Last fall The Hanshaw Trio started talking about recording a trio album. We’d recorded two trio pieces for my most recent solo CD, but it’s not the same as having a recording of our own.

In January we started rehearsing, going through our repertoire and choosing which pieces we might want to record, deciding which arrangements might need tweaking, and experimenting with sound equipment. Now we’re about ready to start recording.

This will be a very different project than my two solo CDs, with new methods and new challenges.

First of all, we’re recording in Craig’s home studio. He’s got a computer recording program, some device that allows us to plug four mics into four channels in that program, preamps, and of course mics and stands.

A different setup than Henry Smith’s digital tape recorders at Outback Studio in Mechanicsville VA, or Will Russell’s massive ProTools system at Electric Wilburland Studio in Newfield just south of here.

We still have some experimenting to do to find the best way to configure all this equipment; for one thing, we may just do the three instrument mics, or we might add a central “room” mic.

Another difference, and a challenge for me, is that we’ll be recording as a live ensemble. On my previous projects, I’ve recorded one track at a time; because I was the one playing most of the tracks, I couldn’t do them simultaneously. Layering tracks like this allows more control, too, which is appealing to us perfectionists.

On the other hand, recording as an ensemble means we’ll get something closer to what we get when we perform live — the shared energy and responsiveness that happens when we’re working together.

The challenge for me is to figure out how to appease my perfectionism while still striving for that live sound. I think what I need to do is practice a lot, developing strong solid parts as well as practicing improvisation, so that I’ll be less likely to make mistakes or get lost during recording. That work will improve our live show, too, so it’s a welcome challenge.