Friday, June 29, 2012

It is Nelson Eddy's 111th Birthday!

Today is Nelson Eddy's birthday. Nelson Eddy. My favorite singer. He would have been 111 years old, so, Happy Birthday, Mr. Eddy!

Just to be different, here are a bunch of photos of of Mr. Eddy wearing his glasses. Elizabeth and I are always thrilled to find pictures of the stars wearing glasses --- it makes them seem like the normal people that they were.

Some exciting Nelson Eddy news: the 1940 California Census became searchable today, and we were able to find Nelson Eddy living in his house in Los Angeles. This is the first census that shows him as a film star and married to Ann Franklin. His step-son is living with them, they have a maid and his house is worth $50,000. Unfortunately, he is one of two people on the page where they didn't fill out what his salary for the year had been. Too bad. What is amazing, I think, is that it lists him as only being educated through eighth grade. Not bad, considering the nowadays you are basically nothing if you don't have a four year college degree. Look what he did with just eighth grade: He achieved the American Dream!

So, here's celebrating the birthday of my favorite movie star! The world is a nicer place because of his beautiful music. Thank you, Mr. Eddy!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 4: Coming Back Home

Saturday dawned bright and . . . dark. Elizabeth and I woke up at 5:25am and just stayed up. We finished packing the last couple things and started carrying stuff down to the car. Only a couple of staff were even in the lobby and the lights were still off!

Buddy and Kay were up a little bit after us, and she worked on the laptop while we finished loading. Thanks to Walt (who taught us successfully how to fit five pounds into a three pound slot) we had plenty of room. We had one bag with snacks that sat in the back seat with us. The two of us had gotten some little packets of strawberry and grape jelly from the hotel, and we had all the fixin's for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

We left "on time" at 6:30am. There was a Starbucks across the street, so Buddy and Kay went in to get breakfast and drinks for themselves. Elizabeth and I figured on having sandwiches an hour or so down the road. While they were in there, Buddy got a 3-CD set of Johnny Cash --- his personal favorite singer. How could he resist that? So, we listened to a disc and Buddy told us stories of when he was a "young pup." What Elizabeth and I couldn't wait to hear was the rough mix of Buddy's new CD, so that's what we sang-along to next. Yahoo! This is just going to be Buddy's best CD ever!

The weather was really perfect, and the traffic wasn't too bad --- until we got back into good old Ohio. We were all pretty tired and a bit slap happy and that makes for some silliness. We spent hours practicing how to whistle using your thumb and index finger in the corners of your mouth. I've just got to know how to that. We all achieved a whistle at some point, but nothing concrete. I'm still practicing, though! I mean, that's something that I really want to be able to teach my kids one day --- but, I have to be able to do it first. ;)

We stopped at a travel plaza in West Virginia and the two of us got some postcards and these really beautiful quartz crystal pieces. We got one that's an emerald green color and a dark pink. We also got a nice large iced-tea at Burger King! Not bad.

We made it back to Buddy and Kay's by 2:30pm, and Mom and Dad met us there about ten minutes later. So, that's the story of our trip --- at least the basics. Elizabeth and I really had a blast! Buddy has told us all kinds of stories about recording and the musicians for years, but you know, it's a lot different to actually see it than to hear about it. Buddy and the background musicians are really talented and skilled at their jobs. Wow! I mean, there were hardly any mistakes the whole time. Most of the things that they all "corrected" were just because they could be done better --- not because they had been done wrong. It was a real blessing to get to see them at work, that's for sure! More later.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 3: Recording the Vocals

Friday was the day that Buddy got to record his vocals. We didn't have to get to the studio until 10:00am, so we had breakfast at the hotel (oatmeal and waffles) and spent some time in our rooms resting. Everybody was a bit tired from the day before, so Buddy was just resting up while Kay worked on her computer. Elizabeth and I brought a bagel and English muffin (bagel for me!) up to the room and we watched a bit of a movie. We also called Mom to see what she was up to and tell her our plans for the day.

Buddy got to record the vocals in the same studio that we'd been in on Thursday, so he was back in the same little sound booth, and we were all back on the same black sofa. Not bad. The last two tracks on the CD are the hardest to sing, so Buddy figured that it would be a good idea to record the vocals in reverse order. Hey, nothing beats variety.

Buddy's voice was really top-notch, even after having a big day before. This is going to be a fabulous CD! One of the songs was actually a one-take-no-mistake deal. He didn't even have to punch-in a single word. And, it happens to be my favorite one!

Elizabeth and I spent some time taking pictures of each other in the studio, and these are some of the results. :) They have to keep the air conditioning on pretty low in there (because of all the equipment), so we actually took jackets the second day. You also get to see our glasses. Didn't really need them in there, but we wanted them in some of the pictures, anyway!

