It’s striking how much I love being at home, considering I still love touring, touring being a major part of my life since I was 20. In the past it hasn’t taken long for me to get itchy feet. But where we our now, with the trees and birdsong, the lizards and the bees, the sound of Aden’s singing and laughter; with the studio upstairs, our humble little life in Tours suits me perfectly. The neighborhood in terms of pace reminds me very much of the street I lived on in Seattle; I wasn’t in an urban environment, really, a bit more suburban without the distance of say, where my dad lives in Connecticut, which is truly suburban.

This week I was mixing the Popincourt album, starting on it anyway, working on the first 4 songs. Mixing now is second nature to me, and these songs, with their well-defined vintage groovy tracks, came with a direction well established so it was not difficult to get to the heart of the matter. On Sunday we took a break and went to LuluParc, which has simple things — watersides, trampolines, and the like. Aden loves it, and as a bonus, it was the airshow at the local airport/air base, so we had the jets in formation flying over us, as the base is just over the hill from where the park is. Rain came one day, I recall retrieving something from the basement (the entrance to the basement is from the outside of the house) and seeing how the rain brought out dozens of snails, from tiny newborns to big ones. There’s a jay who has established its territory near us, and is now frequenting our back yard, occasionally we leave things out there for the birds (they even took away the remnants of a gluten free loaf that had coalesced into something the texture of concrete).

Dom had business in Paris this week, and in fact when I left on Wednesday I met her in the train station — me going, she arriving, Aden & Dom’s folks picking her up. As always, leaving them is very emotional. Speaking of emotions, tho…I finally finished mixing the Country Album. After my day of mixing Popincourt would wrap, I’d go up and listen to the mixes and make adjustments to some of the songs where I felt things could yet be improved. Finally–because I had to leave town, and we need to get this stuff mastered and to the pressing plant — I had to let it go. Same thing with Mimi Schell‘s mixing, tho we have some time on that– I went thru another round on some of her songs, hearing details I could improve.

So, by Weds. night I was at our Paris flat; “Dancing Eagle”, the drummer from the Supersuckers was in town with his lovely wife Jill; they live in Austin and had dined at Le Septime on my recommendation. We had a bottle of wine and caught up, then I went to bed, but fell asleep having the big playback on the country record on my Paris stereo. No more flaws; it’s done. I also got the master back for the Phantom Sound album, made comments and I think that turned out great too, after one minor revision.

So Thursday morning, despite the short night, I headed to Charles de Gaulle feeling very good indeed. Flew to New York, watching movies the whole way (four of them). Breezed thru my formalities, claimed my bag, cabbed to my friends Jill & John’s place in Brooklyn, and got right to work. Just like we did last year, I’m producing songs for their teenage son, Max. Jill is a friend from college, and as Max has always been interested in music, he’s been popping by the studio to see me since he was knee high to a grasshopper. And now, writing songs of his own, we’re making them into proper recordings. We did an EP last year, and we’re doing a few more songs this year, not quite an LP’s worth but if you added the two together it would be. We keep it simple — track with my mobile set up in his room, and then cut drums at a proper studio, Grand Street. Max plays drums, and we share guitar duties; I’ll play bass and keys, and Max sings of course. This time we’re going to have some guest musicians, too. When I arrived, we went straight to work, starting to lay down guide tracks of guitar and vocal, and edit them to finalize the arrangements of the songs. Then over the next two days we did all the guitars, and the lead vocals. We’re just cutting to a metronome (‘click track’ in the argot of my profession) and Max will play drums to these tracks.

Each night, Jill & John cook up incredible food; lunch I have taken supplies from Trader Joe’s. And their neighborhood, Cobble Hill, has a wealth of hipster cafes and bars to visit– I have enjoyed Marquet patisserie and June wine bar on this trip so far. We worked relentlessly for these days; then this morning, as dawn broke over the Atlantic, I headed to JFK, where today and tonite I will take part in the memorial gathering for our buddy Darius. I’m still not fully convinced his death is real, I’m still thinking this is all a misunderstanding. Not sure that will ever change.

flight to Seattle