Classic Tracks: Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game"

Chris Isaak's fans always knew he'd be a star. Mostly it was that voice: brooding, melancholy, impossibly romantic. Then there was the attitude: hip, cool, stylish, but also very working-class, very regular guy. Everything isn't always on the surface with Isaak, and his music and his performances reflect that.

Mixing In a Pro Tools World

As a writer who has spent much of the past 20 years interviewing producers and engineers about recording projects, I've been in the thick of the great analog vs. digital debate for most of those two decades. It's an issue that simply refuses to go away.



New artist and Outkast protegé Killer Mike is finishing pre-production for his debut album Monster at LevelHeads Studio (Atlanta). Scheduled for release on Aquemini Records, the project was handled by the production team The Beat Bullies and studio owner/engineer/guitarist Dan Marshall. Marshall and The Beat Bullies are also continuing work on tracks for Hot Tub Tony (the solo project of Outkast's Big Boi).


It's a beautiful afternoon in the spring of 2001, and I'm up at percussionist/producer Mickey Hart's ranch studio in northern Sonoma County, Calif., listening in on tracking sessions for the new Mondo Head CD by Kodo, the extraordinary Japanese drum troupe. Now, if you've ever seen Kodo perform — and they tour incessantly, often playing at symphony halls and on university campuses around the world — you know that they are an intensely disciplined and formal group.


Twenty years, nine full-length albums and thousands of miles later, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers agree that being in the Indigo Girls is still not a job and sure beats having one. “Oh my God, I'm so thankful every day!” says Saliers. “Before we go onstage, after we leave the stage, all the time! It's an honor and privilege to work with Amy, for all the people we've met who have mentored and inspired us, a million things have happened for us that I can't believe.


Twenty-five years of success in the recording business is anexceptional achievement, especially if you're still under 40 whenyou hit that milestone. But that's how it is for James Lloyd,keyboardist and musical director of the smooth jazz band, Pieces ofa Dream. Lloyd and drummer Curtis Harmon founded the Philadelphiaband while they were teenagers and have kept the group active eversince.



Classic Tracks: Prince's "Kiss"


Following up Platinum success always brings its share of challenges, but for Powerman 5000, creating the follow-up to 1999's Tonight the Stars Revolt! required a combination of checks and balances. “There is a lot of pressure, and it's usually from outside sources,” says the group's frontman, lyricist and savvy businessman, Spider One.

Nashville Skyline

Last month, I highlighted the Lyric Street label's successful run of hit releases that were produced by new or unproven producers. Well, that isn't the only label opening the doors to fresh production talent. Besides Lyric Street, five other labels that have scored big with new producers come to mind: majors Universal South, Mercury, RCA, Arista and Capitol.