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Chuck Ainlay Picks Sanken for JD & The Straight Shot

Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Chuck Ainlay is recording JD & The Straight Shot.

New Album Features Guitarist and Music Director Marc Copely

Pictured at Sound Stage Studios in Nashville are (L-R) guitarist/music director Marc Copely and producer/engineer Chuck Ainlay, seen adjusting a Sanken CU-55 mic with a Sanken CO-100K mic in the rear.

Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Chuck Ainlay is recording JD & The Straight Shot with music director/guitarist Marc Copely at Avatar Studios in New York City and at Sound Stage in Nashville.

JD & The Straight Shot’s founder and frontman is James Dolan, the head of several media and telecommunications organizations, including Cablevision, the New York Knicks, and AMC Networks. “It’s a great little self-contained band,” commented Ainlay. “Marc is on guitar, as is Jim’s son, Aiden Dolan. Byron House is on the upright bass, and Erin Slaver is the classically trained fiddle player.”

The band has toured alongside The Eagles, The Allman Brothers Band, and Robert Randolph. Members of the Straight Shot also tour with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Their song “Can’t Make Tears” is the theme song for AMC’s TV show “Hell on Wheels” and their music has been featured in films as well, including “Hurricane Season.”
Sanken’s CU-55 cardioid microphone features a modern, compact design and provides a rich vintage sound in a lightweight, easy to position package.  

“The CU-55 is one of the newest mics from Sanken,” Ainlay explains. “It’s a DC biased condenser mic and I’ve been messing around with it for about a year and just fell in love with it. I’ve used it on a lot of different instruments, but for this session, Marc was playing a Gibson L5 with the CU-55 close to the F hole. This Gibson is a beautiful old guitar with flat vinyl strings, so it was kind of chunky sounding. The mic is fairly crisp, but not unnaturally so.”

In addition to his reputation as a superb guitar player, Marc Copely is also known for his songwriting. He co-wrote “Breathe Into You” with Carole King, “Something Beautiful” with Tracy Bonham and Greg Wells and “Little White Lies”, featured in the 2012 Weinstein film “Butter”. Most recently, his co-written “Midnight Run” was featured in the Weinstein film “Lawless,” sung by Willie Nelson.

Ainlay’s choice for a second mic on Copely’s guitar was Sanken’s CO-100K omni-directional condenser microphone, with a 20Hz ~ 100kHz range. “The 100K really picks up the space and it sounds wonderful, like it does out in the room,” Ainlay adds. “It’s so accurate and its off-axis response is as good as its on-axis response — just a really wonderful sounding microphone. I used it at some distance from the guitar just to capture that space. Then I separate the two microphones in the mix to give the instruments some size and space in the stereo panning.”

Chuck Ainlay, a founding member of the METAlliance, has worked with such artists as Mark Knopfler, Miranda Lambert, George Strait, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Lee Ann Womack, Willie Nelson, and Lionel Richie, among hundreds of others.

To learn more about these two Sanken microphones and others, visit: