JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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For my last session of 2010, I credit Keith Richards, Jennifer Moss, Deborah Burkman, Yuri Danilov, Gayl Link, Catherine, Amelia and Avalon.

On this first day of 2011, I’m thinking a lot about 2010, and in an odd way I think the whole past year was summarized in one, swift hour on December 29, 2010, which was the final time I entered Hyde Street Studio C for the year.

The original purpose of the session was for Jaime to mix two of the final three songs for the album, so I wasn’t even going to attend, but at the last minute, I decided to use a small portion of the session to try some harmony ideas on one of the songs Jaime was going to mix. Josh Fix had layered up some beautiful backing vocals for a song called Happiness, but I wanted to add to his melodies a little bit, plus roughen things up a touch. One of my favorite aspects of the Rolling Stones up until Exile was Keith Richard’s harmony singing. His high, reedy voice and imprecise delivery coupled with near perfect pitch absolutely makes songs like Sweet Virginia, Honky Tonk Women, Torn and Frayed and many, many others. Well, I lack the perfect pitch thing, but high and reedy I can do, so I had Jaime set up a mic for me and I belted my parts to the very, very best of my ability. I came close enough to being on key that Jaime could Autotune me a touch and all sounded good.

So that’s how Keith Richards factored into the session, but what about all the other people I mention in the title? Well, Jennifer Moss was my acupuntcurist for several months after my accident, and my sessions with her yielded some of my only comfortable moments in those early, post-injury days. She also got me to thinking about meditation, which I now do and I am convinced helps me. Deborah Burkman is the woman who patiently taught my stumbling, prone-to-vomiting self yoga for over a year, starting several months after my brain injury. Hard as it was, yoga with Deborah helped me with movement and mood. (She also introduced me to Larkin Gayl, who sings Here Comes The Weather, on my album. More on this in a later post.) Yuri Danilov is the neuroscientist who worked on my brain for three summers in a row out in Madison, Wisconsin, starting in 2007. His ideas and guidance helped me to improve much more rapidly than I would have otherwise, of that I am positive. Gayl Link runs the San Francisco Institute for Hyperbaric Medicine, where I underwent two lengthy sessions of treatments (one for two months, and one for one month), after which my twitchiness subsided and, according to many people, helped me to give off an aura of better health. Catherine, of course, is my wife and has been the greatest help of all to me since my accident (and before, although I may not have appreciated it). And Amelia and Avalon are my twin girls, who have profoundly altered my sense of purpose in life, for the better.

And so, as I entered Hyde Street, all these people were with me in spirit -- the rocker, the healers and the family -- and it is because of them I was able to get through my session in less than hour (had to get back home to the kids!), without getting sick and ruining the rest of my day. Every other time in the past that I have sung with any gusto at Hyde Street (or even at home) I have paid the price of not feeling well for whatever remained of the day and often gotten a migraine. Sometimes, a little singing would put me out for two or three days. But not on the 29th of 2010. Finally, all my efforts and the efforts of those who have helped and inspired me paid off.

Thank you to all of these people -- and many others -- for it is because of you that I am entering 2011 with renewed hope. Hope that I will be able to be a good parent and husband. Hope that I will continue to create music I’m proud of. Hope that I will finally return to full-time work. And hope that I might just recover fully.