The story of what would become the So The Story Goes album goes back to the beginnings of Crash World. After the demise of Warjunk and with three years out of contact, Glen and Graham had a chance meeting at a Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds concert in 2014. "Well maybe not so much of a chance meeting" laughs Glen. "I had a pretty good idea Graham would be there as we both love that band". But as brilliant as the headliner was that night, it was the opening act that made a significant impression on Glen. It was Mark Lanegan alone onstage, with only Jeff Fielder accompanying him. Voice and guitar, and great arrangements of originals and covers from Lanegans' then recent Imitations album. Imitations was an album of contemporary covers as well as favourites from Lanegans's parents' collection. "This presentation made a huge impression on me", remembers Glen. "Mack The Knife and You Only Live Twice were just so sexy in this context."
Glen had been formulating the idea of taking on a new challenge, very different from previous band projects. "I wanted to paint on the musical canvas that studying a bit of jazz theory had opened up for me. The idea of performing songs from any era arranged for acoustic guitar and voice seemed like a massive challenge along with the idea of performing intimate shows in intimate settings greatly appealed to me. When you play acoustic guitar alone, there is nowhere to hide, no net, no amps, no pedals, only the instrument and your fingers. An incredibly different way to perform."
After seeing Graham at the Bad Seeds show, Glen wondered if Graham might be up for the same challenge. "I knew Graham had a vast musical taste and wasn't tied to any era. And so, we arranged to meet and the idea was put forth. “At first it was a radical idea for Graham to wrap his head around. It wasn't what he was expecting from me." Graham adds with a chuckle, “No, it was definitely not what I was expecting as a musical proposal”. They agreed to think it over and maybe exchange some potential cover song choices. Graham enthuses, "Once we started to knock song choices back and forth the possibilities just became so exciting". And so Crash World essentially began with one caveat…"Before we would write any songs for the project, we would let the wild variety of covers infuse our playing and thinking. So, we held off on working on original compositions for several months".
“Our first rehearsal actually included a visiting violinist from the Czech Republic”, laughs Glen. “I met him on Craigslist and invited him out. And even though he was returning home, the sound of that day was golden! And the most straight up fun we’d had in years.” “Oh yeah” smiles Graham, “We knew we were onto something special”. After several months of rehearsal, it seemed like the time was right to kick around a few original ideas that Glen had accumulated over time. Songs that were not right for previous projects. And the originals sounded so sweet done this way. "Acoustic music brings out such intimacy and immediacy" smiles Glen. "After that the floodgates opened and songs poured out. When I have a musical vehicle to write for, I write a lot. Inspiration stokes the fire of creativity."
For the next four years Glen and Graham played those intimate gigs and honed a new way of performing for audiences. "So many great shows and a real give and take with audiences. And the shows were sometimes marathon length! "There were times when we thought why not, let's just play! If they stay, we'll play! And stay they did. Audiences really responded to this show. And with Glen's spoken introductions to songs, Crash World could move seamlessly through the era's of their chosen material. "It is almost like a live radio show", says Glen. "All that useless information I accumulated as a young music fan suddenly became relevant to the presentation of all this great music. Our thinking from the start was if we pick great material and do it well, the audience doesn't have to necessarily be familiar with it. And it works beautifully as we've had too many sincere “thanks you’s” to count for introducing people to rare gems of musical brilliance from days gone by".
And during all these gigs they wove their own material into the tapestry. Songs like Lucky One and Tail Lights Fade struck an immediate chord with audiences. "We knew we were hitting it with those songs from the jump, no doubt about it. They received instant love".
And so, in the Spring of 2019, while rehearsing through another 25 or so new compositions, it became crystal clear that it was time to record some of these songs we felt so passionate about. "At this point we are beyond 100 original songs for Crash World”, says Graham. "Time to see what these songs cry out for in a recording studio." The question was always whether to record alone, just voice and guitar or to let the songs flourish with full instrumentation. It didn't take long to make that decision. "Full band arrangements is what I hear in my head when I write" exclaims Glen with a passion, "So it was time to brings that part of the music to life. And as we are not caught up in the limitations of band members who may be great at one style but not great at another, we were free to work with whoever we wanted. And so why wouldn't we seek out the best! Which is exactly what we did."