We were what Wade (the sound engineer) called "The Peanut Gallery" and "lyric police," so we stayed in-tune to help catch any slips or changes. It's really amazing, but Buddy hardly makes any mistakes! Wow. I know I would in his place, but that's why he's famous, right?! So, our job was pretty easy.

We were all pretty hungry by dinner time, but Buddy was finished by 5:30pm. They rush hour traffic was pretty thick, so we all decided to got to the hotel for an hour and then head out to dinner. This was the night that we were figuring on going to South Carolina to find a restaurant. We drove four miles down the road to Exit 1 and found a Cracker Barrel. It was literally across the street from the amusement park, Carowinds. Elizabeth and I also found a really cool present for Dad. It was a little plate with a fish on it and a cute fishing saying that I can't remember all of a sudden. Nuts. We also found a bendable "Gumby" model. Mom and Dad have one just like it that they bought when they got married, so we bought a new one to go with it. :) Can't beat that with a stick!

Kay wanted to leave at 6:30am the next morning, so Elizabeth and I started packing once we were back at the hotel. It didn't take us too long, so we called Mom and Dad, and we heated up some of the left-over onion rings from the first night. Not bad! It was pretty late by the time we got to bed, but it wasn't like there was a lot of physical activity on the plans for the next day. Eight hours in a car. More later.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 2: Recording the Background Tracks

Thursday dawned clear and sunny. This was the day that the studio musicians came in to record the background tracks for the CD. Elizabeth and I were really interested in the process, so this was the day that we were really looking forward to. We loaded Buddy's instruments into the car, and I took Elizabeth's picture in front of the lobby door. Isn't she cute?! Since I'm always holding the camera, there never seem to be pictures of me, so I made a "self portrait" in the rear view mirror of the car as we were driving. :)

Buddy wanted to take a couple of dozen doughnuts for the guys to eat between songs, so we spent some of the morning trying to find a doughnut place. They've got a GPS in their car, but I'm telling you --- that thing is nuts! In the end, we were able to locate a Dunkin' Donuts just a couple minutes from the studio. We arrived at Gat3 at about 9:45am and were the first of the recording artists there. Mark (the Bass player) arrived a few minutes after us and started setting up the three guitars that he had brought. He came in from Tennessee the night before, but the other guys all came from the Carolinas.

This CD is going to be full of Noah's Ark-themed songs. Buddy had a list of the songs, lyrics for all of them and a demo CD that he had made. He had sent this CD to the guys a few weeks in advance, so that they had a chance to hear the songs, and Danny (the piano player) had made "mark-ups" for all of the songs. This is some kind of a numbering system that works by the bars of the music --- it takes the place of normal sheet music. Unfortunately, I don't know the official name for it. What talent all those guys have! Wow!

They decided to just record the songs in order as they will appear on the CD, so they started at #1 and worked all the way through #13. They all had copies of Danny's mark-ups, so the five of them stood around and listened to the song that they were about to record on the demo CD. Then, they would talk about it to get the idea of the style down. Buddy wanted this one to be more 1950s and 1960s sounding, so they played the songs in the style of the old Country/Gospel groups and bands. They marked their papers with all of their little notes, put on their earphones and got down to work. Elizabeth and I were really surprised when they had finished the first song in just a bit more than ten minutes. Wow!

We got to sit in the large room with the sound boards (where all the mixing was done). All of the sound from all the recording booths was piped in there, so we got to hear everything. There was also a large black sofa in front a a huge glass window that looked into the recording rooms, so we could also see everything. Not bad! The drummer and bass player sat in the large sound room together, since the bass was plugged in and not making any audible noise in the room. The piano player had a little sound booth of his own, as did the musician with the acoustic instruments and Buddy. No actual vocal tracks were recorded this first day. Buddy was singing and recording what are called "scratch vocals", but these were only for the benefit of the musicians and were deleted the next day.

They made it through half of the songs by lunch time, which was around 2:00pm. We all went to an Italian place called Villa Antonio. Boy, was it pricey --- and everything had meat in it. We were able to talk to some of the guys, though, and that was nice. In the end, the recording continued until 8:30pm. I can't say anything about the particular songs as it would spoil things when the CD finally comes out, but I'll tell you the track numbers of my three favorites (in the order of my favorites!). The tracks should be in the same order, and I'll post an entry on them specifically once the CD is out --- they are: #6, #9, #1. Oh boy!

