Back to Bass-ics, Day 1
We arrived at Crossroads Music this morning for the first day of tracking and were met in the parking lot with a warm greeting from Ty Gilpin, who does promotions for Crossroads. He gave us a quick tour of the facilities and… a copy of the new Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver album, Drive Time! Today’s the release date of the album, which is being released on Mountain Home Records, a division of Crossroads. Needless to say, it’s a BUSY day at Crossroads (and how cool is it to celebrate the start and the finish of two albums simultaneously?). After our quick tour, we grabbed all of Sav’s gear out of the car and started to set up and settle into Studio A while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. Sav’s got a great group of musicians playing with him on the album: Ron Stewart on banjo and fiddle, Adam Steffey on mandolin, and Rick Cooper on guitar. The final member of today’s team is Scott Barnett from Crossroads, the engineer for the project. When we arrived, he’d already set up most of the mics and decided where each of the musicians would be placed. Studio A has a control room attached to a large studio with one big open space, and two sound isolation booths. Scott’s got Adam set up in one of the isolation booths, Ron in the other, and Sav is in the large open space along with Coop. The isolation booths make sure that sound from one instrument can be isolated from the others, so that if there are any small fixes that need to be made, they can just make the change on one instrument, rather than everyone having to play over again. Since an upright bass is, well, pretty darn loud, Scott has a gobo (a movable sound barrier) placed between Sav and Coop to absorb some of the bass and keep the bass sound from bleeding over into the guitar mics. Contrary to what I expected, the ‘sound check’ for today’s sessions was really quick and easy in comparison to watching a sound check for a live performance – just a few minor changes, such as the addition of the gobo, and we were ready to go!
One thing that’s stood out to me today is the amount of preparation and thought that’s already gone into the arrangement of the songs – there’s been a quick meeting before each song to talk a tiny bit about what key the song is in, and a few pointers about what Sav really wants out of the song, which instruments are taking solo breaks and where, and then everyone goes off to their spots and – presto! A few runs through and they’re off to the next song! I fully expected to see a lot more stopping and starting, and more discussions of what direction to take the songs in, but these guys are just blowing through song after song. So far, they’ve gotten 6 of the 10 songs done – we started off the morning with Moments, an Andy Hall/Jon Weisberger tune, Jump on a Pullman (written by Charles Humphrey III), Lookout Mountain (a co-write by Phil Barker and Charles), a tune Sav wrote called Alleghenies and 2 instrumentals, Daley’s Reel and New Camptown Races (as I’m typing this, Adam’s running through his solo break on New Camptown Races). Ron’s fiddle tracks haven’t been added yet, and there are a few guitar solos that Coop will be dubbing tomorrow.
Until then! Signing out…
Full gallery of photos from the trip: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?fbid=192203924150282&id=138609602843048&aid=37518