Fort Myers, Florida, is on the west coast of the peninsula, a short distance from Naples. We were graciously hosted by Terri and Bill Fields, lifelong friends of Tim and Gay, and their home is lovely. Situated on the Caloosahatchee river, a half-hour from busy Ft. Myers, their 4 acres feature a pine forest, a “borrow pit” converted pond (Terri can’t explain where the 3 pound bass she caught came from), and expansive lawns punctuated with palms and oaks and everything ornamented with cascading Spanish moss (a type of epiphyte, a plant that grows upon another plant). Attached to the palms are Night-blooming cactus that grow up the trunks of trees searching for sunlight and blossoming in the canopy. The river ambles by and the setting is dreamy antebellum; a paddle wheeler churned by around 10 a.m. on its way to the locks. Continuing on, large vessels have a straight shot to the east coast, an inland channel that cuts days off the trip around the keys.
Each year, Bill writes a passel of songs and Tim spends his winters hanging out in Florida, monopolizing the rider mower and adding his production magic to Bill’s tunes. After lunch, Tim said, “OK, let’s head down to the studio. We need some chick voices on a couple of tracks.” We spent the rest of the afternoon doing backup vocals in Terri’s yoga ashram (a corner of which is converted into Tim’s temporary studio).
A day later, Tim emailed us drafts of the 3 songs we participated in—all penned by Bill, with Tim and a pack of friends participating in the production (including Doug Mortenson on lead guitar). Click the play button below for a preview of the 3 songs in their entirety (and listen for Gay and Sooney’s sweet harmonies in the “chick” parts). I challenge you refrain from humming the catchy melodies for some time after listening!
Postscript: Several months after we returned from Florida, Tim sent us the latest versions of the songs Sooney and Gay sang on and the results were strikingly different. When you compare the rough, “original” version of Love with the mastered copy, the differences are clearly noticeable. The recording process has become closer to home in that we were present in the studio for Oh Bruni’s Kickstarter project.
Great Blue Heron, White Ibis, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Common Grackle