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Published: 2009/05/26
by Randy Ray

At the Helm with Jimmy Herring

Jimmy Herring has been a musician’s musician, and a huge part of the jamband scene for such a long time, that one sometimes forgets that the talented guitarist has never really stepped away from his role as a supportive voice in a band orchestration to become a frontman, leading a group with his own batch of original tunes.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to finalizing that description of the southern gentleman, now in his third decade of crafting music with various bands ranging from the one and only original improv kings, Aquarium Rescue Unit, to that great leviathan which rears its own multi-headed frame out of the southern seas, Widespread Panic. The gifted guitarist released a solo album last October, the somewhat cryptically titled Lifeboat. In the following months, the debut work (indeed, Herring’s first foray into the sometimes treacherous waters of the solo artist at sea) has deepened an understanding of the man’s music in ways that have not always been apparent in the past. sat down with the musician, just prior to the second leg of his solo tour, and before the late summer/early fall tour of his main gig with Panic, who will be hitting the road with the Allman Brothers Band for many of those dates. These are new and exciting times for Herring, and he is forthright, sincere, probing, self-critical, and yet, in command of a vision for his craft that is forged while on the road and sometimes, luckily for him and the rest of us, with a bit of time in the studio crafting an unexpected gem.

PART I The Deepest Place
“And what is a man that he should not run with his brothers?” said Mowgli. “I was born in a jungle. I have obeyed the Law of the Jungle, and there is no wolf of ours from whose paws I have not pulled a thorn. Surely they are my brothers!” – “Mowgli’s Brothers,” excerpt from The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling

RR: Your arrangement of “Jungle Book Overture” took me back a few years because that was the first movie that my mom took me to when I was a kid.

JH: Really? That piece of music has been in my subconscious since the time I was a child. It’s got to be one of the most powerful moods. That tune was really in my mind as sort of the centerpiece of the album even though I didn’t write it. The other tunes that were in that trance-like state like “New Moon” and “Gray Day” are moody pieces. I was definitely thinking about that when those were written: “Hey, this’ll go with “Jungle Book,” and “Jungle Book” was the centerpiece of the album before it was recorded, then it changed, but that piece of music is really spellbinding, isn’t it?

That melody and that set of chord changesreally, I didn’t do too much different from the original except I didn’t have an orchestra, and I didn’t have an alto flute which played the main melody. (laughs) I wish I would have had an alto flute to play the main melody, though. I also didn’t have a string section, or anything like that. We did play solos
through the form, which the original didn’t do, but I didn’t want to change the chord changes, or embellish the melody, or anything. I just wanted to take those same melodies because they’re so profound. I love em.

RR: Yeah, it’s definitely a full circle, as well, because without any prompting from me, my oldest son just got into The Jungle Book stories, so now I can introduce him to Rudyard Kipling’s literature. That thought feeds into my next question. How did you come up with the “Lifeboat” motif for your debut solo album?

JH: There was a picture of my mother that had been in our family photo album for years, and that picture on the Lifeboat album cover is my mom when she was 23. She and my dad were on their honeymoon. It was long before I was born. My oldest brother wasn’t even born yet. They were just on their honeymoon, and I always thought that picture held such a good place in my heart. It’s very nostalgic. There she is in the boat. He was in the back of the boat. He took the picture.

Our family grew up on the water pretty much. My dad had boats, and so that pictureI knew I wanted that to bemy daughter, actually, came up with the idea, I think, of making that the album cover. I thought, “That’s the greatest picture. I think that would be a good album cover,” but then, of course, the names of things tend to be the last thing that comes. I was on the road with Panic, and the people who were making the record were coming down on me: “We’ve got to have a title.” I thought, “I’ve got to think of a title.” So I had a copy of that picture with me. When I’d get off the road, and get into the hotel room, I’d just look at the picture, and think and try to brainstorm and figure out “what can I call this record?” (laughter)

It just hit me one day, and it made sense to me on a lot of levels, and encompassingyou talk about full circle, and the circle of lifethe empty boat in the middle is significant, too. If you open up the cover, there’s an empty boat there. My father passed away. It all seemed to make sense. It just hit me, and I thought, “Wowlifeboat.” It was kind of a lifetime of my parents’ total support of what I wanted to do with my life. There was never any “Well, this music thing’s fine for a hobby, but” A lot of my friends went through that, but I was so lucky because my parents were completely supportive. It’s really hard for me to imagine how anyone could become a professional musician without that life support system at home. But I had that total life support system, and my mom and dad were just very supportive. You knowit hit me on so many levels. I asked my wife what she thought of “Lifeboat,” and she said, “That’s it. You just did it. That’s it.”

