Franklin, Tenn - As he approaches the ten-year mark of his music career, singer/songwriter/storyteller Shawn McDonald releases The Analog Sessions (Sparrow), a collection of nine re-recorded via live-to-tape hits and fan favorites, plus two brand new tunes. The project releases March 26.
“When you release a traditional greatest hits record these days, usually people just go to iTunes to download the new songs, so the idea was to re-record everything to give the songs a fresh and different approach,” McDonald shares.
The personal message of McDonald's spiritual journey takes center stage on The Analog Sessions, especially in light of this distinctive live-to-tape recording format. “I hope listeners hear the heart of these songs in this stripped down format,” he shares. “I think longtime fans will enjoy hearing a new feel for the songs they’ve fallen in love with over the years, and for newer fans, this project can also be an introduction of where we came from.”
“I’m never been a guy who thinks 'I’ve arrived' because my journey is a lifelong thing,” McDonald muses. “I’m always trying to better myself and grow because the instant you stop learning, you start to die. I’m in a season of growth right now, just really striving hard to be more intentional, to hone my craft and to not just give part of my heart to it, but to wholeheartedly be faithful to the gifts God has given me. I want to impact the world, be a part of change and see the kingdom of God become real and active in people’s lives.”
About the recording process for The Analog Sessions:
It was proposed by Chris Stevens, McDonald's longtime producer, to go to an old school recording studio to capture the songs live to tape. "I didn’t even know if those places still existed, but we found [Nashville's] Welcome To 1979 Studio, which used to be a record pressing company back in the day," explains McDonald. "There were no computers, just tape machines, vintage amps, and old keyboards." He even used a microphone that Frank Sinatra used for years.
This old-school "analog" approach is quite different than any disc McDonald has recorded thus far, not to mention one of the most determined. “Analog is warmer and sounds better naturally,” continues McDonald of the retro-minded decision. “But tape is a tricky thing, and if you mess up, you have to rewind it and punch in the corrections so you just have to hope you get it. The reality is we just recorded live without stopping, trying to get all the way through without messing up. There’s no stacking, overdubbing vocals or any of that studio stuff you might find on my regular records.”
A few of the favorites found on The Analog Sessions are “Gravity,” “Captivated,” “Closer” and “Rise,” and McDonald and Stevens dug deeper into the catalogue to re-capture gems like “Eyes Forward,” “Beautiful” and “Take My Hand.” The two brand-new cuts, “What Are You Waiting For” and “Through It All,” appear in both analog and fully-produced radio versions. The former is slated as the album's first radio single.