My recent glimpse into how the Big Dogs make records was humbling — I'd thought of the process as guessing right more often than not on maybe a thousand variables. Imagine my consternation to find out that at the top level, it's well into the tens of thousands. But life goes on. A recent outside project enabled me to afford a coupla upgrades I set my sights on a while back. The Jacquire King course convinced me that a lot of moving up even one notch is about abandoning my throw-paint-at-the-wall approach, go into a project organized with a plan, eyes wide open, build a framework, then track, edit, mix and master without getting all lathered up. IOW, invent a new workflow with a new attitude toward audio engineering. Thus, the Three-Day Challenge. When I first started in this racket with a Tascam 4-track in the mid-'80s, I liked to finish a song in one day, then move on to the next one — I was mostly motivated by the thrill of the chase! Then when I discovered Garageband in 2008, I would be dismayed when a song took several days or even as much as a week. ... Now, in Logic Pro, it's a month. Or more! I've always felt completed projects are the benchmark of the recording art. So my new goal is to quit dragging ass and recover that process of quick decisions, less navel-gazing, avoiding dead-ends and tail-chasing, keeping the lessons of past mistakes in mind. Under the terms of the Three-Day Challenge, I'll begin tracking at the starting gun tomorrow morning, hopefully have all tracks by day's end, edit and tidy up the second day, mix the third, and come out with a finished product by the end of day three (Saturday). Can it be done? We'll see. *The key will be working at a methodical, sustained pace without getting in too big a hurry!* I wanted a tune that was butt-simple and familiar: no songwriting angst, which can really complicate things. It's a daunting enough chore as is. ... I picked Ol' Hank's "Lost Highway," but with a half-time Levon beat that swings a little. I've mapped out the framework (track setup, routing, hardware choices, instrument choices, sample sorting etc.) and built a template, ready to rumble. I'll be turning off email and the internet except for a brief midday break and, yes, swingin' the hammer like a madman! I've really felt like I'm getting lazy — it's good to test yourself every so often. So, away we go!