RR: This is a recurring theme with me as a listener, but Lifeboat, as a whole album, has a thematic structure that resonates with many different memorable images. Although there are no lyrics, and each piece is an instrumental, your guitar playing and the other musicians’ contributions all form together to tell this interesting story.

JH: Man, thank you. That’s about as big a compliment as you could ever hope for. Thank
you so much. I was shooting forthere’s a trance-like mood to most of the tunes. When I imagined what I wanted it to be, I wanted it to be like a person sitting in a chair, completely relaxed, and leaned all the way back in their chair. I didn’t want it to be like edge-of-the-seat with their fingernails in their mouthyou know, chewing. (laughter)

I was shooting for that kind of relaxed, trance-like statenot through the whole thing, but I was hoping there would be a thread connecting the songs together. You know how great albums are, really great albums like Led Zeppelin IV (laughs), and _Abbey Road_you know what I mean. Those kinds of records have a thread that connects every tune.

It’s not just that the songs are good, or whatever. It’s that they belong together. To me, that’s what separates a real record from a collection of songs. I’m not saying that we hit it with this record, but that’s what I was shooting for. That’s what I was hoping for, and thinking about. Also, the sequence of the songs is very important.

RR: I was going to ask you about that overall continuity. Your father’s passing and your parents’ impact on your life are underneath the surface of many of the songs. Let’s talk about how you shaped that vision for Lifeboat.

JH: The song “Lifeboat Serenade” is a ballad. There are a lot of ballads on this record. I’ve just always loved ballads, and it seemed like it was a side of music that my parents liked. If I ever played a ballad, or wrote a ballad, they just seemed to like that tender side of what I was trying to do, more than say the crazy, out-there Project Z stuff.

There was this set of chord changes that I had been working on when my dad was sick. In a way, it held special meaning in connection to dealing with him dying. Maybe, 2, 3 years after he had died, I had made a demo of the song at my friend’s basement. It didn’t even have real drums on it. It was just basically the chord progression with me playing some melodies over it. I went to visit my mom, and I had it with me and I played it for her, and she started weeping. I said, “Mom, what’s wrong?” It was weird. She knew what it was. She had never heard it before, but she knew what it was.

I knew that it had to have something about it, at that point, for her to hear it in an instrumental piece of music that wasn’t even really finished yet. So that song became for her. It represented to me her coping with this and losing her life partnermy dad, of course. That tune is for her.

There’s the tune “Gray Day.” It’s very slow. The harmony is very angular. It’s got a melancholy kind of thing to it. That tune for me is his eulogy. I couldn’t say it, so I had to play it in music. It helps me get past (laughs)a pretty difficult time. It’s weird because those two tunes are separated on the album. They’re not together. They’re not back-to-back, but I almost did put them back-to-back because they’re really almost the same tune, but they’re really different from each other.

I never told anybody this stuff before, butyou knowI don’t want to get all heavy, but that tune “Gray Day,” if you put it back to back with the other tune “Lifeboat Serenade,” they are almost the same tempo. They are both very slow, and harmonically, they actually work together. “Gray Day” is very angular and “Lifeboat Serenade” is very consonant. It’s got pretty chord changes as opposed to strange, (laughs) for lack of a better word. Those were the main two that were coming from the deepest place.

PART II The Inheritance
“Well, the fifth dimension’s a tesseract. You add that to the other four dimensions and you can travel through space without having to go the long way around. In other words, to put it into Euclida straight line is not the shortest distance between two points.”A Whisper in Time, Madeleine L’Engle

RR: “Lifeboat Serenade” and “Gray Day” also sound like a passing of the torch in another musical way, as well. The former sounds like something from the Derek & the Dominoes/Clapton/Allman-era, and the latter song sounds like the Grateful Dead in the early 1970s finding a beautiful melodic passage during “Dark Star.”

JH: Thanks, I appreciate that. “Lifeboat Serenade”’s chord changes were definitely inspired by the Beatles and Clapton during that era that you were just speaking of. I’m sure that that was in there. “Lifeboat Serenade” is very simple chords, but the strange thing about that tune is that it’s the hardest tune on the record. It’s slow, and the chord changes are very basic, but they’re changing keys all over the place. Because it’s so slow and because it’s changing keys all over the place, to be able to play over that chord progression (laughter)it was a bitch.

It’s funny because the idea was “I hope it’s going to be easy to listen to,” but very challenging to play over. That’s what’s funny about it because if somebody says “I’m going to learn these set of chord changes from this song,” and they learn them and they write them down and they say “oh, O.K.this is easy,” wait until you try to play over it. The minute you start trying to solo over it, that’s when you’ll find out how hard it is because you can’t stay in one key for a second. It’sdamn, it’s just moving, but it wasn’t really intentionally written that way. It just came out that way. It’s weird. (laughs)

RR: And something like “Lost,” which you cover on the album, and was written by Wayne Shorter, isn’t particularly easy to play either.

JH: No, “Lost” is another one of thoseit’s in the same category. It’s so easy to listen to. It doesn’t sound intimidating. The tempo’s not super fast. It seems so easy until you try to play over the changes. (laughs) You start saying “Damnit, Wayne!” But Wayne is known for that. We’re not playing “Lost” on the tour because it’s basically a three-part head. The original had trumpet, alto sax, and then Wayne on tenor playing the three parts of the melody, but we don’t have three guys with us. On our record, we had Kofi [Burbridge], Greg Osby and me, and we did it that wayflute, alto sax, and then me playing the tenor sax part of the head. But Kofi couldn’t be here so we decided to do “Speak No Evil” on this tour instead of “Lost,” which is another Wayne Shorter tune with only a two-part melody, instead of a three-part.

RR: Beyond the trance-like melodies contained within the album, there is a more traditional Jimmy Herring framework to the album with the two bookends: “Scapegoat Blues,” which seems like a straightforward rocker, and the reworked Aquarium Rescue Unit tune “Splash.”

JH: “Scapegoat” seemed like a good opener because, well, you know, it was probably what people were more expecting from me. But I can’t say that’s why I wanted it to be the opener, but it did work at that way. People would expect that and it ended up being the first song. The real reason is that the key that it was in seemed like a good place to start. I went through the whole sequence of the record, and if you listen to the key that “Scapegoat” is in, the next song [Kofi Burbridge’s “Only When It’s Light”] is in a very logical key compared to that key, and it goes all the way through the album in that way. Every transition, from one song to the next, has a harmonic little poem there. It makes sense. For instance, I could take the chord that’s the basic key of the first song and play it on piano. Then, I can take the second song’s key and play that chord, back to back, go into the third song, the fourth song, and all the way through the end of the album, and it would be a progression that made sense.

In fact, I just gave myself an idea. (laughter) I might have to try to write a tune doing that. Because it did work. It did work. I sat there and thought about it, but yeah“Scapegoat” is in B flat, and that is kind of an odd key on the whole album. Any other tune going into that would not sound right. That’s why it was the first song. (laughs) It works good going from “Scapegoat” to the next song on the album, but nothing seemed to want to go into “Scapegoat,” so it made sense for it to be the first song.

“Splash” being the last song, it just seemed the best way to leave it. If you listen to the progression of the tunes, I tried not to have too many slow songs in a row, or too many fast tunes in a row, or too many mid-tempo songs in a row. That was another conscious thing to think about in the sequence of the album.

RR: You didn’t appear on the original ARU version of “Splash” either, so it seemed like a symbolic door was opened and shut when I heard the album.

JH: No, I didn’t. I’ll tell you why. We were making that record in the studio. We had done almost everything, and there was one song left and it was “Splash.” I was learning the tune. I had already played the tune years earlier, but I was refreshing myself on it, and then there was something that happened at my mom’s house where I needed to go back to North Carolina for a couple of days. It wasn’t serious. I can’t remember what it wassomebody was getting married, some family friend, but I can’t remember what it was, and I had to leave town for a couple of days.

Kofi, Oteil [Burbridge], and [drummer Jeff] Sipe recorded that while I was gone. The plan was that when I came back, I was going to add my part to what they had done. When I got back and I heard what they had done, I was like “I’m not touching that.” Kofi had played piano and gone back and overdubbed flute, and I said, “Man, you guys, I don’t need to play on that. That’s perfect just like it is,” and it was. It was the best composition on that record. It was the most stellar, incredible, and I said, “I’m not playing on that, man; it doesn’t need anything; leave it just as it is.”

