Journey to “Sweet Happiness” – Prairie Songwriter Shares Tips on Making An Album

Glenn Sutter (‘sue-ter’) is a fiery folk-rocker from Regina, Saskatchewan.  In September 2010, Glenn received nationwide acclaim when his tune “Weight of the World” was chosen winner and official Saskatchewan Song on David Suzuki’s “Playlist for the Planet(CBC Radio3).  Glenn recently released his second full-length solo album Sweet Happiness.  Here are some of the things he learned while making the album…

In Glenn’s words…

The path that led to my latest album “Sweet Happiness” (released December 2011) was quite different from other journeys I’ve taken as a recording artist.  Compared to my 2008 debut, when I barely had enough material for a full-length album and had never seen the inside of a professional studio, this time I had a small mountain of songs to choose from, and I knew what the studio experience would be like.  I also made use of the following ideas:

Focus on a theme – During pre-production, I noticed that all of the tunes we decided to include had something to do with searching and discovery.  I don’t know if having this sort of theme made a difference to the other musicians or my producer, David j Taylor, but it really helped me to focus, or get re-focused during the recording sessions.  Having a theme also made it easy to write up the liner notes, pick a title track, and develop promotional material.  And now that the CD is out, I always mention the theme during interviews, or when I talk about the album or individual songs during gigs.  Seems to be a good idea, all round.

Have a clear goal and tell everyone about it – This is an effective way to get people on the same page and deepen their commitment to the project.  In this case, I wanted the album to have a live, off-the-floor sound with only a bit of overdubbing, so that became our goal.  Everyone liked the idea, and seemed to have fun with it, even though it meant making room in the studio for an acoustic piano!  Best of all, I like how it affected the results.  A number of tracks have an energy and spontaneity to them that really suits the songs.

Trust, and give yourself over to, the process – Everyone says this, but I think the proof is in the doing.  For me, walking seems to free up my energy and ideas, and I trust it to work for me as part of my songwriting process.  At the same time, trusting and giving myself over to a musical experience can be a very hard thing to do, and it will probably always be something I have to work on.  I suppose that’s part of what makes creating, recording, and sharing music so rewarding.

As a last note, now that my family is older, I’ve started touring to promote my new album.  I don’t have many tips to offer on that front, since tour planning is new ground for me.  So far, I’ve learned that it helps to plan well in advance, to build on the kindness of friends and strangers, and to watch out for crappy weather, because you’re probably going to have to drive through it!

Click Here to visit Glenn’s Songwriter Profile.
Click Here to visit Glenn’s website.

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