Archive for April, 2023

When we moved to Louisville from Nashville I went from a larger space to a smaller setup. Basically I now have a control room shared with a small isolation booth for vocals, acoustic instruments, etc. and a second room next door for tracking drums, and other loud instruments. There are also several small rooms and closets nearby where amplifiers can be isolated when groups want to track live. The setup is small, but still large enough to do live work if needed. The floor is on a slab, and the windows are treated with “Indows” that improve room isolation a lot.

The studio is in a walkout basement in our home that overlooks Beargrass Creek. Access to the studio is via stone steps that run from the driveway alongside the house to a patio where musicians can gather or just hang out when not recording. The patio has a lovely view of the Creek

The door from the patio leads into a mi-size room where furniture can be easily moved around to set up drums, or other louder instruments for tracking. The door at the end of this room leads directly into the control room. The screen can be used as needed to see others in the control room and vice versa.

Here is a view of the control room / isolation booth taken from the large window on the creek side of the room. You can see that a large closet has been converted into a small iso-booth for vocals, etc.

When isolation is needed, or corners need to be taken out of the recording, I now use a lot of these moveable Auralex gobos. They are amazing and work for just about every application possible.

These can be set up around or in the isolation booth if more or less isolation is needed, depending on the voice or instrument and the frequencies you want to enhance or squash.

From the isolation booth toward the window, here is the view, and the scene out the window. A great place to work on music!

All in all, it’s a great place to hang out and record music! I’ve settled in now and the vibe and the sounds are absolutely first rate.

An interesting story here. The Rev (John Wiley Nelson) is a singer songwriter from Provincetown, MA, who also spends about half the year living in Portland, OR. He is in his 80s and suffered a serious bout of throat cancer two years ago. During his treatments he wrote an album’s worth of material, and entitled the album his “Swan Song,” thinking it might be his last CD. He recorded the vocal tracks during his recovery, and is now on the mend, doing very well indeed! So, perhaps this CD is not his “Swan Song?” We will see. 

The album is fairly stripped down production-wise, mostly acoustic instruments in a folk format. The guitar work was done by guitar genius Kenny Smith. Stuart Duncan recorded the fiddle tracks, and I was delighted to get Chip Bush, Sam Bush’s cousin, who lives near Louisville, to play the mandolin tracks. Randy Kohrs added magical, lyrical dobro tracks. I played bass and added lead guitar on one song, and electric piano on one. All in all, the CD has a lovely feel and is worth a good listen!

Tony Winters, a prominent artist, and Helen Mitsios, a well-known poet and publisher of international poetry, live in New York City. They co-wrote a song entitled Fool for Love, using a country music idiom to express the emotions accompanying a tragic relationship. Tony put down the rhythm and lead electric guitar tracks, I added a low electric guitar track and organ, and Andy Hull added drums (from Nashville). My daughter, Leslie Rodriguez dropped by the studio and recorded the vocals. I added a bass track. We had a great couple of days in the studio tracking and mixing. Here’s a link to the song, Fool For Love.

Tony enjoyed the process so much that he decided to write another song. He returned to the studio a couple of weeks ago on his own with a new song entitled Dragons and Swords. This song has a fantasy feel, in the vein of the Moody Blues, and he wanted some Mellotron in a couple of places on the song, so I obliged him with that. Not my usual cup of tea, but it was fun to invent that element for this song. I also added bass. Andy Hull again played drums. Tony played all the other instruments: rhythm guitar, Tacoma “A guitar” (a small guitar that tunes to an A, and sounds a little like a lute). He also played the very original, signature electric guitar hooks throughout the song. Tony also sang this one, and really did a great job. Take a listen here to Dragons and Swords.