Since it was so late by the time that we finished, we had all voted to order pizza in at the hotel. On the way back, though, (just to round out the meal) we stopped at Wendy's and got some chocolate Frosties! These were safely deposited in the freezer in the suite and saved for dessert. Not a bad ending to a really cool day! More later.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 1: At the Hotel in Charlotte

We stayed at the Staybridge Suites (Arrowwood) in Charlotte. This is the first time that Elizabeth and I had heard of this particular chain, so we didn't really know what to expect. Boy, was it nice?! The price per night was really good, and the suite was huge. There was a "living area" that was the room where you entered. It had a kitchenette (complete with full-size fridge/freezer, sink, dishwasher, microwave and convection oven), a love seat and easy chair, dining table for four and an entertainment center complete with DVD/VCR player.

To the left was a bedroom with a King bed, full bathroom, conference table and dresser. That was Buddy and Kay's spot. To the right was another bedroom (ours!) with two double beds, a full bathroom, full closet and a dresser. There was a TV in each room, and Elizabeth had packed our travel DVD player, so we hooked that us in our room and could even watch movies. Not that we really had much time to relax like that! :)

Our windows looked onto the outside pool, but not very many people were out swimming while we were there. There was a free breakfast in the lobby every morning. It had everything from the usual pastries and English Muffins to oatmeal and waffles! We've never been to one of these places where oatmeal was an option. Elizabeth and I eat that most mornings, so that made us pretty happy.

On the first night, we unloaded our stuff and settled in a bit before looking for a place to have dinner. There was a Ruby Tuesday just down the street, and Buddy was dying for some ribs, so that won the vote. The two of us had the salad bar with a combo of three sides of our choice. We got onion rings and french fries --- figuring that the portions would be the typical three onion rings. Whoa, were we wrong! There were so many fries and onion rings that we couldn't even eat half of them. We took them back to the hotel and ate them another evening.

We didn't need to be at the recording studio until about 9:45am the next morning, so we were able to sit around and talk together. We had a nice time with Buddy telling us about some of his family when he was little and some things that we've wanted to hear about for a long time. Everybody turned in about 9:00pm, and Elizabeth and I watched about twenty minutes of Ride Clear of Diablo (a fabulous Western and one of my favorite films!). More later.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day 1: Traveling down to Gat3 Studio

Elizabeth and I went down with Buddy and Kay on Wednesday, June 14. Mom drove us to their house and we left from there at 8:00am. The car was pretty full with the four of us loaded into their Subaru station wagon. Buddy also took a guitar, a dulcimer and his octave mandolin.

Our first stop was in Zanesville, OH (which is not an hour away from B &Ks). They hadn't eaten breakfast and wanted to stop at Tim Horton's. Elizabeth and I had never been in one before, and it was the cutest little place. It looked just like the little concession buildings in the computer game, Roller Coaster Tycoon. The two of us shared a banana nut muffin while Buddy and Kay got sandwiches. Buddy also got a long john doughnut with vanilla icing. It had just been iced, so they gave it to him in an adorable little box (meant for doughnut holes). It was so cute! That's Elizabeth holding it when we were getting back into the car.

We passed the Zane Grey Museum, which Buddy and Kay said was really nice. The weather was great for driving. We never had any rain, and the traffic was really only bad in Ohio and Charlotte. The Ohio River was beautifully calm and blue, and the mountains were very green. The southern states don't seem to be suffering from the same dry conditions that Ohio is in the middle of. One of the things that Elizabeth and I really enjoyed was the Capitol Building in Charleston, West Virginia. It has a large dome that is made of gold and has been restored to all of it's original beauty. Wow! What a lovely sight, and we even managed a decent picture.

We only made one "pit stop" and that was in Beckley, West Virginia. It is a large travel plaza with several express fast food chains inside. Buddy and Kay picked Frappuccinos from Starbucks, but Elizabeth and I found a squished penny machine! Our pennies have the beautiful capitol building right in the center of them! We really love squished pennies and have been collecting them since we were little girls. We even got books that hold them all in their own pockets --- which are now almost full! Kay gassed the car up while Buddy washed the windshield, and then we were on our way. The two of us had veggie burgers in the car. We'd packed lots of snacks, too, including a giant carton of Goldfish crackers!

We spent a couple hours on the turnpike, so we went through three tole booths and two tunnels. East River Mountain Tunnel and Big Walker Mountain Tunnel. At the end of the last tunnel was the Virginia state line. I love Virginia. Just driving through it, you can understand why the old "Virginians" considered themselves a notch above the rest of the country. We've done a little bit of sight-seeing there on previous trips and they're some of my favorite places. Monticello, in particular.

