It does make you look kinda fat…

“Tell me honestly, does this dress make me look fat?”

What hip, seasoned musicians talk about when they're done trying to one-up each other with how cool their guitars are: "Which is better, the studio or playing live?"

I had a conversation with another rock star-ish friend on Sunday. He said that he much prefers the studio to performing. I couldn’t decide which one I liked better—at least in the midst of that conversation and the time that I spent ruminating on it afterwards.

Then I spent the majority of yesterday in the studio laying down tracks for 4 new songs. That’s when I remembered that the studio is remarkably unforgiving. Every cup of coffee and sip of alcohol in the last few weeks shows up in the less than pure quality of your voice. The lack of sleep characteristic to this lifestyle rears it’s ugly head when your muscles find themselves fatigued and tense and unable to stretch to that high note or hold your fingers in that one funny, awkward bar chord for another second. All of it is then cataloged on record… forever.

"Recording" the recording for posterity.

Listening back to rough versions of your own songs is often the musical equivalent of seeing a picture of yourself in your favorite dress (or whatever you wear when you want to pretty up) and then suddenly realizing that said ensemble is not as flattering as you’ve always thought that it to be. In fact, when I listened to one of our takes, I said to Dave (our producer), “You know when a girl says, ‘does this dress make me look fat?’ Well, I feel like when I listen to this  song, that you’ve just told me, ‘yeah, it actually does make you look kinda fat.’”

Dave’s daughter is still pretty young, so I’m not sure that he knows yet what to do with teenage angst–especially the girl variety (the living grateful for a year heart growth still has yet to soften my perfectionist tendencies). So he took the careful route, and just sat quiet for a while. Finally, he said, “Shall we try another take?”

L to R: Planet Earth; many tracks of Sarah; Patient, kind, even-keeled, Dave the Producer

And we did.

And since he’s like the Gandalf of recording, we made it through the journey unscathed and much wiser. We now have four new tracks to submit to the growing body of work that makes up the pool of possible songs for the 2011 or early 2012 album-to-be.

The Bubba Keg: A gift to Dave from his thoughtful wife. It holds one whole pot of coffee and might very well be the key to getting him through those difficult recording sessions with perfectionists like me. Thanks, Laura!

Although I’m pretty sure that I was just overly dramatic yesterday (Go, Scorpio!!), and that the studio isn’t nearly as bad as it seemed, I think that I might still have to respectfully disagree with my rock star-ish friend who likes the studio better than he likes performing. [They just came out with a new album today, by the way. Check it out here. ]

I had regained my living grateful mentality by the early evening and had a little moment of awe when I looked up at this tree next to Charlie's driveway.

Since the living grateful thing didn’t apply to the studio yesterday (when I honest to God was thinking, “Be present in this moment, right now, and be grateful. Not many actually get to do this for a living. This is magical.” … but even though I was thinking it, I couldn’t convince myself.)  I’ll just be grateful instead about the upcoming opportunity to play live music with Charlie and Claire.

This weekend, we’ll be in Atlanta at Smith’s Olde Bar with an Atlanta band and two others from the homeland (Tennessee).  Come and see us. Send your friends. You (or they) can see the badass sweater that I’m knitting for pregnant best-friend-from-high-school’s soon to be baby.

What:  Rad Rock Show (or folksy, bluesy-ish music… po-tay-to, po-tah-to)

When: Friday, February 25, 2011 8PM

Where: Smith’s Olde Bar, Atlanta, GA

Who: Sarah Mac Band, 1880’s Dance Party, David Oakleaf and the Open Road, and Jettison Never

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