Wedding | 20 December 2011

Love meets dorkiness: Beth & Andy’s wedding record!

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Of all my dork-level obsessions, music is the first and foremost. Ever since early childhood, I have voraciously devoured every record I could get my hands on. After years of refining lists, analyzing songs, memorizing liner notes, and most importantly, making mixes, it came time for one of the most important mixtapes in a man’s life: the Wedding Mix.

As Rob Gordon tells us in High Fidelity, “the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many dos and don’ts. First of all you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.” We knew early on that we would make a mix for our wedding guests to receive on the Big Day. We would compile our favorite love songs, tunes that appeared throughout our courtship and ended up on several Valentines, birthday and anniversary mixes. A melange of old and new, featuring standards, Doo Wop (and Hair Band) ballads and indie anthems. But as always, we needed to go that extra mile. So why not design four alternate covers and record a few of the songs ourselves?

One of my favorite “art projects” from when I first started learning how to use Photoshop was re-creating the look of classic record sleeves, complete with the aging marks they’ve earned through the years, as A Christmas Present from Beth & Andy! shows. For our Wedding Mix, I though we should re-create some classic duet sleeves. Our wonderful friend and Beth’s colleague (and dare I say mentor?!) Sam Fritch offered to do a photo shoot at his studio for all of our covers, to be photoshopped later.

The first that came to my mind was Dylan’s Freewheelin’. Even though it’s not a duet record, the image was too iconic to pass up.

Beth was thrilled with her coat choice!

Using a Philadelphian winter picture (“Snow on League Street,” thanks Brian Biggs!), Beth photoshopped us right on in, added the film coloring, aging and Franklin Gothic font to reproduce the cover:

One of Beth’s favorite films is What’s Love Got To Do With It, which becomes obvious the umpteenth time one hears her quote it (“Five… Dollar… Fine.”). I knew we had an incredible cover to work with in my record collection: Workin’ Together.

For this one, Sam took what was our favorite photo of the day:

I handled the photoshopping on this one. It only needed some earth tones, a little subtle texture, aging and the ICBM SS-20 font (the closest match I could find) to recreate Ike & Tina:

Our third cover was photographed by Beth at Penn Treaty Park when we realized our ordering configuration for the CDs would be for two sets, each containing a cover on each side. It was our fourth concept, left out when we thought there would be only three covers. We’re both huge Johnny & June Carter Cash fans and wanted to use one of their more playful album sleeves:

Beth really captured the spirit of the sleeve in her re-imagining:

For our final cover, I thought it would be fun if we could do Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, with Beth playing all three sisters. I wasn’t even sure if there was an album featuring all of them on the sleeve, but sure enough we found what we were looking for:

Sam took pictures of the both of us separately, with Beth changing up her poses for the three sisters.

As I went about photoshopping this sleeve, I realized that Beth’s hair pulled up and hidden wasn’t going to cut it. Luckily, I was able to find a great higher-resolutuon picture of the Andrews Sisters to “borrow” their hair, and then got a little help from the beautiful Lauren Bacall when one didn’t work:

In the end, with the hair transplants, age filtering and Bing’s pipe addition, i think this cover stands as some of my finest Photoshop work to date:

With the album covers complete, it was time to record covers of some of our favorite love songs. We decided on six special selections:

  • The New Pornographers’ “Challengers,” a song very special to us when we started dating,
  • Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” in honor of our love of the Brill Building era, done in the style of Carole King’s recording off of Tapestry,
  • two classics, “You Belong To Me” (a song I discovered through Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters’ lovely rendition in The Jerk) and “Blue Skies” (a tune we sing out of our mutual love of White Christmas), both done with the arrangements recorded by husband-and-wife musicians Devon Sproule and Paul Curreri on their highly recommended set of Valentines Day EPs,
  • I’m On Fire,” the Bruce Springsteen scorcher, also based on a Sproule/Curreri arrangement, and
  • I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” one of Beth’s favorite Whitney Houston tunes done with a sad-boy Indie arrangement by me.

The songs were recorded over two weeks in our office in Fishtown with nothing but my MacBook Pro, GarageBand (thank you Steve Jobs) and one condenser microphone. Keeping out the sounds of the neighborhood from our very much non-soundproofed apartment was a constant struggle, as was learning a lot about recording and GarageBand as I went. Luckily, my Fender Strat and Hot Rod Deluxe amp did a lot of the heavy lifting for me.

We hope you enjoy our little Wedding Record! Check it out:

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