#16 Icing on the Cake

by | May 18, 2023

As we recorded using my scratch vocals (“rough” vocals not intended for the final recording), Scavone said on multiple occasions that he heard the possibility of female vocals all over the album. He even offered up his own vocals (he’s an amazing singer in his own right) if it would make the songs better. He had some wonderful singers whom he could call in for freelance work and asked me whether I wanted him to line them up. I told him to put them on standby, and that I was currently chasing a young lady whom I had never worked with before, and I wanted to hold out as long as I could to see whether she’d respond. 

Back in 1998, I purchased land so that I could build a house on it. A young lady named Josie coordinated all the subcontractors. The set-up was absolutely wonderful and we became friends. She introduced me to her brother, Erik, a drummer who had just moved here from Chicago. We all kept in touch, especially through social media, and always spoke when we saw each other out. Josie had been posting videos of Erik’s new band with their lead singer, Jackie Fallar. It turns out that Erik and Jackie ultimately began dating. Jackie had immediately gotten my attention when I heard her online, and when I heard her doing acoustic stuff it was even more clear how talented she was. I believed from the beginning that she and I could sing well together, BUT—this was not something that I’d done often. 

I kept wondering how I was going to present this to her, especially because I’d never met her, until someone hit me in the back at a restaurant in Albemarle and asked me what the hell I was doing there. It was Erik. We chatted a bit and I asked if Jackie was there. He said, “Sure, man, come on over and I’ll introduce you to her.” I said to her first that I was a fan, and though I knew she was mostly singing lead, I was going to be working on an album soon and wondered if she would be interested in singing on it. She said she actually preferred singing harmonies, but her bass player had talked her into singing lead and she’d discovered she had a knack for it. I told her I’d contact her soon. Well, as you’ve already read, the start of this record took a bit longer than expected. 

A few weeks before we went into the studio, I reached out to Erik on social media to ask Jackie to contact me. He said, “Sure thing.” Surprisingly, I basically heard CRICKETS for at least two weeks. I thought, “Damn, this chick has ZERO interest.” She finally reached out the day we were headed to play The Visulite and said, “Hey! So Erik told me you wanted to get together and make some music! Let me know your schedule and hopefully we can hang! Sorry it took me so long to respond. He told me a while back, but I’m a loser and can’t remember things, and I forgot to message you! Hope you had a good holiday and have a great weekend!”

I was stoked beyond measure. We exchanged contact information and I sent her over some VERY rough tracks that Trey and I made. I asked her if she liked them and wanted to sing on the album, and she said, “Hell yeah, man, we got to get you home.” “Go Home” is the second track on the album, so I knew then she was genuinely excited. She asked if I was “just looking for someone to do harmonies? Or like some ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’?” Hahaha. “Or do you want like full vocals?” I basically said all of it, or whatever sounds the best. 

I didn’t know it, but Jackie had never been in a studio like this before, especially tracking original music, so I asked her to meet me for lunch because I was going in to begin tracking my vocals. I wanted her to get a feel for the studio and how we were doing things, and meet the producers to make sure she felt comfortable before coming back in another day and doing her own tracking. 

Well, the whole “come back in” idea didn’t even make it past my first vocal track. Scavone called me out of the vocal booth into the control room to listen to my take, as he felt I had finally nailed it. Once we listened, we all agreed we should keep the tracks. He said, “OK, cool, great job. Jackie, you ready to jump in there?” I said, “Wait, man, she was just here to observe for today.” I didn’t want to push her too hard too fast and make her feel uncomfortable. He said, “Nah, I have already heard her singing along in here; she is ready and will be fine.” She agreed, stepped into the booth, threw on the head phones and FUCKING KILLED IT! We were both floored. Scavone said, “Dude, not only is she a brilliant singer, she is efficient.” Jackie nailed that shit quickly. 

I started filming her through the glass while her voice was BLASTING through the control room speakers with my voice, and Scavone and I were completely blown away. The guys all texted me and asked how it went, and I just sent them the video. They couldn’t even text me back fast enough before my phone started ringing with them asking “Who the fuck is that chick, and where did you find her?” It was complete magic, and she not only sang on seven of the eight tracks, Mitschele wanted her to have more of a role and gave her a verse in “Cry For Me.” We also incorporated her in more places than just the chorus. The bar was now set for me to step up my game and drive this album home. We ALL knew then we were REALLY onto something special, and Jackie was the final piece of the puzzle I had been looking for all along.