Rich Wyman and Lisa Needham plan new collaborative album
Duo will hit studio next week
January 6, 2017
Husband and wife duo Rich Wyman and Lisa Needham have wrapped up a series of performances at Molly Blooms.
The concerts not only entertained fans, but also prepared the couple for its next step — recording a new album.
"Lisa and I have been together for 29 years and she's always sang on my albums and she has sang at my shows and sometimes I'll back her up on piano," said Wyman, a 10-time ASCAP award winner. "She put together the Park City Divas Show at the Egyptian Theatre. She's performed at the Riverhorse, the Eccles Center and with the Utah Symphony. While I've put out 10 solo albums, this will be the first one that we are doing as a duo."
The idea of making an album together isn't new for Wyman and Needham.
"Nearly 10 years ago, we decided to make [one]," Wyman said. "We put together a band from Salt Lake, rehearsed and went into the studio."
That's when Needham, owner of the Park City Yoga Studio, found how expensive making an album can be.
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"We never finished it and it got put on the back burner," Wyman said.
After raising two sons, the couple decided to give making an album another try.
"We're empty nesters now," Wyman said. "We've had time to collaborate and write new songs, and Lisa also has some songs that we didn't finish for the first [attempt]."
When the songs started coming together, Wyman contacted his friend Kevin Hupp, a longtime producer and drummer in New York.
"He's toured with a lot of people from Edgar Winter to Rick Derringer, and, most recently, with Iggy Pop," Wyman said. "He played with me back when I was doing shows in New York in the 1980s and he was the first guy I called when I worked with Eddie Van Halen."
Wyman told Hupp he and Needham have been saving up to do the album.
"So, Kevin put together an A-list line-up of musicians including a guitarist, bassist and a horn section, and got a friend-rate at one of the top recording studios in New York," Wyman said.
The couple will fly out next Wednesday and will be in New York for almost two weeks.
"We'll spend the first day at Kevin's house doing some pre production," Wyman said. "We'll go over the songs and decide on what instrumentation we want and he'll probably have some ideas as well."
While there are two songs that were written solely by Wyman, most of the songs' lyrics were written by Needham.
"Lisa writes a lot of poetry," Wyman said. "She'll hand me what she wrote and then I'll sit down at the piano and create the music that is inspired by her lyrics.
"Sometimes when she hears something she likes, she'll yell across the room and ask, 'I like that. Can I have that?'" he said. "Sometimes she has more definitive ideas, but I'm more of the music creator for her songs and she writes the lyrics."
After spending a day on preproduction, the next three days will be spent in the studio.
"We'll lay down the basic tracks with the band and that will include the drums, bass, guitar and piano," Wyman said. "We'll bring in the horn section in on Sunday."
Wyman knows what he wants the songs to sound like.
"I told Kevin that I want to go for a raw and simple sound," he said. "I want to hear real musicians playing from the heart, but will not spend all day working on the sound of the snare drum. I don't want a poppy, over-produced and sterilized production."
After the basic tracks are done, Wyman and Needham will head to another friend's house and record nothing but vocals.
"By the end of the next few days, I hope to have the recording done," Wyman said.
The couple will then spend time playing shows and saving money to pay for mixing the album.
"When that's done, we'll save up for the mastering," Wyman said. "Then we'll save for the manufacturing and distribution."
Wyman and Needham want to see if they can pay for the album themselves. But if they have to, they do have the option to crowd source.
"I used Kickstarter on my last album, and we may go that route," Wyman said. "But we don't have to do that right now for this part of the recording."
The live performances at Molly Blooms these past couple of weeks helped Needham and Wyman tighten up the songs.
"That worked out great for us because we needed to play these songs for an audience," Wyman said. "I always tell musicians that they can practice until their fingers are bleeding and they can take lessons and become as knowledgeable as can be, but nothing takes them to the level of perfection and professionalism than being on stage."
In addition, Wyman recorded every show.
"We listened to the recordings and made notes and then rehearsed with the notes and played the next show with the improvements," he said. "It was a great way to tighten up and elevate the songs, so by the time we get to the studio, we'll have our stuff together so we can concentrate on creating the album."
To help the musicians understand the songs, Wyman sent them recordings and lead sheets that contained lyrics and chords.
"That way when we meet up we'll have all of this creativity flowing and try out ideas as a group," he said.
So far, the couple is calling their project Lisa and Rich.
"We'll call ourselves that until a bolt of lightning hits us with a surefire name," Wyman said.
For more information about Rich Wyman, visit http://www.richwyman.com.
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