Many of you may know I have a little, almost 3 year old niece, who is, more or less, named after the Duran Duran song, "Rio".
Well, one night back in February, I sat down with a guitar and started to play the tune. I don't remember why I did in the first place but I did think to myself, "Self, you should cover this song for your niece - it's the gift that will keep on giving."
The lyrics to the verses really have nothing to do with a 3 year old girl (in fact I'm not quite exactly sure what they're all about) but the chorus evolved into this sweeping duple over 6/8, sing-songy gem that I just gushed over.
I immediately called up my friend and colleague (and electric guitarist on my EP), Grethel Bonilla, and asked her to come by and play through the arrangement with me because having Grethel's musical input breathes life into ideas. Everything just flowed out so naturally so, I knew it was something that HAD to be done.
The months went by and the time until I was to visit my family in Oklahoma was growing shorter so I contacted Artyom Manukyan, the brilliant bassist/cellist on my EP, and enlisted Nick on marimba (duh) to record the tune LIVE in our living room.
I wrote out a chart, Nick transformed our living room into a studio, and in one day, "Rio" for Rio was born.
What I had planned to be a small little private recording for family quickly turned into a week-long, creative obsession for both me and Nick.
We mixed and tweaked, and as an added thought, called up our talented young friend, Francesco Cañas, to lay down some violin overdubs (who is also on my EP).
It was the night before I flew out for my trip to Oklahoma that we finally settled on a mix and master and prepared ourselves for the excitement of unveiling it to my family. In the end, it's turned into this epic, mariachi-esque, chamber ensemble ode to a 3 year old.
Needless to say, it went over well and little Rio said, "That's Ree-ro!" (what she calls herself). Of course, she has no idea it's me singing it but, she will as she grows and she'll always have it.
I have to say that that felt pretty awesome seeing as how my sister is a genius with handmade and thoughtful gifts and I finally was able to come up with something that I felt was on par with that thoughtfulness. I also have to say that Nick absolutely floored me with his engineering (and of course playing) on this. He really is a modern marvel.
It felt so good to put that producer/arranger hat on again - it's been a while. I hope you enjoy it. We had a blast doing it.