But I always wished that, you know, I could have played on it because I love the tune. I asked Kofi if he’d be up to re-recording it, and he said, “Yeah,” so we did.

RR: I had a similar sentiment about Lifeboat. I have no suggestions. It just works for me in that indefinable way.

JH: Man, thank you so much. I guess I got pretty lucky with a lot of things that I was shooting for with this record. People are actually picking up on it. I didn’t expect that. I figured, “O.K., I’ll put out this little record,” and, you know, it’s still a little record. Don’t get me wrong. I know that. But I couldn’t believe the people like you that picked up on some of the more subtle things about it that I didn’t think anybody was going to pick up. But you did. You did pick up on it, and some of the other people have picked up on it, and I think, “Wow, thank you,” because I thought I’d be basically(laughs) I thought I would be lost in translation, I was afraid.

PART III Runnin’ With the Pack
“The mere telling of a game or tale from a parent to a child, or from one child to another, is not alone sufficient. There must be some strong force inherent in these games that has allowed them to be continued from generation to generation”Children’s Lore in Finnegans Wake, Grace Eckley

RR: Let’s discuss your recent debut solo tour. You’ve played a month, thus far, with Oteil, Sipe, Osby, and Scott Kinsey on keys, whom we haven’t mentioned yet.

JH: It’s gone really well. Obviously, we only had three days to rehearse. A band like this, playing this type of music, rehearsal’s a pretty big deal. Some of the tunes, we haven’t played yet. I had 30 songs I wanted to do on this tour, and all of them weren’t written by me, of course. There was stuff from the album, and then there were some covers, some stuff from the 70s, some old Jeff Beck tunes, Mahavishnu (Orchestra), maybe a (Dixie) Dregs tune. Some of the stuff, we just didn’t have time to work up.

“Lifeboat Serenade”we haven’t played live yet. That one is so special that if it’s not right, I don’t want to be doing it. It’s just really hard, like I said; it’s one of those tunes. It’s easy, but man, it’s hard. (laughs) I wish I could explain that better.

RR: You want to nail it, and if not, it’s disrespectful.

JH: Absolutely. And it’s all about a mood. And where it would go in a set is very important. Atmosphere is very important. The moment is very important. All these things have kept me from actually saying, “O.K.let’s do it.” We rehearsed it, but you know“One Strut” is kind of like that. “One Strut” is not special to me. There are a lot of overdubs on that tune. There are a lot of rhythm guitar parts that if I played the melodies, the rhythm guitar part’s not there, and it propels the tune. The only other way to do it right would be to have some other instrument play those melodies so I could play the rhythm part. But if I do that, a lot of the string bends don’t translate to a saxophone very well, so we haven’t been playing “One Strut.” We mess around with it a little bit.

There’s still some stuff to work on. I’m hoping to bring those tunes out and maybe playing them on this next run, but a part of me wants to have two keyboard players before I try to do a song like that like “Lifeboat.” In my mind, you’ve got the B3 organthe Wurlitzer electric pianoand the clavinet. That’s the earth in my mind. The icing would be synthesizers that can play string-type sounds. That’s what synthesizers are good for, but in our situation, right now, we don’t have the earth. We don’t have the B3. We don’t have the Wurlitzer. We don’t have the clavinet.

We’ve got Scott Kinsey, who is a masterful synthesizer player, but for a song like that without the earth there, the synth is like the icing without the cake. I know the perfect guy to call to be the earth, but we can’t afford to have a sixth member in the band right now because it just doesn’t generate enough money to be able to pay everybody. Until we can get that, I might have to leave that one alone.

RR: You have Neal Fountain on bass playing with you on the upcoming second leg. So how much rehearsing are you doing before this next tour?

JH: We’ll probably only do two rehearsals. See Neal, has only just gotten this material about three, four, five days ago. He has to do an awful lot of work in a very short amount of time, but lucky for me, he was available, can do it, and lives in Athens [Georgia], which is only about 45 minutes from here. I went over there the other day and gave him a bunch of the music, gave him a CD with all of the covers on it, a copy of the record, gave him some charts that I had written for the other musiciansbasic outlines of songs with chord changes and stuff. We went over a lot of that stuff.

Neal’s world class. It’s not going to take him long at all. It’s just a lot of material to have someone to do in a very short amount of time. I’ll go over his house next Tuesday, and we’ll sit there all day, just the two of us, going through the music. Then, I might get together with him one more time before the whole group gets together on June 1st and
2nd, and then we leave on the 3rd to play our first gig on the 4th [Wakarusa Festival].

