“I feel like an old soul,” Drew Holcomb sings in “Tightrope,” off his latest album, Medicine. The song suggests a degree of world-weariness, but there’s an energy to the dynamic, well-crafted folk-rock arrangements on this album, which was tracked and mixed in engineer/producer Joe Pisapia’s home studio.
Holcomb sang and played guitar live with his band, in an iso booth situated over the control room. Pisapia captured Holcomb’s voice with a Shure SM5 through a vintage Neve 3104 preamp and an 1176. “I worked on the last Ben Folds Five record, and Ben turned me onto the SM5,” Pisapia says. “It’s got a little more high-mid than an SM7.
“One thing I’ve definitely noticed is, if a singer sings and plays at the same time, they tend to be less self-conscious and self-analytical. They’re embodying the performance as a person rather than as a singer or as a guitar player,” Pisapia says. “I think capturing them doing both always adds. Even if it becomes a pain in the neck to sort out the frequency bleed, what we gain performance-wise is worth it.”