This is the first in a new series of blogs that I’m going to do where I talk about specific songs that I produced and how they were recorded.  Each song has a different story, each artist a different working method, so I thought it would be interesting to open up the process.

The first song I’m going to look at is Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman by Kezia Gill.  Any regular readers of my blogs will have heard her mentioned before; I’ve been working with Kezia for some time now and it’s been amazing to see her talent and hard work start to pay off with awards, festival slots and this track, which was playlist by Radio 2.

Kezia came up with the chorus on a car journey and sang it to me, almost as a joke, during the sessions for her last EP.  However, me being me, I take nothing as a joke, and suggested she recorded it, a capella, there and then.  The resulting 39-second clip was tagged onto the end of her Dead Ends and Detours EP.

After this, Kezia wrote the rest of the song and started playing it live with her band.  It went from a bluesy 6/8 to a stompy 4/4 and she came to me to get it recorded towards the end of 2019.

I started with a kick drum, which was actually a BFD3 sample, but played in real time and highly compressed.  I added a tambourine, and that was really all that was needed for the drum part.  From there, Kezia put down an acoustic guitar part that I distorted for a filthy sound (you can hear it on the chorus).  We recorded handclaps, shakers and backing vocals together and when she’d left I put down bass and some crazy guitar parts.

At the next session, Kezia recorded the vocals into a Sontronics Aria microphone (two takes was all it took) and I processed it with liberal amounts of Soundtoys Decapitator, a 1176 compressor and Roland Space Echo.  I also have a special EQ setting purely for Kezia’s voice, that smoothes out some of the wilder frequencies of this whiskey drinkin’ woman!

The Logic project for Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman. The grey parts at the start were alternative intros that didn’t make the final cut.

It was always the plan to bring Sarah Jory onto the song; Kezia showed me some videos of this incredible slide guitarist that blew my mind.  She recorded her guitar from home – four separate slide parts – and we chose the best for the song, including the swampy solo.  It made all the difference.

We convened for a final session to mix the track with Kezia’s husband Lloyd (who is always useful as a fresh pair of ears/perspective at the end of a project) and then handed it over Jack at Jack in the Box Studios for mastering.

Released at the end of January, it debuted on Bob Harris’s Radio 2 show, made the playlist and was played numerous times over February.  Just another step upwards for this superb singer/songwriter and it’s my pleasure to be part of it.

NB: My favourite thing that I’ve done on any track, ever, is the “diving aeroplane” guitar I played in the background between 2:50 and 2:54.  Makes me very very happy every time I hear it.