This year, Alex and I decided, instead of making and buying gifts for the 30ish family members on our list we would create a Christmas album. Crazy, right? We've both been musicians for years, even playing in the same band for a while, so we though, how hard could it be? Well, lets just say it was more time consuming than expected.
I thought I'd share some progress pics of our epic journey in the making of An Ashley&Alex Christmas Album.
I started in September, compiling lots of tabs and deciding which songs would sound the best for this project. At first I planned on featuring 10 songs on the album, then 8 and finally, when time ran short we ended up with 6!
After I picked out my songs I practiced them on guitar until they sounded recording ready! (I'm sure my neighbors really enjoyed all the Christmas tunes from September-December.) In the meantime I tracked down the perfect supplies for beautiful Album packaging!
I found this wonderful stamp at LittleStampStore on Etsy. She didn't carry the size I needed so I custom ordered one big enough for a CD cover. Customer service was awesome and I'll definitely be ordering from her shop again.
I also found these fun vintage-look CD's on Amazon, as well as these cute CD cases.
I also found some cute CD labels stickers and this Etsy shop called PeculiarPrintables which provided the perfect fair isle sweater labels for my CD's.
I think they turned out pretty darn cute!
In the meantime, Alex learned to use Reaper so we could record digitally. He also used his computer nerd powers to figure out how to make the keyboard and the microphone and the guitar and bass guitar speak to the computer. It's all a mystery to me, but I'm sure glad he gets it. (Forgive the messy music room!)
I ended up recording for an hour or two every night in November and December until I got all the tracks sounding the way I wanted them. Alex wanted to contribute more to the actual instrumental portion of the album but with his College courseload and full time work he didn't have the time to be as involved as he'd hoped. He did record a lovely guitar solo on The Christmas Song though.
By early December I was getting frustrated trying to record all the instruments on my own so I recruited our friend Justin for his bass playing skillz.
He did a magical job! You can check out his bass skillz on the tracks White Christmas and Baby Please Come Home. In retrospect I really should've asked for help sooner but I have a desperate need for creative control on projects like this and trouble handing over the reins.
He was kind enough to let us borrow his bass until we finished the album, I think it really classes up the joint.
Our goal was to get the completed albums in the mail by the first weekend in December, which, of course, did not work out. We ended up doing the traditional Holiday scramble and barely getting all 15 packages in the mail by the 21st. We ended up spending our first weekend of Christmas vacation constantly working on the album. No chores were done, no meals were made, it was all work all the time! The night before the albums went out, I literally pulled an all nighter to finish recording the drum and tambourine parts on Baby Please Come Home! But it was totally worth it. On Dec. 20th Alex got all the tracks mastered and the CD's burned and I got them all packaged up and beautiful. Then we popped them in the mail on the 21st and were able to spend the rest of the Holiday week enjoying each others company and eating way too many Christmas cookies.
The reviews for the album have been wonderful. All our friends and family have been very receptive and supportive of our Christmas music! All the positive feedback has made me pretty sure a 2016 Christmas album is on the horizon. This time I'll be getting started in May.
If you'd like to listen to the Album you can find it here.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about the making of a An Ashley&Alex Christmas Album!
Thanks for stopping by!
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