Monday, December 24, 2007

heard him explain

When Frank Jr. was three years old, he couldn't go to sleep at night without listening to a cassette tape of Wilford "Diabeetis" Brimley reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas." It was a read-along tape, that came with a companion pop-up book and an audible signal to turn the page. Frank Jr. unintentionally memorized the story by hearing it every night for almost a year. Two years ago I wrote about how we brought young Frank to the KROQ studios and recorded his rendition of the story. Audio production people far more skilled than me did some editing and brought in a talented keyboard player nicknamed "Iceman" to provide background music.

I have played the old tape on the air here in Knoxville for the past couple of Christmases. About ten days ago, Marc Anthony suggested that we take the tape of three-year-old Frank and mix in his current voice. My son is now in high school and has a deeper voice than me. I didn't know if it would be possible without it sounding terrible since I don't have the master tapes or separate audio tracks from the recording session. The only version I have is the final mixdown with voice, reverb and music combined onto one track. I would need to find somebody who could replicate the music track, allowing us to cross fade between the old and the new. My friend Mike Greiner was willing to do it even though his schedule was filled with his day job in the Knoxville Symphony office, his performances as a singer with the Knoxville Choral Society and his excellent piano and organ playing at All Saints Church. I put my wife's Casio keyboard in the car and met Mike at the radio station during his lunch hour. As expected, he nailed it. The next day, Frank Jr. had enough of a break in his midterm exam schedule that he could lay down the voice track.

I still needed an audio production wizard to put all the pieces together and make it sound seamless. Fortunately Gene Wooten has chosen to make his home in East Tennessee after years of working at WPLJ in New York City. He pushed an outdated version of Pro Tools to its limit as he synchronized the music and voices. He added reverb and ended up with the finished product that you can hear by clicking on the play button below. Merry Christmas Eve!

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Anonymous bean :) said...

bravo to all involved....great work you guys and merry christmas to all your readers, frank!!!

Blogger nobody said...

heard this Friday on the radio-it was beautiful and brought me to tears.
thank you for sharing it!

Anonymous Marc said...

I am usually an emotional wreck when something about my kids is brought up on the air. I was really moved to the point of tears hearing this for the first time AND IT WASN'T EVEN MY KID! Amazing job by all, and Kim and I can attest to the fact that "emotionally detached" Frank(see rainbow bridge)was teary-eyed.


Blogger Tish said...

Merry Christmas, Frank!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While Mitch and Mary K are beating each other up on Wii boxing, I thought I'd take a moment to tell you and your family Merry Christmas, wish you all a Happy and Blessed New Year, and thank you for my "fifteen minutes". The pleasure was all mine.

Anonymous Rob "Iceman" Izenberg said...

Sounds great, Frank. I remember the track but have no memory of the session itself. If you say it was me I'll believe you. I must have been hopped up on cyrstal meth nog. Happy Holidays!

Anonymous Missyb64 said...

Merry Christmas Frank! Hope your holiday was great. Ours probably qualifies as the "best ever", but we always say that! Best wishes and happiness!

Blogger Byron said...

Frank, that was awesome! My wife and I sat here and listened to it together, she said, "aw, that was so sweet!"
Hope you had a very merry Christmas!

Blogger Monica said...

I heard it on the radio the other day and I am so glad you posted it on your blog because I got to share it with my husband this way.
This made me realize how quickly my own little boys are growing up.

Blogger ajkillian said...


Your blogs are great! Thank you for sharing this story. My brother and I were talking about this yesterday at our family's Christmas gathering. (Frank Jr.'s chime sound is...well, precious. Don't tell him a listener said that!)

I hope your Christmas was merry.

All the best,


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