Quick background: A (now-former) friend recorded two of his own albums with a lot of skill. The second one he did in the studio that he set up in my house, on my dime and with my gear (mics, drums, plug-ins, even the cowbell)--on the promise that he'd "get to" my music "right after" he'd finished his. I was glad to help, and (here's the dumb part) I believed him. Four+ years later, I finally had enough of being back-burnered. Especially when last week he suddenly found room in his "super-busy" schedule to record himself again, with my equipment, and left a good chunk of it unattended overnight in an unlocked place that's right beside my house--and prone to prowlers, as I'd told him--despite promises not to do exactly that, because setting up the mics just right had taken him so long. (Luckily, he'd left a light on in there, so when I went over to turn it off, I saw and fetched home my stuff.) So as I try to turn being fed up into being productive, here are my options as I see 'em. I can do the guitar, bass, piano, and organ parts myself. I also have the cello, fiddle, and French horn players I'll need available. There's a very talented professional drummer (who drummed on my former friend's stuff) I can probably hire. No mandolin player is on hand, but I might be able to track one down, or learn it myself (I do own one). So that's all to the good, home-recording-wise. BUT I've got a (very) middle-aged-person's Teflon tundra where braincells should be when it comes to using even relatively simple programs such as Logic. Seriously--it takes me weeks what it takes most people to learn in 10 minutes. My mind wanders like a scorched butterfly even when the reward of concentrating is satisfying music. So that's a big bad for home-recording. I can see myself accidentally dialing in the Bay City Rollers' lint just where I thought I had shaken Percy Sledge's hand. Another good, though, is that I know exactly what all my songs should sound like when finished. If I could learn Logic, etc., it would just be a matter of doing the right clicks and dials to get what I want. And since my sound is more Americana than spacey or experimental, all those sounds and settings are already there, in the live playing and the hard- and software I have to capture/create it. So do I hire a producer/engineer to come over to my place, familiarize himself with the gear and what I want, and we go from there? If so, how so? I don't want another phony-promise experience, or someone who knows out-of-state pawn shops too well. Or do I scoop out some of my kids' spry brain cells and lay off snorting "Live PD" re-runs and force myself to learn Logic, and be my own producer and engineer? My most complex/textured song is still relatively simple: a nicely spacious Lucinda Williams sound, or a Dylan's "Desire" sound + a U2ish flourish/outro; a rockabilly song here and a four-piece hard-rock one there, etc. So would it be possible for an e-handicapped newbie to achieve this? OR do I go to the recording studio that's a few towns away, one that's used and recommended by the area's better musicians, and put it all in their hands, having first sent them each song's demo so they can get their drummer(s) on drum-requiring songs, and us building from there? In both cases, I'd have to co-ordinate getting the other musicians rehearsed and available, as I don't want to go the all-plug-ins route, which would make home recording a lot easier and a LOT less expensive. So is doing it at home the best route, or is that just setting myself up for frustrations that much-pricier professional producing would avoid? Home w/ producer, home all on me, what? Which brings us to costs. How much would someone producing 12 songs in someone's home cost me, versus the same if I were to use a professional studio? And the drummer. What's a fair wage to offer a professional drummer to drive from about 175 miles away (I can put him up in my house or a hotel) and lay down drum tracks for, say, 8 songs? I can send him the demos first, and he's a quick study. And what kind of time are we talking here, for even a quick-study, professional drummer? I like really sharp and slightly reverbed, quick, and expressive drumming, ala Howie Wyeth's on Dylan's "Desire," Charlie Watts, Kenny Aronoff, etc. Stuff that sounds really simple but takes a lot of precise skill. Is that particularly time-consuming to get and record just right, or is that just too variable to say? Thanks for your feedback! It feels better, disappointment-processing-wise, just to lay all this out.