TURTLE SHELL SESSIONS was recorded in Turtle Shell Studio in Guelph; live off the studio floor in one night on December 4th, 2012. Everything was done live in one take - there are no overdubs. The percussion was done with my feet and the didgeridoo, guitar, singing, harmonica - all of it was live. It was definitely inspired in part by Xavier Rudd and also by the stories of my travels and by love. I will describe the stories of the songs below so you get a better idea of what they were inspired from. The lyrics in these songs are an important part of the album - expression of ideas through words is a big part of who I am and what I do, my words are my thoughts and my inspirations and this album gave me a chance to express that. These songs represents a moment in time, part of my journey, part of my story and I am happy to share it with you here.
On December 4th, 2012, I journeyed to Guelph Ontario on a cold winter night to record a live studio album. All of the parts you hear were recorded live in one take - there are no overdubs. I played the percussion with my feet and simultaneously sang and played guitar, harmonica and didgeridoo. We started in the late evening and recorded all night to get the right versions of each song. The idea was to capture the feeling of playing live and uncover the real energy of each song.
The guys at Turtle Shell studio were amazing and the vibe was perfect. It was great to get out of the city and record closer to nature. Also, at that time, I had been doing so much sitar and world fusion music, this album represented a return to my roots as a song-writer, something that my heart had been calling me to do for a while. My ultimate vision is to converge all of my musical passions into one integrated style, which I feel is starting to take shape now (in 2016), but back then, this was the first step - I needed to strip things back and re-discover the raw energy of live acoustic music.
The songs were inspired by multiple years of travelling around the globe and many of them were written in Australia and New Zealand. There is a strong inspiration and influence of Xavier Rudd, who I was blessed to meet and jam with and even record some vocal parts for his album, Spirit Bird.
I have many people to thank for this album. The first is Nekhat, without her, this album would not have happened. The choice of studio was her idea, she arranged everything and was the one that encouraged me to go past my fears and doubts around it. Nekhat: your energy and presence made this record possible and gave me the inspiration to make it happen; thank you for the love and support, you are part of this creation. With gratitude always.
I also want to thanks Jake Janzen and all the guys at Turtle Shell Studio. Jake stayed up all night with us and did an amazing job engineering it. He was cheerful and kind and helped the inspiration flow!
Next I want to thank Patrick Lieffers - he sat with me for a week and helped me mix the album, his feedback, suggestions and encouragement were invaluable. This is the second album that he helped mix with me - the first was "Trance Sitar". Thanks brother - you've been a big part of my musical journey!
I also want to thank Donald Chretian for the absolutely incredible artwork - this man is a genius and one of my favourite visual artists in the world right now. I had a concert in Guelph this year, just as I was finishing mixing this album. As I was driving to my gig that day, I was had a vision of the album cover being inspired by traditional Aboriginal artwork of a turtle; when I walked into Silence in Guelph I saw this amazing life size painting hanging on the wall and was immediately speechless - it was like seeing what I had imagined in my mind only better! I was blown away by the energy that I felt while standing in front of this masterpiece. Two of the songs on this album are inspired by Indigenous culture and it is with so much respect and honour that I am proud to say that after talking to Donald, he agreed to let me use a print of his painting for the album cover. It was a first for him and there are a lot of good vibes around the project. I am so honoured that he allowed me to use this artwork to showcase my album. Thank you Donald! Please check out more of his work! Miigwech. donaldchretien.com
Finally, I want to thank the Master Within, for giving me the courage and faith to let my inner artist express himself, in whatever way he feels, regardless of the consequences - this is true freedom.