unpublished recordings, as well as, some interesting remixes of previously released tracks.
The first track to be released as part of this project is Blue Tongue, which was written and performed by Johnathan Aldrich in early October, 2011. Every track will have some video production aspect to it when possible. I was able to create a more involved video treatment for this track.
I eventually would like to include some interview sessions with the various artists, if possible. Mostly, this is about having some of the extensively arduous work see light of day. It is a glimpse into the world as seen through the artist's eyes at the time of the recordings. Many of the selections are exactly as they were when recorded. Many others will have received facelifts and additional "producer" touches to either modernize the sound or simply offer some "remix" variety. Since, YouTube isn't monetized for me, there is no financial gain to be had. It is really just about the art and letting it have it's day in the light.
Looking at the montage of images, it reminds me of just how busy I was from 2009-2015. Although, I tried to continue focusing on music production after the bar came into the picture, the circumstances dictated all energy be directed there. This made for a horrible outcome and really sealed the deal for SSR putting the brakes on employees and any current projects. Adriana Nikole had a project underway and it was a casualty of the need for salvaging the bar operation.
I have orphaned wave files that are used by my DAW for song projects that have to be gone through one at a time, the bpm has to match what the original project was, and the missing pieces have to be recreated. That is the plan for numerous songs where the original projects files were on removable media that went missing during the 2016 move, or were on hard drives that crash when the computer suffered damage. Those tracks are the most difficult to reconstruct. The other tracks that will be part of the project are in varying states of completion ranging from just the scratch instrument and vocals existing to simply needing editing, mixing and mastering.
Look for tracks from the following:
I have at least 4 songs I would like to finish and showcase. She is such an incredible talent and I owe her the effort to complete these, even if time has passed, the tracks I've heard are meaningful and relevant. They deserve to exist out there for people to enjoy. Adriana's soul matches her voice in so many ways, powerful and tuned to something bigger than the words themselves. I'm delighted these are all here.
I have no idea where Kevin is nowadays. Honestly, I'm not even sure how Kevin and I became acquainted... possibly via Heather Thornton. Kevin had monster talent but he never quite received the level of success he believed was reflective of that talent. Occasionally, Kevin would engage me and I would always end up giving him 10 hours of work for 2 hours of money. His songs were well constructed and like I said... monster talent, especially his smooth acoustic guitar skill.
Greg hailed from Joplin when I met him. That first meeting is a blur. He came up to KC one weekend and we knocked this track, Blue. I added all the instruments other than Greg's guitar. I used one of his lead vocal tracks to create a harmony vocal.
I have one more song John recorded with me that I plan to include. I wish I had more live recordings of him. As a solo performance he is amazing. Paired with his siblings and it becomes something incredibly special.
I've lost when I first met Sarah. She is friends with a long time friend's daughter. I was floored the first time I heard her perform her original songs. She had such honesty in what she had to say musically. It was so fresh and captivating. I was so happy to find some of those early recording of her. Here is a live video from 2009.
Elsa had/has star written all over her. Part gypsy, part old soul, all crushing as a performer, she really stood out in the KC music scene at the time. I was fortunate enough to work with her. Her songs were poignant, dreamy and captivating. There are very few artists I know who's songs have invoked such an emotional response from me, like hers. Dreaming Kids is probably my favorite, and will be the in line to be released.
Molly and I only recorded one song. However, that one song has been an obsession of mine to perfect and make a killer song. I am close to having this song at the level I believe it deserves.
Two Headed Cow, Jen Lawless, Heather Thornton and The Walltalkers will also have some remixes made available as well. I recently released a new remix of "Fish In a Bowl" that was on Heather's Obvious album.
I too, have a bounty of tracks of my own that are in varying stages of completion. Back then I wrote with a ferocity. Most of that work will be updated and released as albums. I have yet to even pick up a guitar this year (As of 4/24/2022). I am taking small steps back to trying to find joy in writing and performing. It will be long journey though. It will take effort, therapy and the desire to do so. In the meantime, I am finding joy in this effort and working with these tracks. As crazy as the world is right now, you have to accept joy where it manifests. Right now, seeing that these songs get some sunshine is the joy I desperately need, musically.