Carl is “OFF the Road.” A new season!

 

Carl & Leann leading @ The Well of Nashville

Carl & Leann leading @ The Well of Nashville

Yes, it’s true. I have officially left the Paul Baloche band. After 20+ years with Paul I decided, back in March of this year (2016), that it was time to move on. Many of you were surprised, and actually it was even a shocking decision for me too. I’m still trying to figure it all out. These guys are my friends, comrades… even brothers. So it was very challenging to let it all go. We’ll always be “soul brothers,” but the path I’ve needed to take could not wait any longer. Basically, I felt God has called me to some other things, and the road work was eating up too much time and energy for me to be good (or better) at what I need to be doing here in Nashville.
Leann and I have been pastoring a church for almost 4 years now. (The Well of Nashville) The team, community, and Leann have felt the strain of me being gone almost every weekend or every “other” weekend… and sometimes several weeks in a row. It was not the best way to help build a community. 🙂 Being home more allows me to connect to our church better, to work here in town… and to Leann as well.

Carl's production room and studio

Carl’s production room and studio

I’ve also wanted to be more involved in recording sessions; production work; songwriting; teaching and more. In Nashville, if you’re on the road, it’s almost the “kiss of death” for doing the recording scene here. I noticed that if I missed a call the word quickly spreads that “Carl’s a road guy” and the phone quits ringing. Of course I’ve just always gone with the flow… trusting the Lord to work out my schedule. And He did, and still does so. I’ve been fortunate to always have a balance of touring, studio work, and ministry activities. But I new it was just a matter of the limits of my personal time and energy that was closing some doors and making it impossible to juggle everything. You can only have so much “on your plate.”
At the beginning of 2016 I actually thought this would be a two to three year process. But as I was praying, talking to Leann, and others, it became clear time had accelerated. The more I pressed into the Lord and good council I realized this change was happening in two weeks! It was already mid February and I knew there was no long transition period that felt peaceful. So I called my friend Paul in March and made the announcement. There were tears, and laughter… stories of past adventures and the vision for both of our futures. We prayed and blessed each other and even talked about the possible future connection at some events. But that will have to be a strategic move of the Lord… and careful planning. The goal really is to stay home in Nashville and focus on life and work here.
Leann and I still travel on occasion to speak at an event, do some team training, or lead worship together. I’ve even taken the “one off” weekend playing drums for some other events… but the focus of my life now is to stay in town more to connect to the people we are pastoring, to work on music, and to find what the Lord has in store for me here. Being gone every other month for a couple of days is VERY different than being away every week.
Thanks for your prayers as we move into this new time. It’s still in process. For those of you that have spoken to me about it, thanks for your encouragement and support. Change is tough, even when it’s right.

Blessings, Carl

Endorsing “Heartbeat Cymbals” – The Switch

Heartbeat Cymbals - Custom Ride - 20" Light

Heartbeat Cymbals – Custom Ride – 20″ Light

I move very slowly when making a change in endorsements. So it comes with great excitement & much artistic soul searching that I am officially announcing my move to the Heartbeat Cymbal Company from Canada (Handcrafted in Turkey. * More on this later).

In my early years I was a Zildjian cymbal fan – not an official artist, but I did love their stuff. After almost 20 years I made the move to Meinl Cymbals & Percussion. For over 7 years I played their cymbals and I was satisfied with the product and the deal. When Meinl and I parted ways it was friendly. There was just a shift in vision and the endorsee roster. I actually kept using their stuff at my own expense. I liked the products and I did not find anything else I wanted to play. I still use Meinl Percussion instruments.

Testin Heartbeat Cymbals in my studio

Testing Heartbeat Cymbals in my studio

BUT… things do change. As a drummer/artist I was looking for something fresh yet classic. I’ve been playing different cymbal lines as the opportunity arose. Mostly at events where back line (rental gear) was being used. So I had the chance to hear a lot of options for cymbals & drums too. And really for a long time I was not impressed enough to make the switch from Meinl.  When the guys from Heartbeat allowed me to try some of their cymbals at the Christian Musician Summit in Seattle I was very interested in giving them a bit of a road test.

