Pop/rock band The Wild Feathers recorded its latest in producer Jay Joyce’s St. Charles studio (Nashville) with Joyce and his go-to engineer, Jason Hall. “St. Charles is a Baptist church dating to the ’20s or ’30s,” Hall explains. “It’s a large space with a great natural sound that was just meant to record music.”
Three Feathers sing live harmonies in the studio, as they do in concert: Taylor Burns into a Shure SM7, Ricky Young with a Neumann U47 and Joel King on a Sony C500. Hall set up those three with their instruments in the main tracking room, then isolated Ben Dumas’ drums. “They’re such a vocal-heavy band, we didn’t want to get drum bleed to the vocal mics,” he says.
“We would work on a song a day,” says Hall, adding that the sound of the song dictated which tracks were captured to an MCI tape machine and which went straight to Pro Tools. “Sometimes we’d do main live vocals with separate mics, and then get them all on one mic; they’d sing their parts again and we’d use that to stack with the other vocals. When you’re all around one mic, you’re not going to all be perfectly controlled in terms of which voice is standing out; those tracks have little imperfections that actually enhance the song.”
Each track on Lonely has its own sonic MO, whether it’s bright, ’60s pop-style harmonies, jangling layers of guitars or a groovy solo. One great unifier is the studio’s late-’70s Sphere Eclipse console. “It’s my favorite recording desk I’ve ever worked on,” Hall says. “We run as much as we can through that instead of using boutique preamps. It’s part of a vintage approach, where everything touches one set of electronics and you’re really getting a sound from the console.”