In order to give them some more time to cultivate specifically country-oriented songs, we started recording a cover, “Material Girl” by Madonna. Kristen and Katie had performed this song for years and already had strong vocal parts prepared. We laid down the basic rhythm track with session drummer Timothy Java first. I recorded an acoustic guitar part and then Katie and Kristen put in their parts. Once we had the framework completed, I started to get creative on how to countrify this well-known pop song. Some pedal steel, harmonica, and blue guitar did the trick.
After “Material Girl,” we chose to work on a song of Katie’s called “You Were the One.” Katie and I took a session to collaborate on the song together. I added a few new sections and lyrics and together we crafted the first original tune for their project. After that, the girls really dug into their songwriting talents and progressively needed less help from me in order to complete their songs.
The last song we recorded, “Forever & A Day” is the title track, and I’m particularly pleased with how that one turned out. We combined the country and folk elements of Kristen’s piano playing with an anthemic attitude of U2 influenced delayed guitars.
It was a pleasure working with Hot Southern Mess and all the session musicians involved were fantastic as always. Mark Puder also contributed some drumming, I played bass, Ian Lew added electric guitar, and Joe Savage layed down the pedal steel. The resulting 5-song EP “Forever & A Day” is a great collection of mainstream country music that I know you’ll enjoy.
Produced, mixed, and recorded by Stephen Helvig
All songs arranged by Hot Southern Mess & Stephen Helvig
Assistant Engineers: Drew Schmalz and Nick Schmidt
Mastered by Greg Reierson
Vocals: Katie Doffing & Kristen Thomas
Piano: Kristen Thomas
Acoustic Guitar & Bass: Stephen Helvig
Pedal Steel: Joe Savage
Electric Guitar: Ian Lew
Drums: Timothy Java (Blue Eyed Baby, Material Girl, You Were The One) & Mark Puder (Waiting at the Door, Forever & A Day).