Michigan

South Carolina!!!

 

After we finished recording at Brookwood Recording Studio in MI, we started driving east. Hour after hour, we drove through the night. In the dark, the hazy blue Appalachian Mountains were still beautiful: the view from the top of the ridges down to the city lights below in the valley was breathtaking.

We kept driving, enjoying (?) the ice-storm damaged scenery once we finally arrived in South Carolina. It was nice to see green grass! Once we reached the coast, the beautiful beach houses on stilts became a common sight.


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Our (new to us) Sprinter is tall enough for all of us to stand up in and will have much more space available to use on long trips!

Notice the short sleeves of one smart guy! It was 82 degrees in North Carolina - a far cry from the sub-zero temperatures we've been experiencing!

While test-driving the Sprinter, we stopped at the beach for an ultra quick 5 minute break before starting on the loooonnngggg drive home. At this beach on Sullivan's island, deadly currents and deep holes make it a requirement to stay out of water! It was posted that if you decide to disobey, you will be given a $1040 fine! We chose to stay out of the water.

On the way back home, we enjoyed seeing the Appalachians again, this time during the day. The rock layers showing evidence of the world wide flood are an amazing sight!

We drove for many more hours, with 4 of us in one vehicle and 4 in the other. This was one time we were thankful to have 5 drivers to share the driving responsibility! After driving for 26 hours straight, we finally stopped after dark at the Cumberland Inn (at Cumberland College) in Kentucky.

As you can see from the pictures, the hotel was gorgeous and we had an absolutely wonderful time! The hotel even had letters from George H. Bush and Jimmy Carter on their walls from the college's 100th anniversary celebration 24 years ago.

Next morning, it was back to driving again, past the black fences and black barns of Kentucky!

After getting many more hours down the road near Indianapolis, Daddy took us to the Boulder Creek Dining Company for a wonderful lunch/supper at 3pm.

Then the weather took a turn for the worse. First came strong, gusting winds around 60 mph, then torrential rain, and later a few ground level pink clouds! As we crossed the states, the rain turned to ice, and then freezing snowy stuff that sent both vans sliding around the road. Not fun. It makes for REALLY slow travel, especially with large vehicles that aren't weighed down. The last 80 miles took about 4 hours.


In the evening, we stopped at the largest truck stop in the world and purchased an ice cream cake which we split up between vans and then devoured.


South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and finally Iowa!

After almost 50 hours of driving time, we slid into our driveway at almost 3 AM Friday morning, very glad to be home. We were gone from Sunday afternoon until 3 AM Friday and that includes 2 days of recording to finish up the CD!

Our Second Adventure at Brookwood Recording Studio in Michigan

We are finally back home again! It was a longer trip this time because... well, I'll explain later.

After driving the 8+ hours, we arrived at our hotel, unloaded and... you guessed it! We practiced until 11 pm! The Best Western staff were kind enough to open up the dining hall so that we wouldn't disturb any other guests.

Yep. Practicing is what we've been doing round the clock lately.

Yep. Practicing is what we've been doing round the clock lately.

Next morning, we started recording our first song at Brookwood Recording Studio with David Lau. While listening to and coaching us after each take, he made the discovery that somehow, when we were re-arranging our arrangements in preparation for the CD, a couple bogus notes had crept in!!! Out came the White-Out and Abigail went to work.

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Oops.

The problem? Getting the stuff to come out properly!

The problem? Getting the stuff to come out properly!

After some laughs, we finally got enough white-out on the page and got on with the recording.

Next came lunch, then more recording and then going back to the previous session's takes and telling David which ones we wanted. He is SUPER fast (and good!) on those computers.

Then it was back to the hotel, supper, part of a movie, some truffles, and then listening for a long time to all the day's work in the studio.There were many decisions to make on what would go onto the CD. After all, it's on there forever! Kinda scary. And, we had to finish the CD by the end of the next day.

One quick portrait of the group + David Lau, our recording engineer before we hit the road.

One quick portrait of the group + David Lau, our recording engineer before we hit the road.

During the time when the rest of us were recording one song, the guys played Rook,  a really old, fun game.

During the time when the rest of us were recording one song, the guys played Rook,  a really old, fun game.

While we were doing a take, David would be sitting with the score and writing in what takes were best in which places and any mistakes he heard. Such a great help!   Thanks David!

While we were doing a take, David would be sitting with the score and writing in what takes were best in which places and any mistakes he heard. Such a great help! 

Thanks David!

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In the early evening we were finished, and started driving. Only instead of going home, we headed east, drove to the coast, and then started back, driving for almost 26 hours non-stop. Very exhausting.

Find out why in next week's edition of the Johnson Strings news!

At the Studio: Recording the first half of our NEW CD!

We are back from our whirlwind recording trip to Ann Arbor located near Detroit, Michigan! Thank you for your prayers! The project is coming along fantastically!

On Sunday, after church AND after Abigail played in her piano recital, we drove over 8 hours to our hotel in Ann Arbor, the Red Roof Inn. Yep. We were tired. BUT, we had a great story CD to listen to during the hours in the van.

The night passed quickly and we were up early getting ready for the day. After a nice breakfast at Big Boy, we drove to the studio, arriving around 9:00 AM.  As you can see from the photos, Brookwood Recording Studio is beautiful with huge painted canvas murals on the walls - very inspirational! The canvas painting behind the piano was actually used in a 1951 Hollywood movie!

We set up, recorded, listened to get an idea of our sound, recorded, broke for a quick lunch, recorded some more, etc. In between lots of the "takes" there were short breaks to check our instrument tuning. After all, they need to be perfectly in tune for the CD! 

By the time supper came around, we were quite worn out and Daddy took us out for a wonderful meal at Karl's Cabin. Shrimp... crab... scallops... pasta... spinach... wild mushrooms... 3 cheese stuffed pasta... roasted red pepper cream sauce... YUM!

Then it was... back to the studio to record one last song: Luke's banjo solo. Check out the photo below of Luke in his "cage/playpen" :) His sound had to be isolated at least somewhat from the rest of the group.

Finally, after a great, informative talk with our sound engineer, David Lau, we hit the road for about an hour before finding a hotel and falling into bed.

By morning, we were greatly refreshed and went for a swim in the deserted heated pool after enjoying the complementary breakfast.

We packed up, and drove, making one short detour to The Chocolate Garden, a highlight of our trip for sure. After purchasing a few tastes, truffles, and a specialty hot chocolate, we were back on the road. (As food connoisseurs, we are always looking for new flavor combinations to duplicate at home!) Driving conditions weren't that great. It was snowing once again, which made the trip longer than normal. But, we arrived home safely! 

We are now crazily practicing for our 2nd and final recording session!


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They did have a LOT of snow in Michigan!         Don't those truffles make your mouth water?