Pet Rock

Monty Harper

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What do your pets long to do in the middle of the night when the moon shines blue? Crank out some old-school rock n roll, of course!

This recording owes its awesomeness to an unlikely collection of talented musicians who never set foot in the same room together.

The story begins with a surprise visit from fellow children's artist, Mr. Billy, a rock guitar virtuoso. When he came to Oklahoma this past August and offered to spend some time recording, I felt like a kid in a candy shop, but with only one quarter, because we only had time for one song!

I didn't have to think hard about which song to tackle. I'd had this song in mind for him for years. "Pet Rock" was inspired by my neighbor's dogs keeping me up at night - I imagined they thought they were performing rock n roll music. The song has a raucous kind of an Elvis-y vibe and I knew Mr. Billy was the perfect person to help me do it up right.

Next I brought Mr. Billy's tracks along on a client session at Bell Labs in Norman, hoping we'd find a bit of extra time. Sure enough Trent Bell, the engineer there, was able to squeeze in a session with drummer Nathan Harwell. They synced right up with Mr. Billy’s guitars to give the song a rock solid beat.

I told Billy about the drum session and somehow finagled him into adding a bass track for me from his home studio in Appleton, Wisconsin. Billy used his U-bass - an electric bass ukulele, if you can wrap your brain around that - which sounds a bit like an upright. He said it was the best bass performance he’d ever recorded. No doubt! It’s playful and confident, perfect for the tune!

Oklahoma visual artist Julie Plant provided all the whimsical figures you see in the video. Her dog playing the saxophone made me realize that I really needed a sax part to round out the arrangement. So I turned last minute to my friend Chris Wiser, AKA funky keyboardist “Boom” of the Sugar Free Allstars. I happen to know Chris is also a teacher and player of many reed instruments. His sax parts put the final sizzling touch to the mix.

Speaking of which, for mixing and mastering I called upon children’s music producer James Coffey of Blue Vision Music. It’s great to get a fresh pair of ears in for the final phase of a project, especially one with Jim’s prodigious experience and know-how. Jim's final mix rocks! I think you’re gonna dig it!

Many thanks to my Patreon patrons at - your support makes new recordings possible!

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