And so, the tale of the So The Story Goes album began in April 2019 with a message to Rod Bruno from Trailerhawk which went like this "Hey Rod, we're heading for doing some recording and I was wondering if you can recommend anyone who is 'special' at producing/engineering acoustic based music...and beyond!". To which Rod replied, "Hi Glen, I would strongly recommend Karl Dicaire at Hipposonic. He’s incredibly talented and one heck of a great guy. Best, Rod".
And so the table was set for one half of the recording process. After performing their final summer gigs including an appearance at Jazz Fest 2019, Glen and Graham met with Karl on August 5, 2019 and immediately hit it off with a like-minded, laid back cat!. "We took a quick look at Hipposonic and felt the solid vibes within the hallowed walls of the historic studio which has played such a huge part in too many classic recordings to list".
The other half of the recording process began by way of a forwarded Craigslist ad for a free studio session from former Warjunk drummer Troy Taillon. Glen replied to the ad and met with David Jewer, a producer and studio owner in North Vancouver on July 29th. Glen and Graham convened at Airborne Recorders on August 10th just before playing Guilt & Co. later in the week. "The session was a breeze and the feeling was amazing all the way around".
Picking the songs proved to be relatively smooth for Glen and Graham. "Some were obvious choices as they had been crowd favourites for some time, others were brand new but felt special from the get-go. And as Crash World has such a large catalogue of covers, several songs loved by audiences were also chosen. "Our covers are often given their own unique arrangements and the ones we chose for the album, definitely have that in spades. And as unique interpretations of great music has always been one of our hallmarks, we didn't shy away from recording a few of these numbers."
Airborne Recorders October 5, 2019:
With the pre-production from the free August session done and bass guitar supplied by producer David Jewer it was time for drums!
Vancouver based drummer, Kelly Stodola brings his special touch to two of the newer tracks written for the album, Radio and The Good Life. "Kelly really knocked me out with his musicality”, exclaims Glen, “He doesn't just lay down a beat. His preparation begins with the lyrics! He brings a percussionist’s spin to the song on every level. A very welcome addition to the line-up of fine pro's we were able to work with on the entire project."
Airborne Recorders October 11, 2019:
Our first foray into the brilliance of local legend, Simon Kendall. Simon is the keyboard extraordinaire that finessed the 88's as a member of the iconic Doug & The Slugs. He has had a stout career performing live and on record with Colin James, Jim Byrnes, Wyckham Porteous, Steven Drake, Kevin Kane and Johnny Fay. And in 1993 he won the Genie Award for Best Original Score at the 14th Genie Awards for the film Cadillac Girls.
As arguably the "go-to" guy in the West for Hammond organ, Simon added his fine touch with piano and Hammond on Radio & The Good Life.
Airborne Recorders October 19, 2019:
Glen began adding guitars to Radio and The Good Life. Fender Stratocasters and Telecaster, as well as Tom Anderson guitars were the order of the day and proved to be solid companions throughout the entire album process. "Classic tones really staked their claim on these tracks".
Hammond Ave Studio November 11, 2019:
We gathered at Simon Kendall's studio to do a little pre-production for the upcoming Hipposonic session. "I absolutely wanted to play live with Simon during the session", says Glen. "I wanted to capture a performance between the two of us". They ran through Third Time's The Charm and Before & After, two newer songs with only Before & After having been debuted live in August at Guilt & Co. "On both songs Simon immediately brought that "je ne sais quoi" that only he can bring".
Hipposonic Studios November 16, 2019:
A big day! Laying down all the bed tracks for the Hipposonic sessions with Karl Dicaire. We began the day with the songs that we had rehearsed with Simon Kendall, Third Time's The Charm and Before & After. Karl had the room prepped and ready and the grand piano was ready for Simon's inimitable touch.