Noel Walker, the founder & CEO of Heartbeat Distributors was kind enough to send me the set up you see pictured here. I described what I wanted to hear, and he nailed it. I did see & hear a good variety of cymbal designs Noel had at the conference, but I really wanted something classic sounding with a bit of a twist. That is exactly what I got. **The line up in the photo from LEFT to RIGHT:  Classic Regular 15″ Hi-hats; Classic 19″ Medium Crash; Custom  20″ Light Ride; Classic 22″ Medium Ride; Classic 18″ Thin Crash; and a Custom Rock 20″ Medium Crash.  Finding an old cymbalsmith in Turkey was a brilliant idea. Good job, Noel! Using the experience & skill of this ancient master & his team he (Noel) described what he was looking for in cymbals and they’ve really captured it. Another interesting vision that Noel shared with me is that he really wants to serve churches & worship drummers around the world by developing fresh new sounds in the Heartbeat Cymbal lines. A very noble cause. Even as they work in the world wide market place to offer an excellent product he is specifically targeting the needs in modern worship settings. I look forward to brainstorming ideas with Noel & his team in the future.

In this first set up Noel sent me I’ve found some classic old world sounds, with an edge to them, that make them feel modern & fresh. Fantastic! I don’t think it’s a coincidence the series I’m most drawn to is the Classic series that Heartbeat offers, but the other models also have a great match or complement to what the Classics do. Some other things I’m finding with these cymbals is that I can use any of them as a ride or a crash. They have amazing control, and only “explode” as I dig in to them. This is allowing me to have a huge palette of tones for pattern playing, smooth balanced crashes, or just raw bashing explosions. AND this is the first time I’ve used 15″ hi-hats that I really like.

A Yamaha Oak Custom kit w/ my Heartbeat Cymbals

A Yamaha Oak Custom kit w/ my Heartbeat Cymbals

Having used them in several concert settings and now on studio projects I was able to give Heartbeat Cymbals a big “thumbs up.” I contacted Noel recently and gave him the word that I’m all in. If you’re looking for something fresh in your cymbal world check out Heartbeat Cymbals.

The basic set up: 15" hats, 22" ride, 19" & 18" crashes

The basic set up: 15″ hats, 22″ ride, 19″ & 18″ crashes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out their web for more info: *I’ll be posting more soon.* – http://heartbeatdistributors.com/products/heartbeat-percussion/classic-cymbals

—- Besides me, here are some the drummers that have recently signed on:

Joey Parish (Shane and Shane): Classic hats, Classic and Studio crashes, Studio ride

Nicole Hickman (Holly Starr): Custom hats, Studio crashes, Epic ride

Daniel Hadaway (All Sons and Daughters): All Classic series

 

A Home Studio, Producing, Writing, Teaching, and Pastoring

My recording set up.

Even with staying in Nashville more I’m wearing “many different hats.” I’m still adjusting to the NEW season. — Read on —

In the modern recording world almost EVERY musician has some kind of home recording set up. It’s just the nature of the music business today. Even though I really enjoy being in a big studio with other players and making music as a collective, creative group… it is absolutely necessary that I have a working space at home that is set up to record drum and percussion tracks. Even today, before writing this post, I was finishing up some drum tracks for a client from South Africa – with a producer in Florida. It still blows my mind to think of how “small” the world has become with the invention of “file sharing.” Amazing!

With my laptop hooked up to a large flat screen monitor, and a bluetooth mouse, I can work from anywhere in my studio. Setting at the drums everything is pretty handy. BUT when I’m set up in other areas of the room with a lot of percussion gear it’s nice to see what’s going on and to be able to click & drag as needed. Sometimes I even have other players in to track with me. I just have one working room so the other musicians have to plug in direct and use closed in-ear monitors to play along while I’m playing drums. Although I have put a guitar amp in the cellar adjacent to my basement studio and the sound was very isolated. Quite often we work on songs a piece at a time. It all depends on what’s needed for the song, and how the client wants to work. In the end, it’s about getting the music to feel great. There are rules to recording… but we break them sometimes too. CONTACT ME for DRUM & PERCUSSION tracks… OR for a FULL production project. – CONTACT INFO.   — OR at Facebook. —  FB link

Carl and "his better half," Leann.

Carl and “his better half,” Leann.

AND… then there’s songwriting, writing articles, and teaching. Yes, I do like all of those endeavors too. Leann and I set aside time to work on new material for her new project, for worship at The Well of Nashville, and for other people. This has always been a part of our lives. Now, with being home more, I actually have time to be more proactive about that creative part of my life. Stay tuned, you should be seeing a NEW Leann project by spring.
*A sneak preview*

If you want to see what’s happening in ministry world, you can watch us “LIVE” every Tuesday @ 7pm CST on our web broadcast, via “Ustream.” We have been pastoring “The Well of Nashville” for several years now. We lead worship, share, pray, and encourage others to dive in deep with us to see what the Lord has in store. Jesus is always pouring out something fresh. *See what’s happening*

Thanks for all your prayers & support through the years and during this season of change. I feel challenged and stretched. It takes a big leap of faith to “step out of the boat.”

