Healing Waters

Michael On Fire

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Not counting special collections or compilations of previously recorded material, this is Michael’s 18th studio album; more than 200 songs that have been recorded and made available commercially. His history and experience in the recording studio is notable and extensive; it includes early work with Hall of Fame Producer Don Davis at Detroit’s United Sound studios; recording his songs at Muscle Shoals with the legendary Swampers rhythm section; Pacific Sound with Joe Vitale; “The Barn” and “The Studio” with Stephen Stills; Devonshire with Stanley Johnston; Studio 55 with Daniel-now-No’a Lazerus; A&M studios courtesy of Jimmy Iovine; and so many great independent studios, musicians, producers and collaborators across the country – people who love music and make music, and know how to record music – in Nashville and L.A., but also in out-of the-way places like Ft. Dodge, Oswego, and many other cities and towns; at the Braushaus, the Silvery Moon, A –Square, Reel Sound, Solid Sound, Harmonie Park, Funky D; Phil Kenzie and the Bunker, Colin Wilson, Chris Kelly, Ced Curtis, Marty Bolin; I could go on and on. I just wanted to give some context so that when Michael says, “This was the best recording session of my entire life,” you’ll understand that – that’s saying something! After contacting the musicians, who for the past three years have performed with Michael on his West Coast dates, and coordinating everyone’s schedule, I booked a week, a month in advance, in Bear’s studio in Buellton, Calif. In that month, Michael wrote a bunch of new songs, seven of which are included here. And because it felt and sounded so good, they recorded 13 other songs, 10 of which no one in the band had ever heard before. It was highly improvisational, with all songs recorded live, in one or two takes, with all the musicians in one room, facing each other, playing simultaneously. Since each of these musicians are multi-instrumentalists and were bursting with creativity and enthusiasm, a couple other ideas and instruments were added, along with background vocals; that’s it. It was a fun, joyous, laughter-filled week; five-and-a-half days, close to 70 hours in the studio. The thing that stands out is how incredibly happy we were to be there and to return there each day. I can honestly say it was one of the most exciting, creative, energized, wonderful weeks of my life. After the session, during a conversation with the poet Dan Gerber, he said – Michael’s an artist, and as such, his job, his business, is to do the work of creating art; what the world makes of it is the world’s business. I recall, during one of the Tales from the Tavern taped interviews, Michael said, “I do this to feel and to heal. Sometimes I pick up my guitar and I hit a chord and go – Oh my God, that just healed my soul.” That is the magic of music. When it is given the opportunity, and when it is expressed and received truly, it has a unique power to affect and inspire and, yes, heal us. I invite you to immerse yourself in these – Healing Waters. RC (June, 2014)

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