A couple of run throughs had bed tracks for both songs in the can. Simon's playing was beautiful as always. "Playing live in the legendary Hipposonic Studios with Simon Kendall was a real thrill for us".
With Simon's songs done, Glen and Graham sat down to perform their arrangement of Robert Johnson's stone-cold classic, Cross Road Blues. Karl set us up 20 feet apart, facing each other, as the only way for two people to perform this is with a lot of eye contact and cues to each other. In one take they laid down the version that would make the album. They did a second take but went with take one as it was straight magic!
Following Cross Road Blues, we moved on to laying down beds with Griffin MacLeod and Chris Sallis-Lyons, two local musicians and graduated of the VCC music program. "Because Griffin and Chris already played in several projects together, their connection was amazing". "And having my son play bass on the album was an indescribable high point for me", says Glen. Together we put down beds for Black Swan, R 'n' R Queen A.D., Ritual and our version of Sympathy For The Devil. Three of the four had been part of live sets with the exception being R 'n' R Queen A.D. which was a new number. The boys did a fantastic job! Griffin even got to use his Hofner bass on Black Swan. Such a unique tone. Top to bottom an amazing day!
On November 29th Glen asked Simon who he would recommend for string and horn arrangements?
Without hesitation he recommended Bill Runge.
Bill Runge is a monster player. He has been a performer, composer, arranger, and orchestrator for over 30 years. A multi-instrumentalist, he has performed and recorded on saxophones, flutes, clarinets, electric and string bass, piano and other keyboards, guitar, pennywhistle, and accordion.
As an in-demand studio musician has recorded with such acts as K-OS, INXS, Powder Blues, Traci Ullman, The Hard Rubber Orchestra, Swollen Members, Tower of Power horns, Long John Baldry, Shari Ulrich, The Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation (VEJI), Amos Garrett, The Paperboys, Lowell Fulson, Jackyll, and many more.
Bill has performed live shows at Jazz, Folk and Blues Festivals in Canada, Europe, the U.K., and the U.S. with such artists as The Funk Bros., Colin James, and Natalie Cole, Michael Buble, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker, Bo Didley, Sheena Easton, Roger Daltrey, John Hammond Jr., Ben E. King, Bob Hope, Robert Cray, Marilyn Crispell, Don Thompson, Kenny Wheeler, Jimmy Witherspoon, Dave Holland, Slide Hampton, Jeff Healey, Michael Burgess, Strippers Union and dozens more.
Glen contacted Bill and on November 30th they made arrangement to meet and discuss the project. "We met several times over the winter and it always seemed to be hammering rain", Glen remembers. "I took this as a good sign as some of the tunes had a melancholic, city vibe to them. The rain seemed to fit". Glen and Bill established a great rapport and a mutual understanding with minimal discussion. 'We didn’t talk it to death. This is when the idea to "Just let Pro's be Pro's really took hold." The songs will express what they needed. And they did. "Working with Bill was a dream.
Brilliant, just brilliant! Full stop! End of story."
Airborne Recorders December 1, 2019:
We gathered to lay down scratch/rough tracks for the rest of what would become the So The Story Goes album.
Lucky One, Leaving Behind, Millionaire, Tail Lights Fade, Captains Of Industry and Solsbury Hill. Some older, some newer. Some tried and true, some untested and new! A day of acoustic guitar and vocals.
Hipposonic Studios January 29, 2020:
This was truly a special session. Miles Hill on bass and Joel Fountain on drums.
Miles Hill is a multitalented artist who brings his versatile background as a bassist, producer, engineer and composer as well as his command of harmony, composition and rhythm to his work with The AltNews Band. He fell in love with the bass at 12, influenced by greats like Jaco Pastorious, Ray Brown and Paul Chambers, eventually studying with bass dynamo Dave Holland, who played with the legendary Miles Davis.
Along with mixing the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Games, Miles has recorded and performed live with artists including Van Morrison, Michael Bublé, Brazilian pop sensation Ivan Lins and more. He has played on over 600 records ranging from jazz, funk and tango to country and rock. Hill built his own state-of-the-art studio, Frequency Forward, where he continues to create music for other artists, composes for film and television and makes world-class recordings.
