Plastic East (Jill Caporlingua). Used with Permission.

(Plastic East by Jill Caporlingua –

I’ve just given the go-ahead for the manufacture of the CD after obtaining 7 sets of proofs from 7 separate trips to stationery outlets that have colour printing facilities. The cover will be a painting, Plastic East bu Jill Caporlingua. Whew!

I’ve discovered during the past fifteen months that I can handle a few solos and a few bass parts. I’ve even produced some of these tracks to an acceptable standard. But recently I’ve been reminded that I am no visual artist, graphic designer or mastering engineer.

Fortunately I’ve been working with some people who are, which has given the project a boost at the right time, just as the addition of lead guitar, bass, drums and sax made the music more interesting earlier in the year.

I sat in on a couple of mastering sessions with Jeff Elliott (aka ‘Fedge’) down in Parkdale, an area of Toronto I used to live in on and off about 20 years ago. One of the songs on the CD, Coast Away, was written there in 1993.

The studio was stacked high with CDs and vinyl records which have been mastered there. It was both comforting and daunting to see so many great-looking albums by fellow Toronto artists. At one stage I came across a beautiful 3-sided vinyl record.

The music was sounding good but how could I make the cover look as good as the 3-sided album? As I was writing to my artist friend Jill in New Jersey I suddenly had the idea of asking if I could use some of her work on the package.

I went to Jill’s website and immediately honed in on two images: Blue (which seemed a shoo-in for the disc itself) and Plastic East, which she later told me was the name of a band who were playing at the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, NJ, while she painted live on stage. I even played there myself in 2001 so there was another nice connection with the past.

Another friend, graphic designer Drew, had some great ideas which would never have occurred to me about how my name could look, where the album title could appear and what information should and shouldn’t be included.

The one remaining decision I’ve had to make is the format for the album. I decided against the ‘download only’ and ‘standard jewel case’ options in favour of the ‘digipak’, which is more expensive but will hopefully be a good way of showing the paintings.

Seeing as I’ve made such an effort in playing, recording and producing all these songs from long ago, the end product should at least feel nice.