You can now stream ‘Quarantine Blues’! ‘Quarantine Blues’ is the fifth track on Modern Nostalgia, and it is the very first song that I gave to the Hughes Blues Crew in 2020. As you may have guessed, I wrote ‘Quarantine Blues’ during quarantine last year, and it is definitely one of the heavier tracks on the album.
Recording this song was an absolute blast! It was pretty much the only song I allowed myself to really experiment with while in the studio. I went in knowing that I wanted to do something different, something that was new to me. We recorded the rhythm tracks on the first day, with the rest of the songs, and I believe we only needed to do three takes before nailing it. I don’t think I touched it again until the third and final day in the studio, when I did my vocals. It was the first one we worked on that day and I decided when I got to the studio that I wanted to experiment a little bit.
So I picked up a guitar I had never even heard of before, Rob Evans’s PRS Vela, and started messing around with different sounds. When my wah pedal stopped working, Rob loaned me his Snarling Dog, and while I was switching out the pedals, the gain knob on my Blues Driver was accidentally turned all the way up and the sound that this combination produced was incredible. I told Rob to hit record and we ran with it. I played lead while singing the first vocal take. Admittedly, I went a little overboard in some spots, but I am pretty sure everything on the recording is from the first couple of takes, I just trimmed a few parts here and there.
The vocals didn’t flow as smoothly (shocker!) and we spent much longer than I wanted to honing in on just how the melody should go. Unlike the other songs on the album, this song was primed for alteration. Rob eventually helped me figure out what I wanted, and even though we spent hours on this one song, I still ended up re-recording the vocals later at my home studio.
Speaking of vocals, the other thing this song boasts is some incredibly powerful backing vocals from the very talented Emily Lynn. I met Emily on tour with Heather Findlay, Emily was Heather’s keyboard player and backup singer. Emily is also a backup singer for Thunder and Australian Pink Floyd. I knew that I wanted big backing vocals on this song, but I honestly had no idea just what it was I was looking for. It was the first one I sent to Emily, and I was absolutely blown away with what she came up with for it. It was far beyond anything I could have hoped to come up with, myself. She sent me a couple of “options” to choose from with the intent to develop the ideas from there, but I loved everything she did so much that I used every option pretty much the way she had done it the first time. I might have tweaked one or two parts but for the most part I just fit what she sent me into the mix.
You can now pre-order Modern Nostalgia here.