Joel Fountain is a Drummer/Singer/Songwriter/Producer residing in Vancouver BC, Canada. He performs on a regular basis in Vancouver and around the world. He has performed in Russia with trumpet virtuoso & ‘Order of Canada’ recipient Jens Lindemann, with Canadian Jazz sensation Laila Biali (including an Australia tour) and with jazz trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson as part of his ‘Big Bop Nouveau band’.
Let Pro's be Pro's...Miles and Joel had played together at various gigs over the years and were very in sync as a unit. They have an ease of communication and an ebb and flow that was beautifully suited to Third Time's The Charm and Before & After. Miles played his 19th century double bass on Before & After and his 5-string custom electric on Third Time's The Charm. Monstrous tone on both. Simply amazing! And Joel added just the right touch to both number with brushes on Before & After and some wonderful almost Ringo-esque fills on Third Time's The Charm.
A fantastic session with two of the very best around. A great day gentlemen!
And between that session and the next, we all know what happened to the world. This led to some delays in booking sessions while we all got our bearings and began to make our way tentatively forward in a new world.
Airborne Recorders May 17, 2020:
Once again, a fantastic session with the musicality of Kelly Stodola on drums. Glen exclaims, “Man, Kelly really out-did himself at this session. His preparation is out of this world and he brings such an individual approach to each song. His playing reflects every aspect of the song. Outstanding and inspiring Kelly!”
It was great to finally hear Lucky One, a true crowd favourite, coming to life in a band arrangement. Captains Of Industry which is essentially a folk song, took shape as a dark cautionary tale of power-hungry men and the politically corrupt. And Solsbury Hill got a unique take with Kelly deftly negotiating the 7/4 sections.
A completely inspiring day with stellar touches by Mr. Stodola.
Hipposonic Studios May 22, 2020:
Well folks, this was the big, big one! At least that's how it felt, especially with the delays brought on by the restrictions. But here we were! The day had finally arrived. Getting to hear Bill Runge's string and horn arrangements performed on the songs was going to be an amazing thrill. And it didn't disappoint.
Bill brought in his A-listers to record that day.
Cameron Wilson on violin (the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Vancouver Cantata Singers, Art of Time Ensemble, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Louisiana Philharmonic, Victoria Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestras, the Firebird Ensemble), Finn Maniche on cello (the Armadillo String Quartet, Ensemble Symposium, the Jazzmanian Devils, Soul Crib, the Paperboys, Denzel Sinclair, 54/40, Murray McLauglin, Mae Moore, Cam Wilson’s varying orchestral extravaganzas), Derry Byrne on trumpet (recorded or played with Yes, Aerosmith, The Barenaked Ladies, Colin James, Boz Scaggs, Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, Michael Buble, The Temptations, Gladys Knight, Shirley Bassey, Martha Reeves, Johnny Mathis, Gino Vanelli, The Tragically Hip and Diana Krall) and Bill himself on tenor & baritone sax and flute.
The day began with Bill producing and bringing to life his string arrangement for Black Swan. It was amazing to hear Cam and Finn draw their bows across the strings for the first time, breathing life into the scores that we had only heard in demo form. The communication and musical empathy between the three of them was palpable. Next up was Third Time's The Charm with strings as well as Bill's wonderful flute section.
Then the day moved onto the horn section with the arrival of the affable Derry Byrne. What an ease of rapport Bill and Derry have. So simpatico. They did the horns for R 'n' R Queen A.D., Before & After and Ritual (which features and heartbreakingly beautiful Derry trumpet solo) with amazing ease and feel. Last was adding Bill's baritone sax improv to Sympathy For The Devil. A short conversation and magic. One take for Mr. Runge!
And so, this glorious day was in the books! "A true highlight of all recording sessions for me", says Glen with a broad smile.
Hipposonic Studios June 21, 2020:
All guitars, all day! What more could a guitar player wish for?
