It’s a beautiful morning here in the Inland Empire. I’m sitting here on my bed, typing this, listening to the Frontloader Session with Alice Wallace. Perfect match, if you ask me.
Alice Wallace is a country/folk/blues singer here in Southern California. She has a gorgeously gorgeous voice that hits “it” every single time. That “it” I mention is probably different for everyone… for me, “it” is the feeling that I get in my gut that tells me, “Dude. That’s it!”
Yes, I know I didn’t make much sense there, but you get my point: Alice is awesome.
On a cool Monday morning, Alice, Tom Bremer (guitar), and Robert Bowman (stand-up bass), ready to record. I had never recorded a stand-up bass before, so Robert was kind enough to show me how it’s usually mic’d (one mic pointed more or less at the bridge, one at an f-hole). The full, booming tone was such a pleasure to hear through the monitors. I have GOT to get myself one of those things. It’d help if I first learned how to play it, of course.
Bremer’s Telecaster ran through a Bassman (if memory serves). The Tele’s 60-cycle hum was evident but thankfully it wasn’t too prominent in the mix. I loved Tom’s playing… very tasteful, subtle, and kept the song moving with his flavorful runs. Plus, his Telecaster was cool. I would say, “I have GOT to get myself one of those things!” as well, but I already have one… wait… I can have ANOTHER one!!!!
My mom once asked me, “You can only play one at a time. Why you need so many guitars?” My reply? “Why not?”
My mom didn’t seem to like that answer. She shook her head and said something in Chinese that I think… I THINK meant, “My son is an idiot.”
Everyone set up in a semi-circle and they started with “If I Knew,” the opening track to Alice’s album, A Thousand Miles From Home.
I tried a 3-camera set up this time: 2 stationary and one I carried around. I’m pretty happy with the results… one issue I had was making the clips from each camera look the same. Not sure if I achieved this, but I think I got close.
“If I Knew” deals with what we all realize: hindsight is 20/20. The question Alice asks, though, is even though hindsight is 20/20, would she still do the same things again? Interesting lyric… made me think. Hey! Alice made me THINK! Cool.
“If I Knew”
If you get a chance, listen to this session through headphones (a good set!) and you’ll be able to hear how the electric guitar floats around the stereo space. I was quite pleased with the sound.
“A Waltz” is one of my favorite songs of the session. Yes, just as the title says, the song is a waltz. During the recording, I found myself wanting to sing along, even though I didn’t know the words. That’s how much I dug this song. As I listen to it now, I can’t help but sing along at the “La dee die” part.
From 2:54-3:00, the look on Robert’s face is priceless. I’m so glad I got that on film.
And finally, here’s “Long Road,” just a great way to end this first part of her session. Tom’s funky country guitar picking chimes throughout this fun, toe-tapping number.
I’ll say this about the whole session with Alice: it was great to watch them perform and feed off of each other. Their knowledge of not only the style, but their playing was a joy to hear. The discussions about which type of chord to end on, which scale to use for the solos, and how to go about getting the right feel for the song in this setting… it showed me just how dedicated each musician is to their craft. While I am guilty of just “banging it out” as well, it’s great to be reminded that the drama is in the details.
Be sure to catch Alice in concert! Here are some upcoming dates:
Dec 27, 8:30pm @ Yves Restaurant and Wine Bar in Anaheim Hills, CA
Dec 31, 8:00pm @ Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, CA
Jan 03, 7:00pm @ Ranch Party @ EB’s Beer and Wine Bar Farmers Market in Los Angeles, CA
Jan 04, 6:00pm @ The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa, CA
Jan 16, 8:30pm @ Yves’ Bistro in Anaheim Hills, CA
Jan 31, 8:30pm @ Yves’ Bistro in Anaheim Hills, CA
Thanks to Alice, Tom, and Robert for coming out for the session! I hope we can all do this again sometime soon.