recording

Blood & Water at audioGrand Analog & Digital

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A Word on the Engineer/Co-Producer:
Doug Messenger‘s audioGrand is a blast from the past – his studio is fully analog, which was a great pleasure for me, being amongst sights and sounds and even smells I remembered from my childhood when my dad ran a recording studio in the 80’s (if you listen carefully to the beginning of the track, you can hear the tape starting and Doug’s voice saying “Rolling!”). Doug himself has worked with innumerable A-listers, including-but-not-limited-to Jimmy Eat World, Beck, and Milla Jovovich (who knew??), as well as played tunes with Van Morrison back in the Boston days… The man has been everywhere and done everything, and now tends his studio contentedly, happy to take on the shoestring, crack-knuckled projects of maelstrom waifs out for blood and water in the Los Angeles desert. He’s careful and meticulous, was incredibly encouraging to me and my crew, and went out of his way to make certain I was happy with my product and had everything I needed. Thank you, Doug!

A Word on the Band/Co-Producers:
I had the distinct pleasure of bringing three great guys in on this project, who I only knew of because I chanced to catch them playing as the house band for a comedy show called Boobie Trap. I have to say, in addition to being great listeners (read: great musicians), on point and in the pocket in their delivery, totally respectful and supportive of a complete stranger’s music, flexible on budget, punctual, and masters of adapting to a largely ill-conceived plan, these three fellows were also NICE and charming, WHILE communicating their needs and keeping the flow flowing. Their exceptional individual and collective musicality aside, these boys have got a lot of depth and character, and I see where their training and style have helped it develop. I would say I got lucky, but some people wear their awakeness on their sleeves, and you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to notice. Please call them for just about anything, including but not limited to high-profile event-production, composition for film & television, and rip-roaring good fun:
More to be found at Fireleopardshow.com

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Get Lost at Katonah Studios

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Meet Steve Postell, an earlier generation mainstay of the Santa Monica songwriter scene. Enter his studio, which like so many studios in LA (including the one in which I live), is a very effectively re-purposed garage…and is nearly completely overrun with frogs.

Glass frogs, plastic frogs, metal frogs, cloth frogs, frogs that play bass, frogs that read, frogs that dance, frogs with afros…just about any kind of frog you can imagine. Somewhere way back in the annals of time a client brought a gift frog for Steve, and somehow the trend never died. Steve is, in fact, no longer accepting frogs, so when you call him to record you (and you should), please do not bring a frog. Not even as a joke.

A Word on the Engineer/Co-Producer/Accompanist/Studio:
I’m finding over time how an engineer’s energy can make or break a recording, and Steve is a master of efficiency and focus, things I readily include in the list of helpful vibes. We sat down at the beginning of the session and planned what we would do and how long we should take at it. He made a quick chart of the song as I explained what I had in mind, and what he wasn’t able to execute to his satisfaction in our session he put together on his own time, an extremely generous gesture. His intellectually-informed creative contributions, both on the dobro and in his totally worthy feedback, put me at ease and let me know I was working with someone who enjoyed the work. Steve does not engage with projects which will not live up to a certain standard, so his willingness to participate in the Singles Project with me, with just about zero precedent, was an immediate compliment, and I am honored to count him collaborator.

The Blessing Song at Jax Trax

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Jack Lee was a quiet tree of invitingness when Therese Barron and I entered the house at the very northern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. His home felt occupied, but with enough room in it for those who entered so that they didn’t feel they might knock something or someone aside by being there. A stone on the desk in the living room where we recorded read a comforting quote by the poet Tagore. Anyone who values the work of Tagore is a win in my book. Thanks to our mutual friend, Nick Thorkelson, for the introduction. 🙂

A Word on the Engineer/Co-Producer/Accompanist/Studio:
Jack Lee is a master of a comfortable silence. He was genuinely excited about the “three-hour challenge” of the Singles Project, and rose to it effectively, making excellent use of both our time by setting a schedule of what needed to happen by when — “Let’s do your part first, then add my parts until such and such a time, then comp, mix, and master.” His dobro and soulful piano parts – created on the spot – fit succinctly into the Blessing Song, unobtrusively, with a spiritual loveliness that not many have naturally in their fingers. The man is an artist and poet in many capacities, and we only scratched the surface of it by calling upon his skills as an engineer and instrumentalist. I’m glad to have him on my roster.

Not Being There at 663 Studios

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More than one of my friends have invested time, money, and pain in a tattoo that says “Be Here Now,” and through the pressures of life I figured I’d submit my version. I leave it to the listener to decide how to quell their own dissatisfactions.

