Recording

'Chase the Devil'

SPIRITUAL DUO AT SHELTER ISLAND 3/30/2010 3:16 PM Eastern
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Guitarist Gary Lucas (left) and vocalist Dean Bowman perform songs from Chase the Devil.























Gary Lucas is a mind-bending guitar master, and vocalist Dean Bowman fuses authentic blues and avant-jazz. Together, they’ve invented a new kind of gospel—a naked, syncopated, spiritual sound that almost has to be heard to be believed. These two artists tracked an album of duets, Chase the Devil (Knitting Factory Records), in three sessions at Steve Addabbo’s Shelter Island Sound in New York.

The duo wrote a couple of original songs for Devil and selected covers, such as the traditional Hebrew song “Hinay Ma Tov,” Sir Hubert Parry and William Blake’s “Jerusalem” and Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “Up Above My Head.” Tracking happened live, with Addabbo creating moderate isolation between the two performers.

Addabbo situated Bowman and a Neumann U67 in the back-right corner of his 26x20 live room with some baffling behind, but nothing separating him from Lucas, who was on the other side of the room. “Gary was sitting maybe 10 feet away from him with his amp, my old 1966 Super Reverb, which was gobo’d off. Gary wanted to hear the amp pretty much live so he was on headphones, but probably with one ear off.”

Addabbo miked Lucas’ Stratocaster with a Shure SM57 and an AKG C414, with Neve 1064 mic preamps combined through the API bus on his 1979 MCI console; he used a UREI LA2 to compress the combined signal going into Pro Tools. Working with the musicians, Addabbo took a mix-as-you-go approach, providing Lucas with rough mixes of each track they recorded. Lucas’ feedback helped inform the final mixes; all but two were done by Addabbo at Shelter Island.

“It wasn’t a lot to mix. There wasn’t a lot to do because the whole vibe was already there so I didn’t have to manufacture anything. With Gary, the main thing is if you don’t get it on the first take, you’re a fool because he’s so spontaneous.”