The day began with a lot of amp choices and a combing through the guitar arsenal at Hipposonic. "Of course, I brought all my go-to guitars but like everything in Crash World I was open to trying other things, in this case other instruments" says Glen.
Choices made, decisions done, we moved onto recording. "Before any electric guitars I wanted to re-record two of the scratch acoustic tracks on R 'n' R Queen A.D. and Ritual. With the added instrumentation it was obvious that a more sympathetic performance was now in order". Quick and done. And now, electrics!
"I had been accumulating parts and ideas for electric guitars on this material for some time and here was the day". The day began with Black Swan and it was a thrill for all of us to hear amped up guitars finding their way onto the Crash World canvas. "I definitely used Graham's smile as a gauge throughout the day and Karl was a great producer and sounding board throughout the session. It was strange for them because they were hearing parts for the first time. There were no demos of these parts. That alone was a great litmus test of the guitar parts and arrangements for me. And there were many more smiles than frowns” laughs Glen.
Next was R 'n' R Queen A.D. which was a gas, gas, gas! Straight up rock and roll! 'nuff said. Then it was on to the songs with some jazz leanings, Third Time's The Charm was first. This guitar arrangement required restraint and room for the strings and flutes. Karl and Glen got some great tones for this one. Sounding beautiful. Next up was Before & After definitely the most jazz leaning song on the album. Glen used his Tom Anderson as well as Karl's hollow body Gretsch. And another wonderful result. Ritual followed which also required restraint and minimal flourish. The last song of the day was Sympathy For The Devil. A lot of guitar layers were added to this, but only as weaving. Parts come and go and build through sections. And of course a slight nod to the original Keith Richards solo near the end.
And that was that. A day of guitars. Satisfaction was at another high point.
Airborne Recorders June 22, 2020:
After the previous days guitar extravaganza this day brought us to Airborne to record the strings for Lucky One and Tail Lights Fade. Next to David Jewer, Bill Runge produced his arrangements with Cam and Finn once again back in their chairs. Another gloriously musical session played to perfection.
Airborne Recorders July 7-9, 2020:
What's better than a day of guitars? Why three days of course!
All acoustic scratch tracks were re-recorded and then electrics were done. The first day was spent getting sounds and choosing microphones. Then Solsbury Hill was laid down.
Day two was Lucky One, Tail Lights Fade and Millionaire. Day three...Captains Of Industry and Leaving Behind.
Some of these songs really screamed for Tele's and Strat's and David has a couple of beauties. So those made their way into the DNA of the songs.
Three really laid-back days, with lots of laughs and good times. David is a great producer and has an amazing ear. "He was a great sounding board for me" says Glen, "And helped keep my over-arching vibe of guitar restraint in check. I made a conscience effort not to overplay on any of this material. I really went for a less is more vibe, which in my case (laughs) still amounts to a lot of layers of guitar".
Airborne Recorders July 18, 2020:
Vocal session. On this day Graham laid down lead vocals on Tail Lights Fade, Lucky One, Captains Of Industry and Solsbury Hill.
An amazing day, with fresh approaches applied here and there to reflect the fuller instrumentation of the tracks. Glen mentions, "Graham went through the same process vocally that I had gone through with the guitars. The dynamics really open up and it's just a bigger canvas to paint on". Graham was locked and loaded, prepped and motivated! A beautiful day of vocals!
Hipposonic Studios July 26-27, 2020:
Vocal session. Two days of vocal work started with Black Swan, then Third Time's The Charm, Before & After and Sympathy For The Devil. The second day was reserved for Ritual and R 'n' R Queen A.D. It's always amazing to record in a room where so many iconic vocals have been recorded. The vibes of the space just find their way into the sound and performances. It's a magic room.
Graham nailed his performances and really put down something special over these two days. Another step complete.
Airborne Recorders August 19, 2020:
Did someone say steel drum? Absolutely!
