01 2014

The Making of the Saltwater Album: On True Collaboration

I am half way through recording my new album Saltwater, and absolutely loving the process of working with Shane.

When it came to choosing who I would work with to produce this album, my mind went back to the last time I worked with Shane Nicholson. It was over ten years ago, when the two of us got together to co-write the song, Who We Are, for my album 15 Minutes Out to Sea. At the time, three different friends had told me, completely independently of each other, that I should write a song with Shane Nicholson. So we got together in a random kitchen with my mandola, some paper and pens, and we did just that!

That particular songwriting experience stood out to me, in the way that we genuinely listened to each other and were honest with each other about the process. We were like excited school kids, both flat out, heads down, pens a blur, at the kitchen table writing verses for Who We Are – we ended up with so much lyrical material that we spent the longest time collaborating to cull the words back down to song length!

That type of true collaboration is hard to find, and that is what I wanted to achieve in making this record. I produced an earlier album myself, Water and Wood, and am proud that I am still happy with those sounds years later. However, this time around, I didn’t want to be the producer or even a co-producer. I wanted to let the producer have the reigns. At the same time, I also wanted to know that I would be genuinely listened to and heard when something really mattered to me.

Our earlier songwriting experience together and our subsequent friendship gave me the confidence that Shane would be able to do just that; not only stick to his guns when he believed in something, but also genuinely listen and hear my point of view as well.

I feel the most relaxed I have ever felt making a record. Not only is the collaboration working, but it seems that I barely have to explain things at all, and Shane seems to completely get what I mean! There is a lot of ESP going on here, and there is magic being made…

It has been a long, sometimes difficult journey to this point, and it is the most satisfying feeling to be finally making this album real, and sounding just the way I want it to.