SUNNY SWEENEY AT SOUND EMPORIUM AND DECIBEL
Dave Brainard produced singer/songwriter Sunny Sweeney’slatest Thirty Tigers release,Trophy,inhisdeciBelstudio andatSound Emporium. It’sa clever, lovely,well-crafted collection ofstorysongs, realizedby Sweeney’s beautifulvoiceand forceofpersonality.
“Myprocessstarts withpre-production, Brainardsays.“Wegottogether in mystudio, whereIhaveacoupleofboothsandcontrol rooms,andwecut acoustictracks—sketchingoutsoundsanda roadmap forthealbum.”
Heandengineer JordanRigbythencaptureddrums,bassandpianointhe largercommercialfacility. “Onmostofthe recordsIdo,IusetheCLASPsystem,goingtoanalogtape,”says Brainard.“Sothere areacoupleof placesI lovetogotobecauseofthetapemachines;Sound Emporium StudioAhasa great Studer[A827],andI lovethat roombecauseit’sabigopenspace,butit’s notveryambient. You candeadenthedrumsa littlebit,andgeta littlemore ofatapesound—avintage,no-room,drytypeofthing.”
Overdubs,including Sweeney’svocals,weretrackedindeciBel. Funnybut notjoking, Brainardsays,“Sunny’svocalchainstartswithgreatsongs,agreat voice,a glassofwine,an Audio-Technica4050,andthenintoanAPI512into anLA2A,andthen itwouldgoto my Studer A807machine. Tome,that’s wherethemagichappens withasingerlike Sunny,becauseshe really leans intoit.Thetapeisthatfinalpiece.”
OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW REMAKES BLONDE ON BLONDE
Old Crow MedicineShowhascoveredDylanbefore.Theirversion of“WagonWheel”wasabreakthroughhitin2004,andthey’veincludedDylansongsonmore recentalbums. Butit musthavetaken exceptionalbraveryandvisionto remakeBlondeon Blonde—infront ofaliveaudienceinthe800-seatCMATheateratthe Country MusicHallof Fame.
“Wehadno plansof recordingorfilmingtheconcerts,”explains Norm Parenteau, theband’smanager andexecutiveproducer ofa DVDthat documentstheperformances. “Iattendedthe rehearsal attheCMATheaterthreedays beforetheshowand realizeditwas going tobesomethingspecial.Iknewwehadtocaptureit,soIhired Lee Tuckertoputafilmcrewtogether andaskedoursoundguys [front-of-housemixer/recordingengineer ChrisSerinoandmonitorengineer Pete Parenteau]to rent recordingequipment.”
Serinocaptured thesessionstoPro Tools.Hisinput listonthe datesincluded DPA4099sonfiddles,ShureBeta 98sonbanjos,and SM58sonvocals.Drumswere recordedwithaShureBeta91inside thekickand AudixD6outside, SM57sonsnaretopandbottom, D4sontoms,ShureKSM137onhi-hat,andAKGC414sasoverheads.
Old Crow’sversionofBlondeon Blonde—recordedbyDylanin Columbia Studiosin New Yorkand Nashvillein 1966—turnsthe folk-rock masterpiece into ahigh-test bluegrass romp, similarto theotherborderlinepunkalbumsthey’vemadewithengineer Ryan Mallandproducer Ted Hutt, theteamthat mixedtheband’snew versioninKingsizeSoundlabs(L.A.).
“Havingworkedonacoupleof recordswiththemandknowing theiraffinity forBobDylan,it feltlike,ifthere’sabandthatcould pullthatoffanddoitinitsownway, itwouldbe Old Crow,”says Hutt.“Theycompletelyputtheirownspinonit.”
BUDDY GUY AT BLACKBIRD
Producer TomHambridgeworkedwiththegreat Buddy Guy in Blackbird StudioswithengineerDuckyCarlisleandassistantSeanBadum. Guy’svocalchainincludeda Neumann U47, Neve1073preampanda TubeTechCL-1Bcompressor.
“Iliketo record livewith Buddyandafullbandonthe floor playingtogether,”Hambridge says. “I playdrums,and BuddyandIsetupfacingeachother. Wehad Buddy play- ingthroughthreeamps:aDumble Headintoa’70sMarshall 4×12cabinet. Wealsousedamodified Tweed FenderDeluxe anda Fender Tweed4×10Bassman.”
BACK INTHE HOUSE OF DAVID
House of David Studios closed its doors for three years earlier in the decade, but the studio has been busy since re-opening in 2015. Recent sessions have included Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb with Rival Sons and Amanda Shires, and producer/engineer Justin Tockett working with Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Barry Zito to record his first album since retiring from baseball. The studio has also hosted video projects, including the Web seriesThe Producers Room with Dave Tough, featuring interviews with great Nashville producers such as TonyBrown, Dan Huff, Josh Leo and others.
“Currently,we areworkingonmakingcustomIRs[impulse responses] foracompanycalled Two Notes,”saysstudio manager MikeLewis. “Brandon Henegaristhehouseengineerhereandis anamazingguitar player. Wehavebeengettinga lotofworkfrom companieswantinghimto reviewtheirguitarpedalsandamps.”
At Nashville Trax, Aaron McDaris (Rhonda Vincent and The Rage) played banjo ona song for Mike Anderson and the Mountainview Ramblers’ album with Bill Watson producing; the banjo is one that was played by Sonny Osbourne on the original recording of “Rocky Top.” And Rascal Flatts drummer Jim Riley performed on the upcoming album by The Swansons, who worked with Watson as producer.
OMNIsound Studios recently added new equipment from Manley, Burl Audio, Universal Audio and others, and upgraded all of the studios to Avid HDX cards with Avid HD I/O. In the past year, the facility has hosted artists including Alison Krauss and Union Station, Tommy Emmanuel with Jason Isbell, New Found Glory, John Anderson, and Story of the Year.
Skywayprovidesbroadcastandproduction services,aswellas rehearsalspace, inits 18,000-square-footfacility.Inthemonth before thisissuewenttopress,visitorstoSkywayincluded Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, FaithHill, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley,Easten Corbin, Hunter HayesandCarrie Underwood.
YESMASTER ADDS PRISM, DANGEROUS
The newest additions to the analog mastering chain at Yes Master Studios are the Prism Sound Mastering EQ and the Dangerous Master Section. Of late, these pieces have been put to use on projects by Jimmy Buffett, Chris Young and Ronnie Milsap.