In 2004, James Lee Stanley and myself got together and recorded our first CD together, All Wood And Stones. The CD was released in the fall of that year and much to our surprise, became an instant radio hit for us.
This was going to be a one time thing and James and I would go back to doing what we did before the project was begun. We never never going to be an act, let alone a touring act but one thing led to another and by popular demand, off on the road we went.
Flash forward 8 years and lo and behold after 8 years of touring this CD, we decided to give it another try. We just didn’t know what music direction to take. We kicked around doing California Gold, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, even a tribute to the great Motown hits but nothing seemed seemed to be right.
I was sitting with James in his studio and I said, “Hey, what about doing the Stones again?” James said, “Wow, I just got chills, let’s do it!”
We worked so hard to find 11 songs that worked acoustically on the first CD, that it would be impossible to find another half dozen more that would work but we were wrong. There was a difference this time.
When we did the first CD, we just got together and worked on arrangements and recorded them. After touring off and on for 8 years, something had changed. There was a different synergy when we worked out arrangements for the new songs.
We weren’t afraid to be more aggressive and even used drums on this CD where the first CD only had percussion and light at that. We chose raunchier songs like Honky Tonk Women, Jumpin’ Jack Flash and they worked great.
The funny thing is, we tried those songs for the first CD but I just don’t think we were ready for the challenge, but after eight years of playing together, these songs came easy. The CD is a natural progression from the first more laid back All Wood and Stones.
Unlike the first CD, where we made the decision to use several celebrity artists including Timothy B. Schmidt and Peter Tork to name a few, we only used a drummer Tom Walsh and two bass players, Bill Batstone and Chad Watson.
We were very confident in being able to accomplish what we wanted with just the two of us and the rhythm section mentioned above. We also recorded the CD differently. The first CD was recorded mostly at James’ studio.
This time, once we had the arrangements, we recorded our individual basic guitar parts and lead vocals at our own studios to save time. Once we had the guitars and lead vocals done, we decided to record and mix everything else at my studio. I bought a great new Pearlman Microphone for this project and once James and I worked out the harmonies we decided to try something new.
We opened the mic up and sang our individual parts at the same time which really forces you sing your part great. Unlike recording your parts which can be doctored to work, this technique brought a whole new energy to the background vocals which was really great.
Both James and I really stretched our talents to new heights. I believe we sang and played better than we have ever done before. So in a nutshell, in our opinion, this is the best album either one of us has ever done and we think you will too!
John Batdorf & James Lee Stanley