This has long been one of my favorite songs ever written, I just love everything about it from start to finish. I knew, too, that I wanted John Gardner to arrange/perform a track for this project. Fresh off the "Once" national tour, John's debut album as Common Jack, "Bowl, Holland" came out last winter and has been on constant repeat in my ears ever since. If you haven't, I highly recommend you go check it out. Like now...I'll wait.
Common Jack - Bowl, Holland - iTunes link: https://itun.es/us/kAB8-
ANYWAYS so I put together a list of songs I thought would sound cool in the style most present on John's album. There was some overlap in similar lists I gave other artists for other styles. I was secretly hoping John would pick "On the Street" but I didn't want to "assign" it. Well John's first selection was chosen by someone else on the album (I won't say which one), and so he went "well then I want "On The Street Where You Live" now, so that no one else can take it." I did a little happy dance.
Fast forward about a month, and John and I arrived bright and early for a recording session at Marcus' studio (Muse Light Music). We started going through the track (which was glorious) and John had brought his Guitar, a Mandolin, and a Cavaquinho (which I learned to say and spell for this album, having never heard of one before) but hadn't fully figured out what the full arrangement was. So we started to play. This is when we discovered (or John and I discovered, Marcus knew and recommended) that he stand in a little entranceway area to Marcus' bedroom in one direction, or bathroom in the other. When you shut the doors, it created a REALLY cool acoustic experience which we used for the doubled vocals.
At the end something was still missing, so John pulled out first the mandolin, but because I'm a curious little bugger I was like "I know what a mandolin is, what in god's name is that little baby guitar thing?" So John busted out the Cavaquinho and strummed a couple chords, and we forgot about ever tracking the Mandolin. Immediately John was required to play that, and to me, it makes ALL the difference on the track.
Side note: maybe my favorite moment/memory while recording for this entire project came when John and I were wandering around Marcus' living room, making Marcus play back the same 20 seconds of song over and over again, while John and I tried to figure out the perfect lower harmony for the repeated "and oh the towering feeling" section. It took far too long, and required much arguing and trying things that really, really did not work, but we got there. I love the way this track turned out and especially what it does for the project as a whole.
Second side note: One of my favorite theatrical experiences to date was being a member of the Cockney Quartet in "My Fair Lady" at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse (with Travis Kent from Track #2, Getting Married Today!) directed by Jen Waldman and featuring the exquisite Brandon Davidson playing Freddy. He was simply marvelous singing this song every night.
Check out all the tracks at www.neddonovan.com/GMRTB
Common Jack - On The Street Where You Live
From the musical "My Fair Lady"
Words by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Arrangement by John Gardner
Recorded at Muse Light Music
Produced and Mixed by Marcus Thorne Bagalà (marcusbagala.com)
Executive Producer - Ned Donovan (neddonovan.com)
Mastering by Steven “SolidGold” Goldman at Four Legs Records (fourlegsrecords.com)
Guitar, Cavaquinho, and Vocals - John Gardner (commonjackmusic.com)