After years of work and several starts and stops, Desi & Cody are ready.
The husband-and-wife folk/rock duo of Desi Roses-Clinton and Cody Clinton are set to release their full-length album, a process that started in earnest in 2011. With support from family and friends and especially each other, they have put together the album they wanted to make on their own terms.
“No one was pushing us to put out a product,” Roses-Clinton said. “This time we were really able to take our time with it and really select songs.”
Fans can get a peek at the album with a CD and music video release show featuring a full band performance, a rare treat for fans of the duo, Saturday at Fassler Hall, 304 S. Elgin Ave.
Along with a few friends, including Nathan Price, Chad Copelin, Andrew Bones, Beau Charron, Ryan Wayne Tedder and Ryan James, the couple started to record by summer 2012 after a lengthy process of writing about 30 songs they would probably use, which had to be narrowed down to about 16. They wanted to record at their house and use an eight-track tape machine to get a sound Clinton was searching for.
But equipment malfunctions led to most of the tracks being nearly unusable.
“When we were going back to record, we noticed there was some tape speed changing and it was getting worse,” Clinton said. “The songs we had recorded last were almost unusable. We had to kind of abandon it. The songs we did have good basic drum tracks on.”
They took another route to re-record the album, working out of Church Studio for big portions of the album but recording vocals at their house. That part gave Clinton some trouble, trying to get the sound just right on the songs.
Roses-Clinton said eventually she had to tape a sign on the door some days telling him to keep out for his sanity.
“I would have to get up and open and be there at like 5 a.m., work and then come home and do whatever and do it all over again,” Roses-Clinton said. “He would be up until 3, 4, 5 in the morning and all I would hear would him say, ‘Why can’t I sing?!’”
But by 2013, the album had been mostly recorded. Around this time, the couple launched a Kickstarter campaign to get the funds needed to finish the process.
“It was a crazy time to do it because we were also planning a wedding, and we were on a West Coast tour,” Roses-Clinton said. “When they said the number, we need to raise $15,000, I thought ‘Who in their right mind is going to give us $15,000?’ ”
But they did. They were able to get the mixing and mastering just right.
“I hated everything about it until I got the vinyl,” Clinton said. “Then I heard it and it was like, ‘Oh, this is what I was going for.’”
Through this process, big losses in both of their personal lives added more struggle. Both Desi and Cody lost their fathers, which was a battle for them to adjust.
“I’ve always heard people say ‘When I lost my parents, I felt depressed and disconnected.’ Then my dad died, and I said no, now I know that,” Clinton said. “And she was saying the same thing when she lost her father. I just didn’t understand. Whenever my father passed away, I got it.”
Singing and working on the album was a good way for Roses-Clinton to work through and adjust to the loss, she said.
“It was very therapeutic,” Roses-Clinton said. “It was good. It forced me to face a lot of things.”
Clinton said he found therapy through the Woody Guthrie Center, where he led the center’s after-school programs. Starting this year, kids would come weekly to the class to learn basically how to make a band.
“It hasn’t been really until the last few months that I’ve felt like myself again,” Clinton said. “And I feel like working with the kids has been a big part of getting me back in touch with humanity. It reminded me of when I started my first band in seventh grade. It’s like that. I feel that energy. It makes me less jaded.”
Several of the students came to a special release showing for the new album earlier this week, where the duo played through the album acoustic in the Woody Guthrie Center’s theater. The kids finish their season of work with a show at Guthrie Green on Sunday. They are also getting ready to start a summer school program in the summer.
The duo is also preparing to take the album out on the road this summer. Then they are looking forward to getting back to the music and finishing more of it.
“I cannot wait until after this Saturday,” Clinton said. “Because I’m going to start writing music again.”
Watch the music video for "Skyline," filled with images from around Tulsa:
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8346