Thursday, May 24, 2007

Adoration - The Very First Review...

As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, I decided to release the premix of my upcoming new CD, "Adoration," to a few choice people to get some feedback on it. For more details on the reasons behind that, read yesterday's blog. The long and the short of it is, I feel a lot of pressure about the release of this new album, and I'm not sure what I have in it. Is it a good album? Is it bad? Is it just "okay?" I can't be objective as I'm much too close to the music.

I want the album to be "Amazing." It has to be, as it's an album of Hymn arrangements telling a story of devotion to God. The music has to be worthy of the subject matter. I can't release a "worship" album that's just "okay." It's either worthy or it's not.

So I put it in the hands of others for feedback, others who can be more objective than I.

The first person to hear the new album, other than my wife, was Michael McDonald, who mastered my last CD, "Overcome." Now Michael is someone who doesn't give out praise lightly. Like me, he hears so much music in his profession that really, it all rather blends together. It takes quite an album to grab our attention.

I asked Michael to give me his honest opinion on it. How does it sound? Does anything about it bug you? Is the mix OK? How does it come across? Is it worthy of release as is?

After having the premix in his hands for two days, here's what he emailed me... this is the first "review" of the album.

"The album is stunning! I thought I'd put it on yesterday morning while I went over some paperwork with my coffee. I sometimes pick up on things better if I'm not completely focused on listening for details. After about 5 minutes I stopped the paper work and got taken away by the music. That doesn't happen often with me. I really like this album! Love the mix and reverb. It's a gorgeous sound and performance. It's a wonderful album and needs to be heard. Something about this body of work seems very blessed."

I read his comments with tears of relief. Seriously. I feel so much pressure about the release of this album - what a delight to hear those words of encouragement. I mean, he wasn't just polite, he was really and truly touched by it. What a gushing review!

If this album touches many people this way, I will be so blessed.

I continually stand amazed that God would use such an imperfect man as me to reach into people's lives with this music. After all, I'm just a piano player.

But what a joyous honor it is to be a piano player in God's kingdom.

David Nevue

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In Anticipation of Adoration...

It's been 18 months since the release of my last CD, Overcome, and you know, never has there been so much pre-released excitement about a new "David Nevue" album as there has been about my next one, my CD of Hymn Arrangements called "Adoration."

Whenever I run into someone familiar with my music, they inevitably ask me, "When's the new Hymns CD coming out? I can't wait for it! It's going to be SO GREAT!"

Seriously, I get asked that question at least once a week. I don't remember any album of mine ever being so eagerly awaited for.

It's a bit daunting.

What if the album turns out to be just "okay." What if it's not "Amazing?"

I felt a lot of pressure going into the studio for this CD. I booked an entire week near the end of this last March. I wanted to take the time to make sure the album was perfect. I wanted to knock the ball out of the ballpark. I wanted to sit down at the piano, feel the Spirit move on me, and play these Hymn arrangements like I had never played them before.

At least, that's how I pictured it before I went into the studio.

It didn't turn out that way. It was the most difficult recording session of my career. On top of the "human" pressure, the pressure of knowing people expect me to put out a GREAT album, was the pressure of wanting to honor God with this music. I mean, Adoration is an album of songs that have been devoted to God for generations. These songs speak of life and hope and faith in God, the Eternal One, the Everlasting One. The Alpha and the Omega. The First and the Last. The Beginning and the End.

What do I do if the album is not "Amazing?"

After I finished recording the album, I couldn't listen to it for a month. Even now, almost two months later, I still can't listen to the album as "music." I'm hearing this thing in the mix, that thing, the other thing - stuff that bugs me in the recording.

And I keep thinking, what if it's not just absolutely "Amazing?" I can't release this if it's not worthy. It must be worthy.

Finally, I burned a few copies of the pre-mastered CD to hand out to a few people to get their initial response. And now I wait for the feedback.

And yet, even if they say they LIKE it, how will I know they really like it? How do I know they won't just tell me what they know I want to hear... that it's "Amazing," when maybe it's just "okay."

Alas, this is the torment I go through as an artist. With every album I release, I become more obsessive - my brain focuses in so hard on every little detail. I can't hear the musicality of what I've recorded because I'm zooming in on overtones, harmonics, imperfections in the instrument, mechanical noises - you name it.

I can't hear the music through all the noise.

And then I think back on my previous album, "Overcome."

I had the same problem with that one. For the longest time, I wasn't sure I wanted to release it. And then I did, it became a hit, and won an award for "best instrumental album of 2005."

It turned out to be "Amazing," despite all my fears.

And now I look back at Overcome and I see it as a defining album. One of the best of my career, even as good as The Vigil, which I have always considered a personal favorite.

And so, what of Adoration? How will I feel about it five years from now? Will I look back and think.... "that was Amazing!"

Let's hope so.

More on Adoration next time.

David Nevue