Monday, 27 January 2014

Week 1 in the studio & in Nashville

Well we've been here a week & done so much!! Appologies for not updating our adventures sooner, but we've simply been flat out in the studio working on our songs and also making the most out of the amazing musical entertainment going on in Tennessee every night...

But I'll recap all we've been doing for those interested...

After seeing the great 'Time Jumpers' on Monday night, we decided to take it easy Tuesday & Wednesday and we just focused on the studio and our own tunes.. Wednesday evening we hung out with Willie's good friend Daniel Hyberger who lives here & is an outstanding bass/double bass session musician in town..  This ended up turning into a singsong at his house..

Thursday: Another early start in the studio. The album starting to take shape at this stage & there's a general sense of confidence mixed with relief that it's all working out... Producer Brad Jones has been great with us & totally put us at ease in his studio... He's getting the best out of us & totally gets that we are a live band and has captured that!!
Thursday night we went to the famous "Station Inn" to see a band called "Town Mountain" & they were great. A bluegrass band from North Carolina. The pub "The Station Inn" is an amazing venue & is one of the oldest surviving venues in town. This is also the place Old Crow Medicine Show cut their teeth & were discovered. 

Friday:  Early start in the studio. 
At lunch a TV producer out here, who we'd met during the week, asked us to do an interview for his entertainment show. We'll share the link when it airs this week. 
Friday night we couldn't resist going to see another band this time  a Chicken Pickin' Country Rock band.. And these guys were just great!! Loads of classic songs from Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson!!
 Saturday: This was our mid album day-off. And a friend of Willie had asked us to go to Franklin a small town south of Nashville. We were asked to perform on an Internet TV music show called "Viva Nashvegas" this was great fun. I'll include a link to the video.

Saturday afternoon we visited Carter Vintage  Guitars a shop that specialises in beautiful vintage instruments... 
Les topped the 'strum the most expensive instrument competition' we had when he sat down with a mandolin valued at $170,000.
Then Saturday night we were previliged to be on the guest list of a gig by the "Long Players" who play/recreate an entire classic album live once a month  and on this occasion it was After the Goldrush!! That was Leon ecstatic!! 
Our producer Brad Jones is a member of the band & we got to see him perform with Maura O'Connell, Kathy Mattea & Mary Gauchet who were guest singers on the night. Such a gig!!! 

Sunday: back in the studio where we started & finished our eight song on the album... And we are really cookin at this stage!! And the album sounds great!!

Sunday afternoon we were invited to play a live set in Carter Vintage Guitars which was video'd for their webpage..

Over a week here and it's going great, we've all settle into the recording session & really enjoying the craic/fun in the band and with Brad, Colin & Mark (producer, film-maker &engineer)....
Big thanks to Colin Gillen who has been capturing the entire time & adventure here on film and is making a movie documentary about our first Nashville experience. 
More to come, we'll keep the posts coming!!!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The first studio day.

So yesterday we settled slowly into the recording studio, there are so many amazing machines that need some teasing & gentle persuasion to get warmed up... Producer/Engineer Brad got busy waking up his exquisite machines with the help of his intern engineer Mark, as we all got comfortable in our respective mic-ed up areas with the finest of valve, custom & condenser mics.
The mic Fig's Fiddle is being recorded on is an extremely rare Neuman U87 which has been customised to include a valve (this is warming up the sound on his Fiddle beautifully). 
We discussed with Brad how we were going to record this album & capture the Rackhouse Pilfer essence best. We decided to record live and try capture a perfect take. This is how our Hero's would have done it back in the 70's, Little Feat, the Band, Townes Van Zandt & Bob Dylan, and it's a difficult technique but reveals the strength of the band.
Once we all got settled & the sound was almost fully tweaked, we began to record. To help relax us and not to wear out the album songs, we played a few familiar songs that we lash out at the gigs which included a version of Springsteen's "I'm on Fire". this may well be shared online as a taster to the album & to show how we're sounding in this fab studio.
This took us up to lunch time. 
After a handy lunch we turned to one of our new original songs "Dust on the Road", which was a big song to get started on. 
It's a fast paced sweaty song. We've been trying this song out at gigs this last few months so we have a good handle on how we want to approach it and play it. Brad had some great suggestions & really liked this tune. Right at the end of the session we got a take that everyone really enjoyed & we decided to switch off the gear, finish up for the night & listen in the morning with fresh ears.
Fingers crossed we nailed it!!

