Monday, July 28, 2008
– Hal Ketchum did not spend a lot of time on his upcoming CD, two days in fact. "Father Time" will drop Sept. 9 on Curb.
Ketchum accumulated a dozen new original songs plus a team of musicians and entered the studio to record the album live to two-track. There were no overdubs and only a few second takes. "When I went into this project, my mentality was that this is either going to work or not," Ketchum said. But at the end of the first day, with nine songs finished, he knew the experiment was a success.
The recording of "Father Time" as a live, direct-to-tape album originated from a conversation he had with fellow musicians about how recording had lost some of its creative edge in this high-tech era in which players record apart from each other in separate rooms and booths. "By the end of that conversation, I said, 'Okay, I'm going to cut live to two-track.' I went home that afternoon and got a yellow pad and put together a wish list of players. And almost everyone I called was available for the two days I had blocked out."
The songs include the first song he ever wrote ("The Preacher and Me") and one ("Surrounded By Love") written on a lunch break on the first day of recording, plus some of his favorite collaborations with fellow songwriters that had yet to be recorded. In "Yesterday's Gone," "Surrounded by Love" and "The Day He Called Your Name" family members face mortality with an enriching love and sweetness, and there are cinematic tales about everyday people ("Invisible" and "Ordinary Day") plus unique characters ("Millionaire's Wife," "Million Dollar Baby" and "Continental Farewell").
"I felt it was time to make a record like the first one I made where I wrote everything on the record," he said. "I had the good fortune of having some hit records and developing a strong following as a live performer. But it was important at some point over all my years of making records that people got to see the essence of my songwriting and my voice as a singer and writer."
"It's a coming of age," he said. "This is what I do. I have a desire to be remembered as an artist, and whether somebody discovers this record today or 25 or 30 years from now, I want them to listen to this album and go 'Yeah, I understand.' The motivation here was to leave a little trail all my own."
Ketchum's friend Neil Diamond wrote in the liner notes, "I find it impossible to listen to it without smiling at the sheer exuberance of these tracks."