Nashville Cats – Recording Carolyn Kendrick’s EP!

Max Schwartz recording with Carolyn Kendrick
Max Schwartz recording with Carolyn Kendrick

Back in September, I flew up to Nashville for a couple of days to rehearse and record an EP for Carolyn Kendrick’s new solo project. Although I record fairly often in Miami for student projects, including my own once in a while, it is very special to know that when you are playing on somebody else’s record, you are trying to realize their artistic vision, and that they thought you were the best available to help facilitate drawing that vision out from the cosmos and into something tangible. You can feel it in the room, that electricity and emotion in the music that will inevitably transfer onto the recording. It is a very humbling thing to be in the sideman position on a recordings, and to experience the duality that many supporting cast musicians feel; you know that you are there because your individualism is valued, but also that the self-confidence that comes from being chosen for a project will allow you to relax, not feel pressure to prove yourself, and realize that you are there to channel energy into something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Carolyn and I played for a few years in a band called the Page Turners, which she formed with mandolinist Jake Howard back in 2015. We all recorded an EP in September 2016 with Sam Leslie on guitar. Since then, Carolyn moved to Nashville and has been writing music and to further develop her artistic personality. I really think her new EP captures this new personality in a hip way, through great production and musicianship. Other musicians on the record include Nashville guitarist and vocalist Megan McCormick, LA-based session drummer Eli Hludzik, piano and organ master Mike Rojas, Crooked Still and “Live From Here” house fiddler Brittany Haas, and others. Producer Matt Combs kept it moving and grooving so that we were finished tracking all six songs in just over five hours. The very last song of the session was a cover of “Silver Dagger,” a song with origins dating back to the 1820s (WOW!) covered by everyone from Dylan to Joan Baez to the Fleet Foxes. We got a vibe for what Carolyn and Matt envisioned and gave it our best shot. After one take, we went out to listen, and I believe Megan said “I don’t think we should touch that.” It is beautiful and pure, and I think it’s going to be one of the favorites on the recording.

I hope you stay on the lookout for the new album’s release in February or March, and keep up with Carolyn on her website: