The recordings that make up the Folk Jelly collection include vocal, guitar, bass and occasionally piano. They are not polished recordings, but improvised sketches of my own songs as well as those of some of my favorite writers. I record them in my spare time using a portable audio recorder with built-in microphones (TASCAM DR-40). This device allows me to record a track (vocal/guitar), record a second on top of it (bass), mix them together into a single track, record another on top of that (piano), mix them together and so on. It is not possible to go back and fix any mistakes so each take must be played without noticeable error from start to finish. I find this method is simpler than non-linear editing and prefer it because it forces me to maintain tighter focus on the instruments I’m playing instead of simply becoming better at using a digital editing system to fix my mistakes.
While I enjoy many genres of music this mix of folk and jazz is closest to what I hear idly dancing around my mind throughout the day. I started making recordings similar to these about 10 years ago when I was in college. Both the recording methods and music were crude in comparison but the concept was the same. I recorded songs like this off and on from 2002 - 2007. Then I started recording with Garageband and spent 2008 producing The Greentree Album, a collection of entirely original material. In 2010 I produced a few more recordings including a cover of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” and “Engagement Jam”, a completely improvised instrumental that includes drums and electric guitar.
Ultimately I plan to create more recordings like Engagement Jam, which are both inspired and somewhat well produced. For now I’m focused on regularly creating improvised sketches of as many different songs as I can in order to refine my chops and pave the way for more serious improvisational adventures in the future.