The Awakening of Russell Henderson

Every Sunday, I try to post an excerpt from my novel, The Awakening of Russell Henderson. Here’s another. The book is available at

The three of us practiced until we were bleary eyed. We fine tuned, we honed. I kept working on new licks and rhythm patterns. We were becoming a true unit, feeding off each other, commenting, criticizing, encouraging, growing. 

We invited some others, the violin player and the whistle player from our jams, and, of course Frank, to sit in on various tunes. They were eager and we worked out those tunes as well. Other than Frank, the other two played professionally and had recorded before. Frank was a novice like we were but was up to his part.

Our session date arrived. Hanna and I packed up our gear, picked up Mick and Karen and headed to the studio which was in a nondescript building in an industrial area of other nondescript buildings. We were greeted by a twenty something woman, with purple hair and numerous tattoos and piercings, who introduced herself as Bobby, who led to an office where we met our recording engineer, Johnny, who was somewhere north of forty but south of sixty. He was a heavy set man with droopy eyes, and the requisite pony tail. He was professional to the point of being standoffish, but, as we got on, he turned out to a really nice guy.

He asked about our style of music, acoustic or electric, did we have pickups, what were our goals, and had we ever recorded in a studio before? Hanna, our only true professional and spokesperson, answered for us. He explained that we could each lay out separate tracks individually or do it together as a group. We chose the later option. So, We would be in separate recording booths and Hanna would be center where we could see her. At the end, we signed a bunch of paperwork including the contract. 

The rooms were completely sound proof so the only way we would hear each other was through our headsets. We would each be recorded on a separate track so we could over-dub any mistakes or anything we might not like.

We were led to our separate rooms and made comfortable. Bobby brought us each a bottle of water. Before we separated, we got in tune and we were ready . . . as ready as we would ever be and went to our respective places. I closed my door and all sound was gone. It was a sound vacuum. It was weird. 

I put on the headset and heard Derek talking. It was like he was right in front of me, his voice was so sharp and crisp it was unnerving.

I could see Hanna standing about ten feet away, but Mick was in a room outside my vision. Derek was in his control room off to my left. 

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