Blessings,
Carl

The Worship Drum Book — Available NOW! — With DVD clips!

The Worship Drum Book is finally released! YEA! After months of thinking; writing; editing; re-editing… AND editing again, it is here. Actually it’s been out for a few months. I’ve just been too busy to update my website and talk about it. Thank you all for your prayers, support, & encouragement during this process. This was one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever undertaken.

I’ve studied and taught drum & percussion lessons for years. More recently I’ve been doing seminars & masterclasses, and less private teaching… although I’m starting to do that again too. *You can contact me at this site. – Contact Info.  I love to teach and to mentor. This book will definitely be part of the required reading for all of my students. 🙂

There are tons of great books and videos on the subject of drumming, so I know I didn’t really want to spend time covering a lot of the material that is already available. There is some technical information in this book: exercises to work through; patterns to learn; there’s even a DVD of me demonstrating some of the concepts in the book… But really the focus became more about what happens in the world of modern worship. Dealing with bad acoustic environments; learning how to serve better; and embracing your divine calling as a musician became bigger issues than the mechanics of drumming.

I pray this book is inspiring to, not only drummers, but all musicians who are trying figure out why God has called them into the world of modern worship. It is available in your local bookstore and on line. ** Get it here!

*MY FIRST REVIEW* — “The Worship Drum Book” meets the needs of not only drummers interested in playing contemporary Christian music in the church, but it also has a wealth of information for any drummer wishing to play better. … The chapters addressing the choice of drums, cymbals, tuning drums, getting a great sound from the kit, & using either grip are valuable to all drummers…” – Dr. Thomas Romine 

Adapt Or Die!

"Just stick to it."

“Just stick to it.”

I can still remember my first week in Nashville over 20 years ago. The music community is very friendly here… at least to me. Drummers seem to be a tribe that usual hang together pretty well. A local hero of mine, Mark Hammond, allowed me to go out on a session with him. He was really rockin’ the drums and leading a full band & orchestra through it’s paces. Mark allowed me to hang out; ask questions; and was very open about what a drummer is expected to do in this town… and in the world of pro-session drumming in general. We talked gear; studios; producers; etc. BUT one thing really stuck with me that day…

In the drum booth of that studio was a wall for the drummers to leave comments; tack on notes; draw pictures; write graffiti… just a cool community bulletin board. There, in big red letters was the phrase – “ADAPT OR DIE.” — I’ve never forgotten that. Anytime I feel tired of learning something new, or being open to ideas that are different than mine, those big red letters pop into my head. “ADAPT OR DIE.”  If you want to keep working you have to serve the producer, artist, music, and so on. Being a musical prima donna will not do well in any working situation… and really this attitude will not work well in any job… or any life situation for that matter.

I’m not saying that I always do this perfectly. But I have attempted to keep an open mind in my musical & life journey. Always learning, always being open to new ideas – or ways of doing things. For instance on a recent session for Paul Baloche’s new Christmas project, he mentioned he wanted an old Ringo-vibe. So I put towels on the drums & tuned differently, and even used tape on my cymbals to get an “old school” sort of sound.

Towels on the drums - goin' old school.

Towels on drums / tape on cymbals. Thuddy & dry.!

On most of the other songs I let the drums ring openly; adjusted tuning according to the key of songs; and used several different snare drums. I never look at the drums as having only one sound. They are tools to be used to serve the music. So I’m always listening to how the drums work with everything else that’s going on around me.

Ultimately, I’ll make sure the artist &/or producer is happy with the result. That, in the end is all that matters. Some say that you have to be “true to yourself.” I believe that you find your true self in serving people and discovering what makes everything work together. It is really a joy to see all of the pieces come together and everyone is happy. Yes, sometimes it can be very challenging; yes, sometimes you have to let go of what you thought was the most amazing idea… but, in the end, that won’t matter. To have longevity in your work you have to learn to adapt… Just “stick to it,” stay humble, and keep embracing the challenges. “Adapt or Die.”

Drums wide open / chain on cymbal for sizzle*

Drums wide open / chain on cymbal for sizzle*

Keep The Water Coming!

