Excerpt from “‘Lean Into the Wind’ Review: Sacred Studio Sessions” from the Wall Street Journal
A music veteran teams up with Carmelite Sisters to create a collection of chamber folk.
By: Jim Fusilli
One November day in 2013, producer and Grammy-winning engineer Tom Weir found several unexpected visitors at his recording studio in Studio City, Calif. Representing their colleagues in the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, the visitors told Mr. Weir they wanted to make an album, one that was more contemporary sounding than their previous ones. Could he help?
Mr. Weir knew their music. In 1996, he had recorded their first album, “Flower of Carmel,” by setting up an eight-track machine in the chapel at their mother house in Alhambra, Calif. “We did it like the Beatles,” said Mr. Weir by phone last week. “One night. No overdubs.”
Some 17 years later, the sisters had something bigger in mind. They wanted Mr. Weir to put together a band for them.
“Not for the ‘wow’ factor,” said Sister Mary Scholastica, “but to let people see the sisters in a different context. When people see sisters, they expect a certain kind of music.”
Thus tasked, Mr. Weir hired A-list musicians who are associated with some of rock’s best-known artists. Josh Freese played drums for Devo, Nine Inch Nails and the Replacements. Trumpeter Steve Madaio toured with the Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder. Mr. Weir brought in three guitarists: Tim Pierce, best known for his stints with Rick Springfield and Phil Collins; Dave Darling, a Grammy-nominated producer who played with Brian Setzer; and Laurence Juber, who was a member of Paul McCartney’s Wings. More than 20 musicians worked on the sessions, including a string section, four bassists and various keyboard players.