Closer to Home is the title of my new album that I’ll release in January, and I’m happy to report that since my post about it last month I’ve made some progress!

Mastering is done, and I’m ecstatic with the results Michael Romanowski at Coast Mastering created. It was a joy to attend the mastering session with recording engineer Heidi Trefethen to see and hear the results come together. Attending a mastering session is a great way to appreciate aphorisms like “little things mean a lot.” No single change sounds very big, but at the end of a session that includes lots of little changes, the tracks sound more clear, better defined, and more consistent on a broader range of speaker systems. The work goes from sounding good to sounding even better and sounding like a record. Lots of people — even people deep in the music business — don’t really know how to explain what a mastering engineer does, and I’ve struggled with explaining it, too. But here’s what I say: A mastering engineer is another set of highly trained ears aside from the mix engineer, ears that can identify opportunities, big or little, to improve the sound of a recording, ears that are attached to a highly trained brain that knows how to take advantage of those opportunities using a set of often specialized audio processing tools. The mastering engineer knows what questions to ask of the producer and mix engineer, and they know how to use the answers to make the recording sound its best.

The jacket design is done, too, and I’m really happy with the proofs of the beautiful design Rainer Gembalczyk of Sienna Digital created and is sending to manufacturing. Rainer is a pleasure to work with, letting me be involved in the details of the process, yet contributing a great stream of ideas at every level. He really excels at turning rough concepts and images into a coherent design and he makes the process a joy for his client.

In my last post I mentioned that I expected the album liner notes to cover details of the performance, and that I wasn’t sure where the notes were going to come from this time around. After writing that post I decided to compose the liner notes myself, and the notes are quick thoughts about how I came to know and like each of the tunes I chose to put on the album. Despite my prediction last month, the notes don’t cover anything about the performances, so we’ll just have to see whether the critics are up to that job. If you’re reading this, maybe you’re interested enough to write and share your own thoughts about the album once it comes out and you have a chance to hear it!

In addition I managed to book and complete an expert promo photo shoot with renowned pro photographer L. A. Cicero, who found several ways to make me look my best, maybe even good enough to make folks think, “Ooh, I want to buy his record!” Over the next few months, watch for updated photos on this web site using her latest work from that shoot.

Last but not least, I’ve scheduled an album release concert! I’ll be playing at Café Pink House on February 17, 2018 to celebrate the new album. Watch my calendar page, where I’ll post the event once I have all the details nailed down.

Next steps are to finish setting up distribution and sales channels, get the release into the hands of critics and radio programmers, wait for time to pass, and see what happens. And then in January, it all gets real! The release date is January 12, 2018.