I’m writing this from a café in Idyllwild; the arts blog might be a little quieter this week as I’m here in the mountains for a creative side project of my own. Wanted to let you in on what I’m up to.

I play violin in a folk/Americana band called The Tree Ring and we’re recording a 10-song album this week. I’ve been making music and playing shows in San Diego for three years with Joel P. West, and about a year-and-a-half ago, we began playing with a stand-up bassist named Doug Welcome and a drummer and vocalist, Darla Hawn — all three now some of my closest friends. We collaborate to make songs, and we’ve recently transitioned from playing as “Joel P West and The Tree Ring” to just “The Tree Ring.”

I drove up here Friday night to the cabin we’re using to set up a mini-studio. A recording engineer who lives in Oceanside is here with us, too. Darla had already recorded a lot of the drums and Doug had done the same with bass late last week. After Joel recorded a couple of guitar parts, I could add my violin to two of the songs on Saturday and last night. A friend of ours drove in from L.A. to add trumpet. Today we have some key sessions ahead of us to nail down the foundation of the songs, and then we’ll add the finishing touches later this week.

Curious what we sound like? One of those songs I recorded yesterday was this song we played live in the Grape Street dog park in South Park earlier this year:

You can preview another new song and see updates from our studio adventures this week by visiting this page we’ve set up to talk about the project. I’m not asking you to help us with this project by sending you to Kickstarter, but I just want to show you what I’m up to.

I still don’t know a whole lot about how music is recorded but I’ve had the chance to learn a lot through projects like these I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in. Like, it’s pretty universal to record drums first so that everyone else lays down their pieces on the right beat. Anything you’re curious about in my project or the recording process? I’d love to try to figure out the answer. Ask away.

Please contact Kelly Bennett directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531 and follow her on Twitter: @kellyrbennett.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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