2013 in a Nutshell!

Well 2013 was another great year.

Feel the pain in the thighs.

I trained hard with “Da Boyz” and raced a lot. I rode over 10,000 km’s and I also won 2 races. One of those races was by a lot!

That's Me at the Top.  Woot Woot

That’s Me at the Top. Woot Woot

I really love cycling in Japan especially where I live in Numata. The mountain roads around here are clean and hardly used. Some early morning rides it feels like the road was made just for me. I’m looking forward to next year already. I will upgrade my bicycle group set Dura-Ace to the 9000 mechanical and probably buy a new training wheel-set.

Financially things were great, too. My best friend Ward did wonders with his day trading bringing me in over 17% profit over the year. I could “almost” quit my day job but not just yet. Also, Capital Clean Seed stock which I have some big money tied up in has finally started to climb and I’m excited to where it’ll go this year. If things go as predicted my move back to Canada won’t be as scary as I think. I will pray to the money gods on that one! It would really give me a lot of options on how to take care of my family which is the main reason I’ve been working so hard in the first place.

My little girl Victoria is now almost 2 years 6 months and she just gets cuter to me every day. She’s talking and developing her own personality and fortunately she loves playing together with daddy. She starts my days off by saying “Good morning daddy” and she never shy’s away from saying “I love you daddy”. What more could a father ask for? People tell me it will one day change and if they’re right, I best absorb every moment I can right now. Nothing makes me feel like I have a purpose more than my daughter.

Let's rock 2014!In August, I took 2 weeks and headed to Nashville Tennessee to record my latest album. I called up Aussie Greg Arnold again to produce it and we met up in a hotel near downtown Nashville to bash out the songs in pre-production before heading over to Alex the Great studio to have Brad Jones engineer and co-produce. The recording went well and it was an incredible experience. Brad would drive us to a different restaurant ever day around 3 to experience Southern food. The cool thing about the studio was that it was attached to a guest house which was included in the studio fee. I slept in the big studio room every night trying to finish off lyrics.  It was so cool looking around the room at the double bass, the grand piano, the drums all mic-ed up, and the foam carefully placed for sound just before closing my eyes and dreaming.  A kid in a candy store! The album is finally out and in boxes but I don’t plan on releasing it until January 2014. It’s titled, “Every Sunrise”.

Newest album, "Every Sunrise"

Newest album, “Every Sunrise”

Recording

I also hooked up with my brother in Nashville. He flew in for 2 nights to see me. It was really great to spend quality time with him. We had no family distractions and it was the icing on the cake to make it a memory I will not forget.

My Bro and I in Nashville 2013

I had a good year of gigging too. I am very fortunate to have my job at Lockheart castle. Without that second income things would be a lot different for us. But I also landed a few new gigs that could promise to become a regular event.

The worst thing of 2013 was word that my father has cancer in his liver and lungs. He’s on chemo now as I write this but I should point out that he got a phone call 3 days ago saying his last CT scan showed “a significant decrease of cancer in his liver” which has a lot of us family members excited. I will pray that the drugs continue to work and that my father kicks cancer in 2014.

Love my dad

Love my dad

So 2014 is just around the corner and if there are no hick-ups along the way I expect I will continue to do all the things I love, like look after my family, train hard on the road bike, race hard, gig every weekend, save money, write songs, sell the new album, and do my best to stay healthy and happy. Thank you 2013 and hello 2014!

Recording an album in Nashville

Hi

How are things?   Hope you’re enjoying August!  I had a great time.  As you probably know, I went down to Nashville Tennessee for just over 2 weeks.  After 3 long years since my last album which I recorded in Australia I embarked on a journey to Music City.  I’ve always wanted to record there so with a lot of emails and time management it happened.  I got there a few days early to help fight jet lag and to lock myself in my hotel room and try to finish off some lyrics. I accidentally chose the perfect hotel for that because there was nothing else around that area.

first hotel in Nashville.  Dive of a place.

first hotel in Nashville. Dive of a place.

After a couple days I moved to a hotel near the downtown area.  Producer/singer-songwriter Greg Arnold flew in from Australia and met me there.  For the next couple of days he would come up to my room with his guitar and we did some per-production of the songs.  We worked on a few arrangement and lyrical ideas as well as pick the songs which he felt were the strongest of the bunch to go on the album.  I had written well over 20 songs for the CD knowing full well, they all weren’t going to make it.

Playing the piano

From the 18th until the 23rd of August we recorded at “Alex the Great” studios.   The cool thing about this studio is that it’s attached to a house so we had all the luxuries one needs when not immersed in recording.  Sleeping there was a huge savings on my budget.    Half owner of the studio is legendary Brad Jones.  It was extremely exciting to have the opportunity to work with both Greg Arnold and Brad Jones who both have credentials as long as a roll of toilet paper.  Their creative ideas, skills and personalities made the recordings vibrant and fun.

The living quarters of Alex the Great studio

The living quarters of Alex the Great studio

I was also lucky enough to get drummer Steve Bowman (former Counting Crows) who not only is a killer player but if he wasn’t a drummer could have been a stand-up comedian.  I thoroughly enjoyed his personality and more so the vibe he put on each song.  I think the feeling was mutual as he came in quite often after his parts were done to share stories and see how the songs were progressing.

Kell and Steve StudioMulti-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin (Robert Plant band member etc) also came on board and threw down a variety of ideas on a handful of tracks.  He was fast and dead on with the thoughts we were relaying to him.   He really added some extra flavor to push the mood of the songs up even more.  I was very pleased to have him contribute.

Fats KaplinEvery day around 3:30 we would take a lunch break and Brad would drive us to his favorite restaurants.  He wanted us to experience the local cuisine and we pretty much covered it all.   We had Mexican, Barbecue, Southern Fried dishes and more.  It was a great time to talk about things other than my songs and for me to learn a little more about personalities behind the talent.  One of the things I learned was the 6 degrees of separation in the music business.  Especially down in Nashville.  Everyone that has talent seems to have worked with everyone else.  Some of the stories that were shared are priceless but they’ll remain behind closed doors.

Good Mexican food

Good Mexican food

When the last day came we were close to finishing up most of the tracking but there were still a few things that need to be done.  Brad will do those on his own time since both Greg and I had to fly out of Nashville.

Greg Kell Brad Studio

Brad was quick to tell me often that he really liked the songs but in particular thought my voice was special.  Steve Bowman said my voice reminded him of Freedy Johnson.  Greg said he feels this album is extremely strong.  He said it’s much stronger than “These Days” and he’s excited to hear the final product.  The positive feedback from top guns can do a musician good sometimes!

IMG_2798

It was tough to turn around one last time, shake hands and say “until next time”.  For now, I’ll enjoy the spices that this album has to offer.

I hope to see you on the journey.

Kelly