The Making of … “Again and Again”
The making of this album was a huge culmination of a fifty-eight year musical love affair with the amazing catalog of songs from the legend we know as Brenda Lee. Her music changed my life as a six year old boy on Christmas Day in 1958. It was then that I heard my first record which was a song called “Jambalay,” a well-known tune written by the great Hank Williams. The black Decca vinyl 45 rpm record was labeled as “Little Brenda Lee (9 years old)” and thus propelled me into a love affair with the golden notes that created the sounds that changed my life forever on that day.
“Whoever long ago coined the old adage “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” couldn’t have imagined the honor I felt in hearing the finished CD Jon Nickell played for me here in Nashville a few months ago. To hear my music presented with such a breath of fresh creativity—and yes ‘love’— while still holding so true to the original production values that were the signature of my beloved producer, Owen Bradley—yes I must say I am flattered!
~ Brenda Lee.”
The heights of love can envelope your heart yet it can also disappear in the blink of an eye. The haunting melodic energy of this song asks the questions that never seem to get an answer. I was always left wondering where did the love go and where is the person that once was there… Totally left alone with insurmountable questions and in an emotional quandary that remains unanswered.
The Making of … “Again and Again”
The making of this album was a huge culmination of a fifty-eight year musical love affair with the amazing catalog of songs from the legend we know as Brenda Lee. Her music changed my life as a six year old boy on Christmas Day in 1958. It was then that I heard my first record which was a song called “Jambalaya,” a well-known tune written by the great Hank Williams. The black Decca vinyl 45 rpm record was labeled as “Little Brenda Lee (9 years old)” and thus propelled me into a love affair with the golden notes that created the sounds that changed my life forever on that day.
Brenda’s catalog of musical gifts is extremely extensive and all of those songs have interconnected my life to many wonderful memories and life experiences with her and personally. Through her music I learned about life, love, the lessons that love teaches you, and of emotions that can send you to happiness as well as heartbreak. I learned to sing with her music as my guide and her friendship of many years always supplied the mentoring that led me to record this album that you are about to have in your hands.
Like Brenda still says to this day “I have been around the world and parts of Georgia” yet nothing compares to the joy of having such a powerful “dynamite” singing legend as a close friend and someone who has encouraged me on so many levels to take the risks that life can offer. It is because of her talent and incredible voice that attached itself to my heart on that Christmas day of 1958, that there has not been a single day since without a Brenda Lee moment in my life. Like so many of her fans, who also sang her hits songs countless times with some semblance of a microphone in hand, I am just one of millions of fans who have come to embrace her musical prowess and be moved by the many moments of listening pleasure that graced all of our lives with “emotions” that her voice gave us.
The tracks that I have recorded are some of her great hits and some original album cuts and a few that were flip sides of other hit singles. I felt that I would never venture into the extreme number one hits that are so connected to Brenda as I know never to tamper with ultimate perfection. Each one of these song choices were previously recorded indelibly by the great production genius of Owen Bradley. It was imperative to me to recreate his magnificent production abilities that brought the ultimate best from Brenda and the connection that both created the Brenda Lee sound and deemed her a true legend in the music world.
For me, this has been a musical journey that created an even stronger acute awareness of the intricate bond between singer and producer. Like Brenda and Owen, my producer George Nardo, led my dream to reality and created the music that has been within my soul all these years and was recorded as a complete tribute to Brenda. The intricate explanations and history that was needed in preparation for this record was amazing as it laid the groundwork for the recording sessions and the overall aura of the past to the present. It created a sense of what it must have been like to record in those old Decca studios in Nashville and all of the magic that once recorded some of the greatest voices of that time period.
This is my third album and for me, the singer, I can tell you that this album was a pure love-fest for the music and the awakening of a fantasy that is now reality. This proves the adage that a dream is a wish your heart makes and that “My Dreams” really do come true.
Producer & Engineer George Nardo of Luna Recording Studio
Proper pre-production is key to saving time in the studio. Make sure everyone knows the start and stop points for all the songs. Recordings done today are to a click track, it is not meant to keep you rigid, but meant as a guide so you don’t lose the groove. Get the BPM’s (Beats Per Minute) in a rehearsal situation where you are comfortable playing the song. Bring the BPM’s to the studio, most times it will feel slow once you get in a studio setting. Trust that the song sounded good back in rehearsal and work on it at that tempo. Nine times out of ten it is the right tempo.
New strings, new heads and an accurate tuner are a must for a recording session. How good do you want to sound?
Now the philosophy we try to promote is to make each song sound the best we can. Sometimes that means looking at everything in detail. Is the kick drum and the bass locked in or are they fighting with each other. Sounds can get pretty muddy down there. Sometimes less is more. We can also tell when a band is locked in, and you don’t have to do a thing but press record. We love when that happens.
Lead Vocal – Jon Nickell
Drums – Daniel Thomas
Percussion – George Nardo
Piano – Duncan Stitt
Bass – George Nardo all songs except “Lover” Played by Santiago Cannon
Guitar – George Nardo
Saxophone – Jose Durazo
Trumpet – Glendon Gross
Trombone – Salvador Lopez
Backing Vocals – Rebecca Carlson
Backing Vocals – Jose Durazo
Orchestrations – Rob Resetar