Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Dec 8th 2009 5:15PM by Steve Baltin
"I would think of somebody and I'd track down their number and see if they want to do it. Most people said yes," Schmit tells Spinner. "Like on 'One More Mile,' I listen to Keb' Mo' records all the time. I found his number, called him up and said, 'I'd love to have you on my record. Are you at all interested?' In a few days, he was up at my studio."
Schmit let the songs dictate who would be the perfect guest, like on 'Parachute.' "I could've been in denial about it being a little CSN-ish," he says. "But rather than pretending it wasn't, after I wrote the chorus I went, 'I gotta call Graham, he's the high part on this. It's so obvious.'"
Even if the guests weren't obvious, Schmit went for it anyway, which meant turning Kid Rock and Dwight Yoakam into background singers. "I needed some really different-sounding voices on 'Downtime,'" he says. "I needed some standout voices and that's when I called my friends Dwight Yoakam and Kid Rock and they both agreed to do it.'
While both lent their talents, they needed some reassuring before consenting. "They both were a little bit leery of trying to be background singers or harmony singers because they both at different times said, 'I'm not a background singer,'" Schmit recalls. "I worked with them, it's true, they weren't background singers or harmony singers like Graham. But they both stepped up to the plate and let me coach them into exactly what I wanted it and it came out great."
As Schmit made it a point to work with people live and in the flesh, both Yoakam and Rock came to his studio. "I didn't do any file-sharing through the ethers," he says. That meant he had to give up on some collaborations he really wanted, including Grammy queen Alison Krauss. "I've always loved her voice, like most people do," he says. "She wanted to do it. It was just a matter of she was doing the Robert Plant thing, and when she had a little window I was out on the road with the Eagles. It just didn't work out, so maybe on the next one."
Schmit is looking ahead already and hoping to play more dates. "I hadn't really found my groove yet," he says of his earlier solo work. "For some reason it's taken me this long, but I finally did and I'm really enjoying it. In fact, I've recently done a handful of shows on my own, Timothy shows, and it's been really wonderful."