A pal of mine came over yesterday and we were talking about the growing difficulty of surviving a as traveling musician in today’s economy. We got to talking about CD sales at concerts and I came up with the idea of him recording a new CD that would surely sell to his audience.
Though he goes into the studio and does full productions, he travels with one guitar. What I suggested is that he go thru his three CD’s and list all the songs from each of his CD’s that he always does in his live performance.
Then go into the studio with this list and record everyone of those songs with just a vocal and a guitar. I also suggested that he do performances of the songs as opposed to laying down a guitar and then a vocal and mixing them. Do it live, just the way you do it on stage, I said.
Once you have that CD, you do all the songs from that CD in your first set. Then when people come up to you and ask for a particular song, you can simply say, “every song I did in my set, is on this CD just the way you heard it, one guitar and one voice.”
I guarantee you will move a ton of CD’s this way. And for the people that become fans, you have the studio produced versions of all the songs, plus songs that they may not have heard on your other CD’s so you have music to leave with them the next time you play for them.
And for the people that want a full production, you still have your fully produced CD’s with you.
Moreover, there is an added benefit to recording a CD this way. As you listen back to the take, you are going to realize that you aren’t as good as you thought and you’ll go back and record it again, and perhaps again until you get a performance that you are proud of. And you will be a better player , singer and performer when you finish a CD this way.
I did it with my Freelance Human Being CD. I ended up recording the entire project three times. Each time I came back from the road and listened to it, I decided I could do better and rerecorded it. In the end I was recording each song sometimes for several hours until I got it just where I wanted it.
Fi magazine called it the best CD of 1999 and went on to list it as one of the Top 200 CD’s of All Time, along side Miles Davis, the Beatles, and Joni Mitchell amongs all the other luminaries.
You will grow as an artist by doing a project this way. Try it, what have you got to lose?