Last week, country singer Johnny Reid‘s new album, A Place Called Love, was released in Canada, and went platinum in a single day. Arranger and multi-instrumentalist Jim Hoke – shown in the photo above playing his sax – wrote the horn arrangements for the album, which was recorded in Nashville earlier this year, and of course he used Sibelius to do the job.
I asked Jim how he got involved in the project. “I’d been hired before by Johnny’s producer, Brent Maher, to play various instruments on projects by Johnny and others,” he told me. “Besides saxes, I’m a top-notch harmonica player, among other instruments.”
Writing arrangements for this kind of project can be challenging, with changes happening right up to the last minute. “The usual M.O. with arranging gigs is that I’m given demos of the songs, or early work tapes, which I use as reference to write the horn or string arrangement,” Jim said. “Many times they’ll tell me, ‘We’re doing the song exactly this way,’ but then, the day before we go into the studio to cut the horns, they tell me they’ve changed the key or added a verse.”
Fortunately, when you’re working in Sibelius, last-minute changes pose no major problem. ”Changing the key or editing the form of the song on short notice is simple,” says Jim. “Another plus is that storing the charts for a year later when they want them for a live concert or TV show where they’re adding extra players, is easy – just stick’ em in a folder in my desktop. It beats the old file cabinet routine.”