1 Cabin, 1 Mic, 1 Guitar, 1 Week

by Jack Norton

1 cabin, 1 mic, 1 guitar, 1 week by Jack Norton
I, Jack Norton, am an Emmy Award winning singer-songwriter performing hokum blues and vaudeville folk music. Based in the United States, I recorded my most recent album “Busker’s Blues” in a cabin in a remote part of Manitoba, Canada. Armed only with a mic, a guitar and a week in the woods, the following is a journal kept by me while recording…

Listen to the album while reading the text.

day 1

fuck me. i/m insane. why the hell did i think this was a good idea? arrived in *** late. the flight was late, delayed for snow (of course). thankfully i just have backpack w/ all gear & guitar so didn/t lose any luggage. it/s pretty much what the pix online appeared to be. a cabin. very basic. not much else to it, really. outhouse deep in the woods about 1/2 city block away. really annoying. my asscheeks will prolly stick to the toilet. it/s so cold. way worse than minnesota. but i/m here. gonna get this done.

day 2

wish i had my typerwriter. didn/t think i/d need it. have this notebook. sketching out a list of tunes that i think would be good for this record. have a list of about 30 songs so far. just thinking about what to do / what album should sound like / etc. inspo is dave van ronk’s first album GAMBERS BLUES. fuck that was such a solid record. just dave & a his guitar. so raw. want this to sound raw. want it to sound pure. mistakes. warts. everything. woods should creep in through the drafty windows & the forest wind should make it/s way onto the album. foot stomps. LOTS of foot stomps.

day 3

third day of seeing no one / talking to no one / no internet or phone. fucking beautiful, it is. i/d spend more time in the cabin but it/s too beautiful outside. spending most of the day just alone in woods / wondering / heard creatures in the forest but did not see them / finally have cabin warmed up to the point of blood boiling / the change of temps between hell & heaven is perfection / i stay outside until the point i think i may pass out from the cold, go inside & entire body melts. only thinking about recording, haven’t done any…yet.

day 4

list of songs complete / decided if things go well to cut the list into two albums. i had 44 tunes listed. i cut it down to 30. then i set up mic & did test recordings around the cabin to get sound i like best. moved around 6 or 7 times. i keep thinking about the cover art of the original LP album of robert johnson sitting in a hotel room making his recordings – back to the engineer & facing a corner. they say he used to play gigs like that too…so no one could steal his guitar technique. i call that bullshit! hahahahaha. ok, i/m going a bit crazy. gonna start to record in a bit…

day 5

recorded 18 songs today / each tune average 3 or 4 takes. some i cut in one. very few. i think only 2 or so? i was surprised how ILL KILL YOUR SOUL & DARE YOUR SPIRIT TO MOVE came out. i cut 16 takes & ended up using first take ((after listening to playbacks)). lol x 1 million! ahha. ok so if i have 18 done & 30 listed i can easily get this album done & turn it into 2 albums. 3 songs on the list of 30 sucked & will get cut. but that/s why i had so many written down. also added I AINT GOT NOBODY & REEFER SONG just because they are worth cutting. didn/t have them on the list. it will all work out, me thinks.

day 6

6 days of total tranquility & isolation. the creative process is one of pure isolationism, or at least it should be. collaboration is for the weak & easily distracted. it/s just an excuse for social time. it took me a long time to learn that. i think this record sounds lonely – but relaxing. like this strange mix of emotions: you can be alone, & you can be fine w/ that. most ppl don/t realize this. especially now. has been nice not knowing what is going on in the world. just me / guitar / mic. incredibly easy & breezed thru all tunes before noon.

will do a first mix down & then wander in woods listening to mixes late tonight. hopefully i won/t get mauled by a bear or possessed by a wendigo.

day 7

two albums are done. i think album 1 is slightly stronger than album 2, but only by 2% or so. the songs are all good. just my faves of the busker era. calling album 1 BUSKER’S BLUES and album 2 ((will come later in yr, obvi)) gonna call TAKE ME BACK. can change that later if doesn/t stick. makes sense for now. basic mixes are ok, but will need to work  a lot when home on mixes/mastering. was glorious walking thru woods & listening to album as sun set casting long shadows like demons fighting for salvation in the pure white snow.

long story short

i finished. i didn/t go crazy ((ier)) & i didn/t need no body. it/s also a refreshing reminder of how all you need is time / space to create. nothing fancy. tools are just distractions. one last walk & then i get picked up to go to airport. hope driver is late or forgets me altogether…

semper ad meliora…

Jack Norton

Jack Norton, Category: Artist, Albums: Busker’s Blues, Old Songs: The Arts High School Sessions, Top Tracks: Are You Ready for a Miracle?, O, Dem Golden Slippers!, Naked In The Afternoon, Rock ‘n’ Roll Music and Why I Preach Against It, No Matter How She Done It, Monthly Listeners: 103, Where People Listen: Seattle, Johanneshov, São Paulo, Lisbon, Auckland



Canada, Minneapolis, Minnesota, north america
Vaudeville, Folk, Singer-Songwriter, jug band, Blues, hokum, ragtime, field recordings, traditional, Acoustic
jack norton, jack and kitty, Music, musician, Indie, creative, artist, solitude, woods, forest, cabin, isolation, isolationism, creative process, recording process, busker’s blues

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