Musician Larry Whitt has spent his entire life writing the songs on his new album – Never Say Goodbye.
“It’s not like what people are used to. It has a real serious country vein running through it, because that’s what I was raised on” said Whitt, who is likely most-often described as an electric blues player.
“What it is, is a memory – mine,” he later added.
Never Say Goodbye includes eight songs spanning Whitt’s experiences and observations. “Some of these songs were written 40 years ago and some I wrote in the last couple of years,” he explained, citing one song in particular which had remained unfinished until recently when his wife, Karen, suggested he complete the piece.
Thinking back to when he wrote the first part of the song, Whitt smiled and recalled Carter County connections.
“I wrote the first part when I was playing in Ironton, Ohio with Southern Junction which was Tony Pence and Delbert Lore, who is Shelby (Lore)’s dad, Bobby Parsons and Donnie Bryant. We played all over here in the 80s,” he said, his right hand almost involuntarily picking an invisible guitar as the song played.
Never Say Goodbye is Whitt’s second recording in his own name. “My first was a gospel CD with R&B roots,” Whitt said, acknowledging recording technology has certainly changed since he first laid down tracks on half-inch tape.
“It was years and years ago and I loved it. I’m an analog guy and I wanted an analog feel on this album,” Whitt said, explaining he took a somewhat unusual approach to capturing the album’s eight songs. Known for his own prowess as a lead guitarist, Whitt confessed he plays only the basic acoustic guitar parts on Never Say Goodbye. Arrangements and augmentations, including guitar solos, were all provided by the mind of longtime collaborator Bobby Burnett.
“His ideas man … He just went crazy,” Whitt said, explaining the project was recorded at Hitmaker Studio with guitarist Burnett orchestrating the efforts of bassist Brent Jack, who also provided backing vocals along with Debbie Ward, Jared Ward on drums, percussion by Tom Berry, steel guitar from Dave Morrison and keyboard parts from Craig Nobles added later. Whitt wrote each of the songs, with a co-writer credit to Terry Withrow on “So Many Years.”
While the project was in no way rushed, Whitt said he made a point to keep studio time to a minimum while maximizing the “magic” of the moment.
“You want magic in the studio. You don’t want to spend any time in there. And really … the magic happens in the first take,” he said, explaining the musicians involved essentially nailed their parts every time and moved through the recording session in short order.
Whitt said he extremely satisfied with the album’s mastering, which was performed by Alan Silverman, whose list of associated artists include The Rolling Stones, AC/DC and Aerosmith. “The guy is just a master at it,” Whitt said.
Never Say Goodbye is available on CD and flash drive through Whitt directly via his Facebook page or website www.larrywhitt.com – as well as “all the main sites – Amazon, Spotify, Google Play and the rest.”
Story and Photos by TIM PRESTON
Carter County Post