The New "Tempo And The Times" Podcast
Bob Gatty and I Interview Susan Anders
Every Tuesday, 7-9 p.m. Twin Kegs II, Nashville
I wrote this song on a midnight walk on a winter night to the rhythm of my footsteps on the boardwalk of a deserted beach town. It was finished by the time I stepped back onto the enclosed porch of the house I was in. Afraid the whole thing would vanish from my brain, I grabbed my guitar and played it round and round on that porch -- which had a cathedral ceiling and nice acoustics -- until I felt l had it down. Didn’t even stop to take my hat and coat off.
I cut an old-school R&B band version with some great players in New Orleans. Then I came down to Nashville to Kevin McKendree’s Rock House and cut backing vocals on the track with Bekka Bramlett. I told her I usually just liked just one female voice with mine in certain specific places. When I played her the song, she really dug it and even started crying a little. She asked me if she could try a couple of other things too. I stood there with my mouth hanging open as she pulled a complete arrangement out of her head and sang a bunch of parts real fast, doubling some of them. Amazing. Check out that version on my “Do What Your Heart Says Too” record if you’re feeling it.
But the other night, on my steady Tuesday gig outside on the covered, partially enclosed, and sort-of-heated porch, and there was time for one more tune. It was chilly, but there were still a couple of folks hanging in. I guess being there on the Twin Kegs II porch reminded me of standing on the porch of that empty beach house with my coat and hat still on playing the song down at 2 a.m. This is sort of how I remember it sounding when I wrote it, with my wobbly singing and guitar playing bouncing around that empty beach house. “Hoping That The Sun Won’t Shine.”
David Hood, Spooner Oldham, Wil McFarlane, Doug Belote (not shown), and Jan Cronin listen to me demo one of my tunes.
I'm Working on a New CD -- And Am Going to Drop Some Tracks Soon
I’m getting serious about finishing a record I’ve been working on for the last couple of years. It’s starting to come together, and I am hopeful that it’s going to be my best effort yet. Stay tuned, because I’m going to be dropping a track or three over the next couple of months. If you want to stay up to date, like/follow my Scott Ramminger Music and Writing Facebook page and check out my website scottramminger.com.
The train pulled out of the station even before my last CD, “Rise Up,” came out in early 2019. My buddy Doug Belote called to tell me he was going to be in Nashville just before Christmas 2018. Doug is one of my favorite drummers on the planet. He’s from Louisianna and lives in New Orleans. He decamped to Nashville for a couple of years, post-Katrina. He plays with Jerry Douglas, and he’s recorded and toured with all kinds of people, from Ernie K. Doe to Dr. John, Alan Toussaint, and Sonny Landreth, to name a few. When he was living in Nashville, he was in Jack Pearson’s band, which says a fair bit in itself.
I had a couple of half-finished things lying around, and an “idea box” full of hard to decipher notes on the back of old junk mail. Doug coming through town seemed like a good reason to get to work on some songs. So I booked some studio time at a cool place in Berry Hill here in Nashville, and hunkered down and banged out a bunch of songs over the course of about a month.
We cut six of my tunes in as many hours on a Sunday, the day before Christmas Eve. Besides Doug, that session featured Paul Ossola, who played bass with Levon Helm, and in GE Smith’s Saturday Night Live Band; Tom Britt, a guitar slinger best known for his many years with Vince Gill; and Dennis Wage, a monster keyboard man who has played with Delbert McClinton for years, and with folks like Leroy Parnell and T. Graham Brown.
The six songs i cut on that session wasn’t enough to fill a record. So I knew was going to go back in the studio somewhere. For many years -- since meeting the legendary Spooner Oldham -- I’ve been plotting to record in Muscle Shoals. At the top of my “get” list for the session were Spooner and David Hood, two of the original Swampers -- a nick name given to one of the hottest studio groups in popular music, then or now. Google them. And I was lucky enough to get them both.
Spooner is a humble musical genius who is a writer’s writer -- and player. He has a keyboard style all his own. Not only has he written some of the most iconic songs of a generation, but also played on recordings and live performances for people like Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and many, many more.
David Hood is one of the most recorded bass players in history and a founder of the legendary studio, Muscle Shoals Sound. He’s got so many credits, listing them means wondering who to leave out. These guys have the special mojo. The secret sauce. On top of that, both he and Spooner are both extremely nice guys and a pile of fun to record with.
The two days in Muscle Shoals were rounded out by guitar man Will McFarlane, who, among other things, held down the guitar chair with Bonnie Rait before becoming a session guy in the Shoals. Doug came up from New Orleans to anchor the whole thing on drums. The chemistry between a drummer and the bass player is the secret sauce that makes tracks. And Doug hooked up with both Paul and David like he had been playing with them all his life.
We cut 11 tracks in two days at the Nutthouse, Jimmy Nutt’s extremely cool studio in Sheffield, Alabama. It’s in an old bank building. The old bank vault is just off the main tracking room. And Jimmy is a great engineer.
If all that is not enough,, I have a couple of tracks I’ve been hanging on to from a session I did a while back in New Orleans. Those feature Doug on drums. On bass is George Porter Jr of Meters fame. On guitar, Shane Theriot, who produced Dr. John’s last album, plays with Hall & Oates and holds down the Music Director chair on “Live From Daryl’s House,” and did a long stint with The Neville Brothers, etc. etc. On keys, New Orleans legend David Torkanowsky, who has played with everyone from Nat Adderly to Irma Thomas.
If I can’t make a good record out of that, I should hang it up! So stay tuned. And I look forward to playing some of this new material live when things get closer to normal!