We did get to pass through (rather, over the side of by going down a huge mountain range) the valley where there was a nice view of Pilot Mountain on the horizon! The day was so clear that you could see it really well, too. Buddy said that when it's hazy or cloudy you don't get to see it from the highway that we were on. We even passed the "Mt. Airy" exit, so Elizabeth and I had some fond thoughts of the Andy Griffith Show. :)

The scenery changed once we crossed into North Carolina. The ground was pretty flat and the trees were shorter and scrubbier. However, one thing that really impressed the two of us about the South were the fabulous manners. Guys are all SO polite down there!! More on that in another post. We arrived at the hotel by 4:00pm. It was a Staybridge Suites, which we'd never heard of. Buddy and Kay stayed there last time they recorded at Gat3 and really liked it. I've got a bunch of hotel pictures, so that will be another post. More later.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Home from Recording at Gat3 Studio

Elizabeth and I got home last night from the trip down to North Carolina. We drove down with Buddy and Kay on Wednesday.

Destination: Gat3 Studio in Charlotte, NC.
When: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 through Saturday, June 16, 2012
Event: Recording Buddy's new CD at Gat3 (Noah's Ark themed songs)

It's going to take several blog entries to post all the stories, thoughts, pictures and videos that we took. Wow! This was one of the coolest experiences --- to be in the studio while all the musicians were scoring the background and recording. The background musicians recorded all of the tracks on Thursday, and those are four really, really talented guys! Then, Buddy recorded all of the vocals on Friday. The musicians recorded all of the songs in the order that they'll appear on the CD. Buddy recorded the vocals from back to front. :)

Danny Crawford (Piano and Keyboard)
Tony Creasman (Drums)
David Johnson (Guitar, Various Acoustic Instruments)
Buddy Davis (Vocals)
Mark Fain (Bass Guitar)

The recording for the tracks started at 10:30am and lasted until 8:30pm. Buddy's vocals started at 10:00am and lasted until 5:30pm. Everyone at the studio was really nice, and they were all very friendly.

Ohio seems to be the only state suffering from a lack of rain and an inordinate amount of traffic on the roads. West Virginia and Virginia were beautiful and very green. Also rather unpopulated, which was a nice feeling. I'm going to start putting up pictures tomorrow, and we took a lot! More later.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

All Packed and Ready to Go!

Well, Elizabeth and I are heading off with Buddy and Kay tomorrow. We're all packed and pretty much ready to go. The weather looks like it should be pretty nice. We're driving down to the recording studio tomorrow and heading back home on Saturday.

We've been trying to stick around here the past couple days, and the two of us have had a chance to work on our scrapbooks. So much so that we actually ran out of photo corners --- so, we ran into Pat Catan's earlier to get a few more. :)

On Sunday, we went down to a church in Utica to hear Buddy give his Noah's Ark talk. Then we headed to their house and had lunch together. We sat around and talked for a while, but everybody was pretty beat, so we didn't stay 'til too late! Well, got to get going. More later.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Seeing the 'Nooks and Crannies' of Stan Hywet

Yesterday was a really fun day. The weather was so nice and clear that we figured it would be a perfect day to go up to Stan Hywet again. Our pass runs out at the end of the month, and Elizabeth and I have been dying to take the "nooks & crannies" tour. You get to see the servants' quarters, the extra guest bedrooms (including the tower room), the dormitory, the coal room, the wood room, the wine cellar, the sauna and more!

Apparently, this was the tour of the house that we had taken as part of the TLC group when we were about ten or eleven years old, but we didn't remember it. Mom did, so she decided to walk around the grounds while we took the tour, and the two of us ended up being the only people on the tour. Boy, was it cool! The Cromwell Room (which is a guest room on the third floor of the tower) was our favorite. I also really liked the wine cellar and the changing rooms for the pool.

Once the tour was over, we all walked down to the Gatehouse. We've wanted to see that every other time that we've been but just never got around to it. That is a cute little house and one that I wouldn't mind living in. We took a bunch of pictures of it --- including us standing at the front. And, despite the serious look, Elizabeth was having a fun time! Oh, and those are our new glasses. That's quite a story too, but for another post.

We also went back through the house (the normal self-guided tour). The Billiards Room is my all-time favorite. We're thinking of doing our bedroom over to the "tudor style" look. We even have a beam on the ceiling that would look great painted in the dark brown color. Anyway, we're hoping to go up one more time before the pass is over. We still haven't walked out Pleasure Drive to see the house from the back! More later.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's the 68th Anniversary of D-Day!

"You remember it. Remember every bit of it, 'cause we are on the eve of a day that people are going to talk about long after we are dead and gone."
(Destroyer Commander in the film The Longest Day)

Remember D-Day. It's too bad that all Google cares to honor is the "79th Birthday of the First Drive-In Theater." Remember D-Day. God bless America.