A Word on the Engineer/Co-Producer/Accompanist/Studio:
It would seem there are very few people with whom Ted Wulfers has not worked in some capacity or another. Rife with creative ideas, add-ons, and ability – patient with foible, experimentation, and rejection – happy to speak honestly, encouragingly, and hospitably – these are all accurate summations of Mr Wulfers the engineer and producer. There was nothing he boasted as an accompanist that he could not execute. His upstairs studio is a sight to behold: littered with instruments, cases, cables, jerry-rigged objects about whose application you’d be forced to ask, amps of all ages, analog and digital mixing applications, and about a trillion stories on a hair trigger, 663 Studios reeks of good use and good coffee. Well worth it. Thanks a mil, Ted! Good times leading to more good times!
And thanks to Jagger, the Good Vibes Cat, as well.

Deep In the Homeland – Krueger Studios

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So back in January there was a special sort of single – the kind that is terrifying to undertake because it is so bare. The kind that leads me to the soft dry hills of Sunland, where I spent a good chunk of my childhood. The kind that even though you can’t afford the cello and the viola this month, you’re not so disappointed because the alternative turned out to be just as interesting in all its quiet simplicity.

The story of Michael and Sarah is not a new one, and not a true one, but I have to hand it to Dave Morrison and Greg Krueger for bringing it to light in such an honest, laceratingly raw fashion. Thank you, gentlemen.

A Word on the Studio and the Engineer:
I made up the name Krueger Studios since Mr Krueger has never settled on a title for his amalgamation of high-end gear, exceptional resume, and sensitive ear. His sense of humor coupled with his in-studio efficiency made for a truly enjoyable experience. For more information write me. He’s worth a bit o’ diggin’.

A Word on the Accompanist:
Dave Morrison is not accustomed to singing without a guitar. The man has a shining, well-deserved reputation around the Los Angeles scene as one of the finest American songwriters around, and I have had the pleasure of sharing a stage with him, accompanying him, and seeing his genius for myself. He presents a concert series in Pasadena called “Quarter Moon Revue” at an ancient Unitarian church by the name of Throop, makes the audience dinner with his two hands, and never puts on a bad act. Dave is in the process of forming the 2.0 version of the Dave Morrison Band, and for goodness’ sakes, keep your ears peeled.

Recording Drive [EXPLICIT] at Winter Wonderland!

Whew! Just under the wire AGAIN, but just in time. Here are your links:

The Free One:
https://soundcloud.com/olivia-brownlee/6-drive

Patronize Me!!!
https://www.patreon.com/obrownlee?ty=c

I am one lucky so-and-so. Having friends like I do makes it possible to do this sort of thing. I really hope I’m the same kind of friend to others that I’m gettin’ blessed with these days, ’cause otherwise I have got some prayin’ to do! You guys will let me know, yea…?

A Word on the Engineer:
Hugh McGowan has been a long-standing and lovely acquaintance of mine for some years, but this is the first official project on which we’ve collaborated. “Board-side manner” is something I think I’ve mentioned before, and his is phenomenal not just because he’s attentive, enthusiastic, and mood-lightening – the guy rocks out! Being a multi-instrumentalist himself, while recording he heard all the other instruments he would add to my track (specifically drum kit) had we but the time and patience, and effectively air-played them while we laid down Drive. For which I’m very thankful, since his antics kept me wed to the click-track in a much more organic way. He loves his equipment and devoted himself to a fine mix in a limited time. Thank Hugh. That balalaika is in my car as we speak…
Hugh runs the open mic in the backroom of the Burren in Davis Square of a Tuesday night. Go visit! Hear his OWN songs, which will leave you shredding tissues on the tabletop in a hissyfit of catharsis.

A Word on the Studio:
Walking into Winter Wonderland is more like walking into Instrumental Curio-Wonderland. I had difficulty carrying on a conversation because my eyes kept roving around to all the colors, textures, shapes, and sounds wherever I looked. The engineer’s enthusiasm for odd instruments is matched only by his dedication to learning their individual histories: their age, their makers, how they got to the country, who owned them, how they’re meant to be played. Everything in this studio has a story, and Mr McGowan is a docent of information. It was all I could do to leave the place with a CD in my hand – I wanted to stay and hear ALL the stories. I would tell you more about his recording rack but man I was way more interested in that triple-split-fretboard with the chromatic, diatonic and pentatonic scales bazouki weirdness happening up in there! Call the man if you want to know more about his mics! What do I know!

A Word on the Accompanist:
If it’s rhythm you want, you get it with Maureen – plus sincerity, great moves, great stories, and a pretty face to boot. Really can’t do much better. I said in passing, totally hamming it up because I never expected her to say yes, “Lemme know if you ever want to collaborate!” Maureen Medieros has worked with a shamelessly long list of “I know those guys!” including but not limited to Booty Vortex and Camberville’s own Baker Thomas Band. I was so tickled to have her I forgot to send her the track ahead of time, so the sounds you hear are no more than her third or fourth time hearing the song ever. She’s laid back, vibe-accepting, and a good listener. I am one lucky so-and-so. Hire her. Hire her now.