1st June 2017 – Day 1 – of recording session with Boz Boorer, Serra Vista Studio, Portugal.
I landed in Faro airport (Algarve) in the afternoon after getting a morning flight from Dublin, for another epic session with Boz Boorer. Got a lift to the mountain (Monchique) by his lovely wife Lyn and drove past some flying storks on the drive up. Man, I have never seen anything like it. The site of a stork flying across your windscreen, was like something out of a Jurassic park movie. These guys are huge. I arrived at the studio late afternoon to find the Boz man in the studio but looking unusually distracted. It turns out he was looking for songs on his back up drives. Im not sure if I was much help but a few minutes later, the songs were located.
Once found, we got started on a couple of my songs. The first song (working title ‘folksong’ [later renamed ‘Black Irish Dogs’]) was easy, being a mainly acoustic affair so I started the session with this.
Boz had a new acoustic guitar, an Alvarez and asked if I would like to play it. I gave it a few strums and agreed I would. The last time I was here was in 2010, recording my ‘Battle Stations’ album and I had used a really old Epiphone acoustic which I was really fond of and looking forward to playing but there was no sign of it about and I did’t feel like asking for fear of putting him to the trouble of looking for it. Boz is a very generous and obliging fellow and I was sure if I asked, he would have gone out of his way to accommodate me.
I was very tired as I started to play (10pm) but was really determined to make a good start on the session as I knew I would only have a couple of days in the studio with Boz. He planned to fly to Rome to work with Morrissey on his new album. Turns out the songs on his back up drives were ones he wrote for the forthcoming Morrissey album “Low In High School’.
The next song we worked on was another acoustic track called ‘Country Mountain’. This one was written in Portugal the last time I was here (September, 2010) influenced by my experience with Boz and my friends. On writing this, I had decided that if I was lucky enough to ever get the chance to work with Boz again, it would be here, in Serra Vista Studio that I would record this song. It turned out amazing with Boz adding a mandolin (strung by me) over the acoustic guitars. Beautiful…
As day one came to a close, from the control room, we listened back for a while and marvelled at the work we had achieved. It wasn’t finished at this point but we could tell this had potential to be something really special.
I started singing along as we listened but not words.. just a weird harmony whoop that came to mind. Boz threw me look. “What the **** was that? Will you remember to sing that in the morning?” he enquired.
I was too tired to do anymore for now so I promised him I would do my best to remember the weird harmony. As I went off to find my bed for the night, I hummed the harmony to myself hoping to ingrain it in my tired brain for recall the next day.