Produced by Peter Asher and Engineered by Nathaniel Kunkel
Pictured at MSR Studios in New York City are (L-R) “Bright Star” album producer Peter Asher and recording engineer Nathaniel Kunkel.
Ghostlight Records has released the original cast recording of “Bright Star,” the top Broadway musical from Grammy and Emmy Award winner Steve Martin and Grammy winning singer/songwriter Edie Brickell. The album was produced by multi-Grammy Award-winning Peter Asher, and recorded by engineer Nathaniel Kunkel at New York’s MSR Studios.
Inspired by a real event, this “unabashedly romantic” (The New York Times) original musical tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. When literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young soldier just home from World War II, he awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past – and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives.
TELEFUNKEN microphones have been a longtime favorite of Asher and his engineer Nathaniel Kunkel. “In the video, you can see what a key role both my fabulous ELA M 251 and my AK-47 played in the recording of the cast album.” TELEFUNKEN provided a sizeable additional collection of microphones for the project and was given special thanks in the CD liner notes.
See Peter Asher, Nathaniel Kunkel and the cast recording at MSR Studios:
Sh-K-Boom with its imprint Ghostlight Records has become the leading independent force in Original Broadway Cast Recordings – building a library of over 150 records in the last 15 years, featuring some of the most successful Broadway musicals and solo albums by Broadway’s brightest stars.
Asher continues, “I’ve always loved the old mics, but of course they are unpredictable. When Telefunken made their 251 reissue I bought one and it is my go-to microphone. It all started when I produced the two Steve Martin/Edie Brickell albums and this is the same microphone Edie used on both those records. It’s a great convenience to have your own mic, because you know it and you know what it does.
“But at the beginning of a project I still like to try out a couple of different microphones on a vocalist with Nathaniel. The mic that you know you can rely on almost always turns out to be the right choice. It is very helpful and that’s why I brought it. The only hassle is hand carrying the mics when flying back and forth, as I did when traveling from LA to New York for the ‘Bright Star’ project.”
“We primarily used Peter’s 251E,” explained Kunkel. “It’s one of the best microphones I’ve heard in my life. We’ve used it on pretty much every lead vocal we’ve done for the past half a decade. Peter also has an AK-47 MkII, but for a project of this size we realized we were going to need some more mic depth, because we had all of the cast there singing live at the same time.”
“There are eight singers in the ensemble and then four or five lead singers,” Asher continued. “We recorded the ensemble in stereo and then the individual lead singers on separate mics. In addition to my 251, my AK-47 has a real focus and concentration to it that I like. Among the mics they lent us we had another two or three AK-47s as well. My 47 has some of the super hi-fi detail of a 251, but sounds not quite as big. At the same time it’s got a focus and intensity that you get from a mic that is not particularly hi-fi mic, such as a 57, where you get that full concentration. To me, the AK-47 is a mic that has the best of both worlds. On male vocals particularly, it’s always worth a try. If you look in that video you’ll see that the male lead is singing on the AK-47 and the female lead is on the 251. It’s huge but it’s extremely clear. This 251 seems to have an even clearer space to it and made Carmen’s voice sound amazing, as it did with Edie’s voice on her records.”
“We reached out to Telefunken and they threw down,” says Kunkel. “They sent us a ton of microphones, including a couple new mics that they thought we should listen to, and a couple more I was curious about. We used every single microphone they sent. I have to be honest, the relationship between myself and Peter and Telefunken has really turned into a love fest. Everyone is on a Telefunken mic.”
“Bright Star” Original Cast Recording:
TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik strives for absolute perfection. By offering historic recreations of classic microphones alongside their own proprietary designs based around the distinctive tube mic sound, TELEFUNKEN has established a product line that expertly combines vintage style and sound with the reliability of modern-day microphone design. TELEFUNKEN’s commitment to both the sonic excellence and quality of all of their products is rivaled only by their dedication to provide the best possible service to their customers.