Producer's Note


I’ve always considered the “Producer’s Note” for a CD, much like the “Director’s Note” in a play program, to be a bit silly. It usually consists of the person telling we the audience why what we’re about to experience is “so amazing,” and why the performers were “such a joy to work with,” and how “from the first time I saw Romeo and Juliet it spoke to me in such a profound way I knew someday I had to bring it to life myself yada yada yada.” Just once I’d love to read something like, “This play's wonderful and I had very little to do with it,” or, better yet, “This thing is a train wreck and it’s all because of sorry.” That person would become my new favorite human in the world.

Hera and ZeusThat’s why instead of me telling you that Myths of Ancient Greece is so amazing (which it is), or that all the talented artists on the CD were such a joy to work with (which they were), or that from the first time I heard Helen Slater I knew I wanted to producer her (which I did), I’d instead like to take this “Producer's Note” to pull back the curtain and show you exactly what making this record looked like – really looked like.

First, let me say this; it’s something you probably already know but I’m going to tell you again anyway; it’s about how records are made today. Fact: in 2013, a record producer has about a thousand times more high-tech wizardry at his disposal than NASA did when they sent Apollo 11 to the moon. Given enough time, money and imagination, a clever producer (or even a not so clever one) can make a well-trained chimp sound like America’s next pop star – no offense to the chimp. But every now and then; once in a blue moon; when stars line up perfectly and all his good-works on earth are looked upon with favor, a record producer gets an artist like Helen Slater.

Here’s what I want you to know that Helen won’t tell you. What she did on this record is remarkable and all but unheard of in this day and age. Every beat of music on this CD was recorded live in Nashville. And when I say, “live,” I mean completely “live.” Here’s the picture: in the big room in the center of the recording studio sat Paul behind a drum kit; to his right was Dave on bass; in an isolation booth just off to his right was Billy on acoustic guitar; beside him in another iso booth was Jim on woodwinds; across the room was Austin and John on cello and violin and in the big isolation both between them all was Helen sitting at a grand piano, a mic two-inches from her mouth, singing and playing each of these songs down from with all these fine musicians accompanying her. There was no vocal overdubbing, no piano overdubbing, nothing “flown in.” What you are hearing is a true live performance. I know, it’s even hard for me to believe and I was there! It was magnificent to watch.

In the interest of full disclosure, we recorded the narration separately in LA. But Helen’s performance on that was even spontaneous. I’m not sure we did more than one or two takes on any of the myths. For me, Helen’s most remarkable acting performance was on the myth, “Perseus and Medusa.” She did that in one take people! Holy Webster’s Dictionary! I don’t think I’ve said that many words in my life much less in five minutes.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. This Phil Swann character is the record producer and, of course, he's only going to say glowing things about this CD. Point taken. Look, all I can tell you is that I’ve been doing this longer than Carters’ been making little pills and I can say with complete honesty that Helen Slater is an artist of immense talent that rarely comes around. And if you don't believe me, just take a listen for yourself.

It was an honor to have played a small part in the creation of this CD. I hope you enjoy listening to Myths of Ancient Greece as much as we had making it. I believe it to be a true work of art...and I had very little to do with it.


Phil Swann