While his past albums have been somewhat sparse musically, he opted for a fuller sound on his latest CD. Boerner will celebrate the release of the album – as well as his 50th birthday – by performing at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 at Kiss The Sky record store, 180 W. First St., in downtown Batavia. Joining Boerner on stage will be Patrick Moynihan on upright bass, Justin O'Connell on drums and Mary Lou O'Brien on vocals.
The following is an edited version of his conversation with Shaw Media reporter Eric Schelkopf:
Eric Schelkopf: You produced "Solid Sender" with Patrick Moynihan and recorded, mixed and mastered the CD at his Waveform studio in Batavia. What was the process like working with him?
Greg Boerner: I am not a big fan of the studio. I enjoy playing live, and I enjoy the freedom of that. The studio is a little bit of a chore to me, because I'm pretty critical of what I'm doing.
I like it when it's all done. I love listening to the results, particularly if I think I've done a really great job. Patrick was great in the studio, as far as keeping it loose and keeping it fun.
He was a great cheerleader, to keep me going and to keep me feeling good about what I was doing. And that's hard, because there are times where you can easily get down on yourself. It's nice to have someone in your corner rooting for you.
He was just as invested in this CD as I was, and that's a beautiful thing. Most engineers and producers and that kind of thing are not always as invested. How can they be?
Schelkopf: I understand that with this CD, you were trying to create more of a fuller sound.
Boerner: I've always had those ideas, but with this one in particular, I wanted to add standup bass, and I wanted to add some background vocals that I didn't really have before.
I didn't want rock drums, but I wanted somebody on brushes or something similar, kind of moving the songs along but not overtaking the songs. And then Patrick had a Fender Rhodes electric piano from the '70s era.
I love that sound, and it really fit on a couple of my tunes. We picked our moments.
I don't need a Fender Rhodes electric piano on every song. I didn't need extra guitars on every song. But some songs just seemed to beg for it, and others seemed to say: "Nope, leave me alone. This needs to be a solo piece."
So, there's a nice mix. There's about seven tunes with certain accompaniment, either full or slightly augmented, and then there's like four that really don't have anything. It's just me and the guitar.
Schelkopf: The CD does seem like a good mix of folk and blues and a little jazz, too.
Boerner: Yes, it's kind of all those things. The new catchall word is Americana. If someone asks me what my genre [is], that's what I would say.
Schelkopf: So, you will be moving to Nashville soon.
Boerner: In the middle of January, I'm moving to Nashville. And it's nothing really to do with music. I reconnected with my friend, Annie. We had always been friends, nothing more, and romance blossomed over the phone.
And she says, "I need you here in Nashville." And I said, "I'm on my way." It's as simple as that.
Schelkopf: You will have to come back for the Blues on the Fox festival in Aurora.
Boerner: My plan is to come back kind of every three to four months. I'm planning on coming back because I do have gigs here, and – let's face it – I don't know about making a living in Nashville. I don't know how that's going to go. We'll see.
I will feel the need to come back here and reconnect with fans, people who are interested in what I do, and also make a little bit of money. I think it might be a better thing, because if you are here in the Fox Valley area and you're playing every weekend, people tend to kind of take that for granted.
They don't come out to see you because they can always see me the next weekend. But if I'm gone and four months later I come back for one night, I'm hoping that maybe people will think that's a bit more of a special thing and will show up for that.
That's what I hope.
Eric Schelkopf writes about the arts and entertainment scene in Chicago at http://thetotalscene.blogspot.com. He also is an employee of Shaw Media.