A HOT Hyderabad Sound Check  - Carl

A HOT Hyderabad Sound Check – Carl

Many times I have to remind myself to drink more fluids when playing. Being a drummer is a little like being an athlete. You put out a lot of energy and moisture… It doesn’t take long to literally run out of juice! … and it feels like that too. When I’m playing & start to feel run down, I’ll reach for the water bottles. In a few minutes my energy feels solid again.

While on the recent tour with Don Moen, Paul Baloche, & Lenny LeBlance we played mostly in outdoor venues. The stages were uncovered and I really had to take in a lot of water to stay, not only strong, but healthy. It can be dangerous in the heat. In Dubai & India most sound checks were in the afternoon with direct sunlight.

As a habit I always keep a couple of bottles of water by my drum throne. And if someone comes around to offer me more, I’ll take it… and add them to my collection. It’s amazing how fast I can drink those 8 oz. bottles when we’re working hard. Besides the water I may have a little juice or a power drink, but they are really not good for you… Go with water as your main thing. OK… got to go. I gotta grab another bottle of H2O before we get started. *Here’s more encouragement for taking care of yourself.* Blessings, Carl

please install flash

Doing Whatever It Takes

Drum kit in a suitcase - Roland SPD-20 + kick trigger pedal

Drum kit in a suitcase – Roland SPD-20 + kick trigger pedal

Sometimes when touring, or on sessions, or… well… for anything that life throws at you… you have to do whatever it takes to get the job done. On a recent tour to Havana, Cuba we were not really sure what equipment would be available. Paul Wilbur said to bring some percussion items… whatever I could get in a suitcase. So I took some shakers, a tambourine, and my Roland SPD-20 with a DW kick trigger pedal. Good thing… there was no drum kit found when we arrived. I was really prepared to just play shakers, tap the tambourine with my foot, and play a box or guitar-case with brushes if I had to… We we’re not really sure we would have a PA or even power… BUT, we did have a small PA, so we were able to get everything hooked up.

It’s not always this extreme… Sometimes it’s just a kit that’s not on the rider, but still a great set of drums. There are times when it is even a bad kit, that hasn’t been maintained, but even that is work-able… I usually carry drumheads and spare parts with me. But Cuba was a new adventure for sure. Good thing we thought of coming prepared for anything. And so it is with these kinds of tours… and as I’ve said, with all that life can dish out. You just have to be as ready for anything as you can… and then still try to think creatively when you’re in a tough spot. A little bit of boy scout, a little bit of MacGyver, and lots of favor from the Lord, and you can do anything. Be grateful when everything is working well & going your way, but always be thinking of how to keep life & the gig on track when circumstances are pushing against you. “You can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens you.” – Philippians 4:13 –  Blessings on your next adventure. Peace, Carl

please install flash

Cuba, The Well, Sessions, Teaching – The Strange Life of Carl

Carl in Italy

Carl in Italy

Even from this view of my life I would say it is strange… or maybe unusual is a better word. When people look at all the different things I do they shake their heads and say how does that really work. LOL… I laugh now thinking the very same thing. I don’t know either.

I’ve lived in Nashville for 20 years and have worked in the recording studios around town, as well as my home studio, with various artists and producers. Yes, mostly Christian or worship projects, but I do get to work on some country, pop, jazz, commercial rock, or who knows what?….  Anyway, recording has not been my primary focus like some of my peers that stay “in town” most of the time. I also like some traveling… touring with Paul Baloche, Paul Wilbur, my wife – Leann, Don Moen, and others when the call comes. Doing live concerts and seminar events seem to be part of my calling too.

I believe the Lord is my manager and ordains my steps. So all of these paths, or forks in the road, are part of His journey for me. Because of that I’m also speaking, teaching, and leading worship with Leann at our gathering in town called The Well of Nashville. This is a unique meeting for the sole (or soul) purpose of waiting on the Lord… we worship, pray, and read from the Word as the Lord leads. Our motto is – “No agendas, just Jesus.”  You can follow us at Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Well-of-Nashville/141137092568947?fref=ts  or the website –  http://thewellofnashville.com/

I’ve prayed many times about dropping out of one of these areas of my life… you know, thinking, “I just need to focus on one thing.” Well… I never seem to get a “peace” in my spirit about that. It seems like the Lord just keeps saying, “Relax, and let Me be the navigator of your ship.” And so… I go with the flow… Taking a turn down whatever stream or road the Lord opens for me. It’s a bit challenging because I have to prepare myself for so many different tasks. — I practice drum & percussion ideas… work in my studio to try to keep up with the latest recording techniques. (*an ever changing world for sure)…  work on new class or seminar ideas, or at least update what I do. I believe in “on going education.”  I’m also trying to be faithful to my study of the bible and other spiritual growth materials so I can teach and speak to people at The Well and other ministry events I do. — Anyway… that’s a brief glimpse of the world that is Carl Albrecht. Strange indeed.