PART IV The Continuing Widespread Voyages of the Starship Panic
“Although “Forever Young” may breathe the wish that its beneficiary be happy, it doesn’t voice this. For the direct pursuit of happiness has a way of leading you astray, away from happiness proper as well as away from all the allegiances owed to values other than happiness.”Dylan’s Visions of Sin, Christopher Ricks

RR: You’ve got the Panic tour after your next solo run, and back into that big scene, including a tour where the group will be on the bill with the Allman Brothers Band. How did it feel to be part of that Beacon run where you and JB (John Bell) played?

JH: Oh manit was unbelievable. God, just like I said, all of the luck that I was talking about before, the chance to get to play with some of the greatest people in the history of rock n’ rollButch, Jaimoe, and Gregg, of course, Derek being one of my best friends, and Oteil being one of my best friends, and Warren, of course, being one of my good friendsme and Warren played together for years with Phil [Lesh & Friends]. It’s always such a great time to get back together with those guys in any way, shape, or form. [Author’s Note: Herring, himself, also played in the Allman Brothers Band in 2000.]

To get invited, to be a part of that 40th year, was such a true honor. JB was invited, too. It was awesome. We got to ride there together. We got to jump on a plane together, and talk all the way there about how cool this was, and now, we get to go out on tour with the Allman Brothers. Man, we’re stoked. We’re definitely stoked.

RR: I hopped on the Widespread site and downloaded Panic’s April 18th show from last month at Orange Beach, Alabama. It was a great show. Loved it from start to finish. Luther Dickinson sat in with you during the second set on a couple of tunes after the North Mississippi Allstars opened for Panic. The two of you were magic.

JH: Yeah! Oh man, thanks. I love Luther. I’ve loved him for such a long time, even before North Mississippi Allstars was together, I knew Luther and Cody. They had actually gone on tour with Shawn Lane. He’s no longer with us, of course, but Shawn was one of the greatest musicians who ever lived. He was from Memphis, and just an incredible, incredible talent with dexterity and a command of his instrument like no one before him. The first time I met Cody and Luther, they were his backup band, and we played a couple of shows together with Project Z and Shawn Lane, and the Dickinson boys being the drummer and backup guitar player in Shawn’s band. It was cool. When they formed North Mississippi Allstars, of course, they went on to do really well. Now, Luther’s in the Black Crowes, and it’s so cool to see what those guys have done.

RR: Luther played with Panic on a song that hadn’t been played in over 20 years“Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning.” Whose idea was it to play that song?

JH: You knowI wish I could remember whose idea that was, but it came up, literally, on the day of the show. I was in there trying to learn it right before going on stage. (laughs) Typical Widespread Panic. They are so spontaneous, and that song came up, and I saw it on the setlist, and “wait a minute. I don’t know this, and we’re going on in 45 minutes,” or maybe less. So, it became one of those (laughs) issues of “uh oh. I better get an iPod, get into this corner of the room, close the door, sit in there, and learn the tune.” It’s all really, really loose.

RR: How do you plan on balancing Panic with this newfound solo terrain?

JH: Honestly, man, if Panic didn’t decide to take some time off here, there would have been no tour for the solo thing. There was never any intention of doing a tour for the solo thing. In fact, that was kind of a condition that I made sure the people who put out the record knew because every time you put out a record, it helps sales if you go out and play. I told the guys: “Look, manare you sure you want to do this? Because there is not going to be a tour.”

I do one thing at a time. I can’t spread myself too thin. I feel like whatever I’m doing has to have my 100% undivided attention. I’m very easily distracted, so in my mind there was going to be no tour because I was doing Panic. That just needed 100% of my undivided attention.

But then, after the record came out, it wasn’t intentional, but it turned out that Panic was taking a nice little break, and then there became some time available to make it happen. People started talking about “hey, let’s go do this.” So we did. After this little leg that we’re doing right here, I’m not all together sure when we’ll be able to do it again. I’m enjoying it. I love doing it, but you’ve got to have a life, too.

If you’re on the road for a long period of time with one band that’s your number one priority like Panic, when you get off the road after being on the road for a month and a half, you don’t want to get back out on the road a week later because then, you never see your family. Although, my family has been extremely supportive. They want me to do this. They know that this side of what I like to do musicallyit’s important that I get to do it. They’ve been extremely supportive in that way, so I’ve got no complaints. I just have to wait and see what happens.

