Moxie Band - Keep Cool

Guitarist/Audio Engineer Jim Lawson was diagnosed with a rare brain condition in 2018 and survived several life-threatening health events, including a major stroke. A mere 2 years later, after lots of therapy, hard work and luck, we reunited The Moxie Band to do some recording and start playing music again. We got together in February of 2020, recorded some video and a little audio, and planned to meet again in March. But as we all know, everything was shut down due to the pandemic. We were able to use the bass track from the original recording but we did not get any other usable tracks. After several months of the pandemic, practicing social distancing and masking, Gus came over and laid down a drum track. Next we were planning to have Larry over to put down the harmonica track, but then another wave of Covid hit and everything got postponed again. Eventually we got the harmonica track, guitar, and vocal. Then came a whole bunch of technical difficulties, including releasing the song to Spotify and all the streaming services, only to take it down due to a file glitch, and an attack on our webhost’s server, which obliterated this website. So Keep Cool is nothing if not a lesson in perseverance. It is done!

We had started a recording project with The Moxie Band in February of 2020. Didn’t get very far before the pandemic happened. So we put that project on hold, and decided to experiment with pandemic-style remote recording.

We had worked on Nightingale a while back, with piano player Rick Triplett. His wife Amy recorded him playing his piano track on her iPad, and they sent that over to us. We had originally planned to record as a trio, just piano, vocal, and guitar, but decided the song needed a bass track. Upright bass. Our usual bass player, Mike Barrett, is not a tech guy, so we knew we’d have to look elsewhere, since this involved recording and sending a digital file. The first guy we called was busy rehabbing a house. The second guy had sold his upright bass. So we figured, let’s have Mike come over and play our upright, out on our porch. That way we were still social-distancing, and he wouldn’t have to deal with the tech. We had a communication mix-up and each figured the other was not interested. Upon hearing all the stories about unavailable bass players, our son Matt volunteered to do it. Matt’s tastes run more towards folk punk so we had not thought of asking him, but he crossed the genre line and did a great job. (Listen to the song with headphones to hear that sweet upright bass.)

At this point we decided the song needed a drum track. Enter Gus Thierry. He recorded himself with his iPhone and sent the file over. Jim took all the tracks from all the sources and did his audio magic. Donna put together a video from the same files. Everything was done and ready to release when Jim said, “You know what this needs? This needs a viola.” So our daughter got out her viola. She recorded her audio in-studio, but to keep with the pandemic theme of everyone doing their track at home, Matt went to her place with a video camera and shot her playing on her balcony. So what started out to be an experiment in remote recording turned into a bigger production as well as a family project. Not our usual genre, but we have worked as a jazz trio in the past, doing songs from the Great American Songbook, and Nightingale was something that Rick knew, and it just sort of took on a life of its own, the way that art does. We are very happy with the way it turned out. It was a great distraction from the pandemic, and it has led to further projects with Matt on bass. Check back to see more!