From very early rehearsals Leaving Behind seemed to call out for some steel drum flavour. “But in all our years neither of us moved in steel drum circles. When I asked a few drummer friends…snake eyes! Nobody knew any steel drummers. Time to turn to Gig Salad. No we weren’t booking a wedding, but through this service we were able to track down the right man for the job…Rossi Tzonkov.
Rossi is a Spanish guitarist, steel drummer, singer and educator now based in Vancouver. He has performed and toured extensively in South Africa, Europe, and North America.
Rossi brought preparation, a ton of great vibes and unbridled enthusiasm to the session. A really “happy” session! What else can be said, “The sound of that instrument is just so unique, and up lifting” laughs Graham "And Rossi was amazing”.
Airborne Recorders August 22, 2020:
A day to revisit Radio and The Good Life. These were the first songs we did with David and now they needed a little extra vocal love to reflect the fuller instrumentation. Graham brought some exceptional, subtle changes to these numbers and they were the better for it.
Airborne Recorders August 31, 2020:
A day for laying down background vocals on Leaving Behind, Lucky One, Captains Of Industry and Tail Lights Fade. Graham, Glen and David all added harmonies to these songs. “We sang what the songs asked for and occasionally tries some outside the box ideas” says Graham. “Some ideas survive the microscope, some don’t. But you just never know”.
Airborne Recorders October 25, 2020:
Background vocals? Angela Kelman. Amazing!
Angela Kelman is a Multiple Juno, BC Country Music Award (BCCMA) and Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMA) winner and lead singer of Farmer's Daughter.
Angela is a dream to work with. A total pro with exceptional preparation and an openness to ideas that is extremely welcome. Anything we wanted, she would try. A fantastic energy and enthusiasm. She really brought the house down. Lucky One, Tail Lights Fade and Radio were the songs of the day.
Angela was more than able to bring to life the female chorus of background vocal we had envisioned from the beginning. Stellar stuff!
Hipposonic Studios November 7-8, 2020:
Black Swan, Third Time’s The Charm, Before & After and Ritual all received the Angela Kelman touch today. Karl was so good with the performances. His ear is awesome and he kept the session on track and the plethora of ideas in check. Angela was a dream as usual.
Airborne Recorders November 22, 2020:
Solsbury Hill, The Good Life, Leaving Behind and Millionaire were the songs of the day. This was a wrap up day for Angela’s background vocals on the Airborne session material. Another great day with Ms. Kelman!
The bonus feature on this day was Graham adding drum overdubs to Solsbury Hill. Graham pounded the toms and played the bodhran with finesse adding the little something extra to Solsbury Hill
Hipposonic Studios November 28, 2020:
Sympathy For The Devil, Black Swan, Third Time’s The Charm, Before & After and R ‘n’ R Queen A.D. today. Angela’s final day did not disappoint. She was wonderful once again. “The energy Angela brings just becomes part of the essence of the tracks. One of those things you can’t put your finger on. An intangible that’s hard to define."
The mixing process progresses through the winter for both sessions.
Airborne Recorders January 31, 2021:
A re-do of Solsbury Hill main guitar track. “As the mixing process continued, I just wasn’t happy with this performance. It is a challenging part and needs a smooth even touch” says Glen. The do-over made an incredible difference and really brought all the parts together. Job done.
Hipposonic Studios March 7, 2021:
Vocal re-do of Before & After. “I guess we both had things that bothered us”, smiles Graham. “Glen had Solsbury Hill and I had Before & After.” “Graham really killed it on this performance” extolls Glen. “So inside the song. Beautiful.”
Mixing was completed in May and mastering was done by Brock McFarlane of CPS Mastering. Brock was amazing. His attention to detail is second to none. A fantastic job and highly recommended.
And that’s all folks. The story of So The Story Goes. Now we move onto artwork and release, but there you have the recording part of the journey. If you made it this far, we salute you and we hope you found this particular story interesting. And if nothing else, it sheds light on the fact that all albums have a story, and while it takes the listener perhaps and hour to listen, it takes that artist months or sometimes even years to create.
There really is nothing quite like making an album. And now, it’s for you to enjoy. This one's for you music lovers!