Last night all of us were tired and worn out. But there was a gig in a venue called  '3rd & Lindsley' we had been advised not to miss. This was an amazing venue with a band of Nashville Allstars, Country Music Hall of Fame-ers & the finest stage of musicians we have ever witnessed!!
These guys and gal play every Monday for the love of playing together. 
They were called 'The Time Jumpers' and are an eleven piece band that play Western Swing. We were all mesmerized at their musicianship and how the fun they had on stage resonated around the venue. Solo after better solo after even better solo. They just had such free spirited fun & a laugh trying to out play each other and it was great to watch. Vince Gill was on one of the lead guitars, Dawn Sears on vocals, on Drums was Billy Thompson, Paul Franklin on sublime Pedal Steel Guitar, Andy Reiss on lead guitar, Jeff Taylor on Piano & Accordion.  I'm sure I've left some of them our but there are so many... 
 Fiddlers Larry Franklin, Joe Spivey & Kenny Sears all shone on fiddle, virtuosos all three!! They played masterful cheeky solos and amazing three part fiddle sections in songs much like a brass section would do in a swing band.
Here's a video of them playing.

We were all wrecked after the gig and hit the hay ASAP. Our out of sink body-clocks still have us all waking at 6:30am. But that's no harm as we are starting the recording sessions at 10am every day.
Day two is here and will be an interesting one... Everything is set up from day one so all we need to do is start playing.
Now's when the real work starts!!!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Nashville Music City USA

We have arrived safely after a long flight through New York. Two days in Nashville and we've been taking in the sights, sounds, food & entertainment that's on offer. This is such a vibrant town & if you like Americana music then you must visit!!
In the 2 days we have been here we have seen some amazing bands, heard some of the finest musicians & met some amazing down to earth people!! 
For the first time in ages we have been on the listening side & Nashville has rocked!!
Saturday night we were at a show featuring John Carter Cash (son of guess who), Realyn Nelson (grand-daughter of Willie) & an amazing husband and wife duo called 'Blue Mother Tupelo'...
And we met original 'Oak Ridge Boys' singer William Lee Golden, such a gentleman & such a beard!!
Our own Les & Willie joined them for a rendition of 'Will the circle be unbroken' with everyone onstage for the last hootenanny song!! 
Then Sunday night we saw an amazing Texas Swing Band in Roberts bar on Broadway down town Nashville.
On fiddle was Hoot Hester (the house fiddler from the Grand ole Oprey) & on lead Guitar/Lap Steel was Chris Scruggs (grandson of Earle Scruggs). They were awesome & so tasty!! 
We've met the finest of musician & songwriters. Had a beer in a bar where Hank Williams Snr first sung 'Hey Good Looking' and cause hysteria in 1948... This town is just so steeped in music and legacy and everyone is so unassuming, polite & humble!!!

Sunday evening we met up with our producer Brad Jones and he showed us his studio and got to know each other. He's another gentleman and collector of vintage instruments, you name it he has it!! He was very interested in our songs & it was very relaxed.!!  We all can't wait to get started now.
This morning we start work!!! 
Rackhouse Pilfer in Alex the Great studio, Nashville Tennessee, second album here we go!! 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Count down to our Recording trip to Tennessee!!!

Count down to take-off.
There's only 9 days left 'til we fly to Nashville Tennessee to record our second album in 'Alex the Great' studios.
Needless to say we are very excited to be taking off on the musical trip of a lifetime to 'Music City' USA!!!
Big thanks to all our supporters, family, friends & fundit pledgers!!! 
We'd never have had this chance if we didn't have such great loyal fans & supporters!! 'Big love' to you all from the Rackhouse Pilfer lads!!