My kit in a suitcase - Roland SPD-20 - DW kick trigger pedal - tambourine on floor

My kit in a suitcase – Roland SPD-20 – DW kick trigger pedal – tambourine on floor

So… coming up in the next few weeks — I’ve just returned from my trip to Cuba with the Paul Wilbur team – you can see more details at his web, even give to his ministry if you’d like- http://wilburministries.com;  ; I’m working on some home studio projects – Yes, you can contact me if you’d like me to work with you too – http://carlalbrecht.com/contact/;  I’m also working on this website (*that’s how you get to see this – I do this myself. With the help of some clever friends too./ Actually they built the site… I just maintain it now.) Working on the new “The Well of Nashville” website too; Leann and I also take this ministry on the road… if you’d like a night of worship or team training you can contact us. There’s more detailed info at Leann’s web – http://leannalbrecht.com/2011/09/team-training/… ; I’m also doing some songwriting sessions… More seminar events, and tours being booked even now for the future. Blah, blah, blah…  OK… so I”m not bragging here… just responding to some of your questions about how I do this. LOL… 🙂   I don’t know, I’m just hanging on for the ride. Jesus is my manager!

I hope to see you somewhere out there in the future… Contact me if you want a drummer or percussionist for your event or project, or a producer for a record, a special seminar training event, or even a private lesson live or via SKYPE….  Yea, I know, my life is quite the smorgasbord. … OK, got to go now… there’s a turn coming up in the river here, and I have to see which way the Captain wants me to steer this ship.  Blessings to you on your journeys too, Carl  — **Enjoy this clip from an evening at The Well of Nashville… Yes, that’s me on guitar ( I do that too.) … but I felt inspired during this moment to play it as a percussion instrument. We often flow into spontaneous songs at these meetings… they sometimes break-out after a scripture reading, or prayer, or after a song we’ve sung… we just go with it!

Ephesians 5: 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

please install flash

Drum Tuning And Miking Techniques

After posting the “Basic Basic Rudiments” some of you asked about drum tuning and sound issues as well. While a drummer continues to work on their chops (skill), you should also work on your production (sound) skills too. Good drum tuning and sound is really an art just like playing. Getting your kit to sound good in each setting is so important. You can use the last post about the “Basic Basics” as I’ve called them as a launching point into developing control of sticking patterns. In my first DVD “The Beginning Drummer” I apply these ideas to the kit and also share extensively about drum tuning. It’s an older video so if you see it, you’ll see a guy with hair teaching… YES, that’s me. For a little more detail into proper miking and mixing concepts my 4th DVD dives into that much deeper (Drum Miking Made Easy). We still kept the approach pretty simple. So you don’t have to be an extensively trained engineer to get the idea. These videos were done to help drummers have a starting point into good tuning and sound techniques; along with basics of good performance training. I hope you find them helpful. Go to the store

Here’s a little extra video shoot of me talking about kick drum miking in my studio –

please install flash

Nights Of Worship At Bootcamp Events

Leann leading at CMS

Leann leading at CMS

Sometimes Leann & team will do an evening of worship before the day of training we’ve been calling Worship Team Bootcamps. Depending on a churches vision & budget for an event we will plan a weekend according to their request. Sometimes it’s just a one day training event… or we can do a night of worship before that day… OR we can even schedule the whole weekend with a night of worship, a Saturday training day, and then Leann & team will stay do worship on Sunday morning. We can bring the whole band or if necessary scale it down to just Leann, myself, and our keyboard player. The idea is to adapt to the needs of the church calling for a special event. Here’s a “Ustream” link to the Friday night worship we recently did at the Grace Center Bootcamp. It’s only a “board mix”, but you’ll get the idea… we kept in the greetings, worship, & teaching so you can check out the whole flow of the evening.  You can get more details about these special weekends at Leann’s web site.  http://leannalbrecht.com/2012/09/worship-boot-camp-night-of-worship/