POSTSCRIPT: Captain’s Log
“The bottom of the sea is a living creature. She’s whimsical, the sea, a teaseshe changes all the time. You can dive on a wreck one day and find nothing. The wind blows that night, and the next day, in the same spot, you find a carpet of gold coins.”The Deep, Peter Benchley

RR: Circumstances being what they were, you had the time to make this first solo album and tour behind it. I would think you would be very satisfied with the results. You took the time to make an album that is strong, personal, and quite timeless.

JH: Oh, God, man, thank you. I really appreciate that very much. I’m satisfied on one level, sure. I haven’t listened to it in a long time, but, sure, I hear things that I wish I could have done differently, but I know there is one thing that meant the most to me: “O.K., I get to make a record where there is nobody that can tell me “No.” No, you can’t do that overdub. No, you can’t move the mic on the guitar speaker. No, you can’t try a different microphone. This one’s fine, just play. All those things that producers tell you when you want to try different stuff. (laughs) When you work with a producer, I’m all about that, man. If the producer doesn’t want to take the time to let me try something, that’s cool. But I always wondered what would happen if I could do it exactly the way I wanted to do it, and this was the first time.

They always want to put echo all over everything, and I don’t really like echo. There’s no echo on Lifeboat. There’s reverb, but there’s no actual delay. It was important to me to get to try different reverbs because, man, you cannot believe what a differenceyou can take the ugliest sound in the world, and if you put the right reverb on it and get it adjusted properly, it can turn into a really nice tone. This time, I got to experiment with reverbs, and use what I thought sounded the best. I got to be present during the mixes. I had the final word on the arrangements and things like that, so I actually got to produce this record, and that was really interesting. (laughter)

The first time ever no one was there to say “no,” and sure, you need that on some level. Sometimes you need someone to tell you “no” because you can run amuck with yourself. You can go too far, and I probably did on a couple of things. “One Strut”that’s one of the reasons we’re not playing it live because I did so many overdubs that I can’t hear it without those parts on it now. I can’t play four parts at one time, so how am I going to do this live? Zeppelin did it. Zeppelin did overdubs, and then they did it three-piece live, or four-piece with Robert Plant. It can be done. [Author’s Note: Indeed. This is an often-misunderstood area of studio vs. live guitar translation. Check out Led Zeppelin’s 1977 live shows featuring “Ten Years Gone,” in which John Paul Jones played a three-necked acoustic instrument, which enabled him to play variations on Jimmy Page’s eight-part “guitar army” overdubs initially found on the studio version of Physical Graffiit.]

Songs like “Jungle Book Overture,” I wanted to layer instruments in a certain way, and have a certain kind of orchestration. The orchestration is so critical to the overall finished product. You can take a melody and you can orchestrate it many different ways, and it takes on a completely different light.

All that orchestration [on Lifeboat is all me playing guitar through this thing called a Space Station. Everybody that hears it thinks it’s keyboards because it sounds like a synth pad or something. We took this thing and I was able to do all the orchestration myself without having to tell a keyboard player “hey, man, use these voicings. I want you to voice this chord this way and this chord that way.” SeeI hate telling people that, so I was really lucky in the situation that I got to just do the orchestration myself, which most people don’t associate the guitar with doing. All the orchestration that sounds like string bands? That’s all guitar. I got to take that incredible synth/string patch thing, and feed it through a Leslie [amp]. These are the things that producers will generally just go “No.” They won’t even try it.

Yes, on that level, I was very happy, and I felt like I finally got to do things the way I wanted to do it without any compromise whatsoever. On that level, yeah, I’m happy. I’m happy about it. I’m hoping we can do another one. Got to write some more tunes. (laughter)

RR: Perfect. Before we go, “Transient” is a fine example of that orchestration.

JH: Yeah. Thanks, man. On that tune, listen to Oteil’s bass solo. He takes the first solo. Listen to the orchestration behind the solo and you’ll hear what I’m talking about. That string soundit sounds like keyboards going through a Leslie, but that’s all guitar. That really does change so much. Without that part there, that song didn’t sound finished. Normally, you get a keyboard player to do that, but lucky for me, I was able to do it. (laughs)

RR: And like the rest of Lifeboat, the song had that clarity of purpose.

JH: Yeah. Yeah. Hopefully. Thanks for noticing all the little things. I really appreciate it.

-_Randy Ray stores his work at

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