Playing Keys with CCM Artist Lindsay McCaul, Part 1

As many of you know that are Facebook friends with me, I had the honor of hitting the road with CCM artist Lindsay McCaul at the beginning of December. Lindsay is a talented singer songwriter who’s cracked the contemporary christian music top 40 charts with both of her albums, including hit songs “Empty Handed”, “Take My Hand”, and “One More Step”. Here’s how I prepped for the west coast string of shows I played with her: 

 

The Call

 

I got the call about a week before Thanksgiving. Mark, Lindsay’s husband and manager, had picked up my name from a member of the Meredith Andrews band. Meredith’s tour manager had said I did a great job when I’d gone with them to Florida.  

 

Mark was wondering if I was free for a short run of west coast shows right after Thanksgiving? Lindsay had been hired to play an acoustic set, and she needed a keyboardist to accompany her on some of her more piano heavy songs. I checked the calendar, and after some seriously tricky rearranging of schedules, I was able to be free for the dates. I called Mark back and accepted. 

 All the tools of the trade for working up songs: Spotify for audio, M-Audio keyboard for working out the details, Nashville Numbers charts on an iPad, and my handwritten one-sheet for onstage.

All the tools of the trade for working up songs: Spotify for audio, M-Audio keyboard for working out the details, Nashville Numbers charts on an iPad, and my handwritten one-sheet for onstage.

 

Prepping For the Gig

 

The next day I fired up Spotify and started listening to Lindsay’s music. Lindsay sounds like a cross between Kari Jobe and Sara Barreilles, and I immediately realized that most of her tunes were going to be piano heavy. Lindsay’s tour manager sent over MP3s of her set, and I created Nashville Numbers charts for all the songs. We were going to be working on a short deadline, since we’d be flying to California just two days after Thanksgiving. 

 

Later that week I drove about 45 minutes south of Nashville to Franklin, TN, so Lindsay and I could practice together. Lindsay and Mark live in a beautiful 1990’s era two story on the edge of town. Lindsay met me at the door, and we came into a large living room with a beautiful grand piano in one corner. We spent about 4 hours running over the set, and chatted about our spouses, moving (we both just bought houses), and the tour. Lindsay and I immediately clicked musically, and the practice went smoothly. 

 

When I got home I prepped my keyboard rig. I’d be using the worship center’s keyboard, but I would only be using it as a midi controller for my laptop and MainStage. Last month I’d bought Pianoteq, a piano modeling VST plugin, and I’d been stress testing it for several weeks. This tour would be the inaugural run with it, running live on my trusty MacBook Pro, and out through a MOTU MicroBook II.  

 Sitting in the airport, waiting to board a flight. 

Sitting in the airport, waiting to board a flight. 


I’ll be posting the story of the show on Saturday, so be sure to check back then!