Consolation for the Cowgirl
This latest record from O'Hara called 'Consolation for the Cowgirl' features lap steel by Christopher Thorn of Blind Melon and backing vocals by Fran Healy of Travis and Fumie Tsuji of Fleckfumie. Jeremy Fitzkee founded O'Hara in 2005. A Philadelphia singer songwriter, Fitzkee came to Berlin following true love and fleeing the G. W. Bush era where fate landed him in a kitchen in Prenzlauer Berg with British guitarist Nick Glöckner. Sparks flew, then flames and then they were both fired. But the two clicked and soon there after two germans joined in, Sven Mülbradt and Pelle Hinrichsen, followed by Frenchman Hendrik 'Le Grille' Stiller. So what does this melting pot sound like? American. Retro-indie-with a dash twang. More as if Fitzkee pushes the country 2-steps and walzes but the band pushes back with 4 on the floor. The dichotomy is weirdly not weird. Kids dig it. So do their parents unless their parents are really old in which case maybe not so much. 'What the berliner band O'Hara does is rarely heard in Germany. The sound is distinctly American and 100% unpretentious. Passionate yet easy in every loving detail. The joy this 5 piece gets from playing together is infectious and partially responsible for their current success.' -- Loosely based on some vaguely positive press. More notes on the new record. We'd been chugging away. Amassing tracks at a respectable pace. Never mind that we'd cut parts 3, 4 or 5 times invariably to use the first take, we were producing! Until the bottom fell out. In a mutiny of sorts the fellas declared that my title 'In the Ham and Beans of my Father' didn't accurately represent the new record. What then? We were at a standstill until Sven had a rare stroke of average intelligence, 'Let's let the fans decide! We'll have a contest and our loyal followers can submit titles for the new album.' Hurray! But how to name a record that you never actually heard? We posted this description: 'This record is the toxic bi-product of a benign suburban childhood taken way too seriously. If the last record was cowboys and indians, this record is the reality of the sister who plays along because she likes the accessories; the ribbons, boots with spurs and rhinestones. She held out for a pony but only got a purple cowboy hat. This record is the consolation for the cowgirl.' Oddly no one took part in the contest. My guess is lack of prizes. Maybe there were other factors involved but speaking it out would require abandoning all delusions that the boys and I were not yet willing to shed. Some other interesting tidbits about the record. We have several special guest appearances including Fran Healy who not only sings backing on one track but engineered the session in his kick-ass home studio slash man cave. It's a quiet duet with Griller and I and it cost only one American strawberry pie which Griller ended up eating half of anyway. Fran is the singer of an outfit out of Scotland called Travis incase you didn't know. He is a warm and wonderful man not to mention a brilliant songwriter. So buy his new solo record which is undeservedly already on the discount rack. But back to OUR track... it doesn't have a name yet. We'll leave it at that. Then it was off to to our 'up state' retreat where we cut drums and basic live tracks. We told our girlfriends it was a fishing trip. During a break in the recording the band shot a low budget one take video for the song 'Body is Gone' which displays the beauty of the surroundings and gives a peek into the small cottage studio where the magic happened. You can almost smell the creativity. Thankfully that app hasn't been developed yet. At one point I had the idea of updating the page regularly and dating entries so all of you fans cold keep track of our progress and sewhat'sts current and zeitgeisty anwhat'sts should be viewed more from a historical perspective. Great, huh? Here was the first post... April 7, 2011 Last night Señor Pelle recorded maracas, Spanish hand claps and castinets. He insisted on wearing a tight black wrestling suit with a bullseye on the backside, a fake Rollie Fingers mustache and, naturally, a sombrero. Sven and I didn't quite get it but he nailed it! Whatever works, right? Muy bien Pelle! That was followed by a 3 month awkward silence and a moratorium on posts.But the time was well spent from that point on and Pelle eventually got it in the can. That is to say he finished recording his overdubs as did we all. Then we shot the whole kit and kaboodle off to my old friend Christopher Thorn (more shameless name dropping) of Blind Mellon and Awolnation, for mixing. He not only nailed the mix but also blessed us with a beautiful George Harrisonesque lap steel solo and some mandolin. I won't lie. It wasn't always glitz and glamour. Tears were shed. Tempers flared. Hours spent trying to figure out where the annoying buzz was coming from. Flies on the overheads. Geese on the acoustic track. Nick cutting the lawn to one inch when I explicitly asked for 3/4. Sometimes he just doesn't listen. But thankfully no human lives were lost in the process and in the end we triumphed! By the way, we'll call the record the record just what it is... Consolation for the Cowgirl.