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“The criteria should be what the message is, what the story is. What’s the bottom line? It shouldn’t be how fast you can play the run, but can you keep time? Do you have a heart, do you have a soul, what’s your message? And that gets kicked aside.”- Les Paul

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Current Tape Reviews

SPOTLIGHT 25: Tom Bombadil
 
Artist Name:
David Yeager Band
  Title:
SPOTLIGHT 25: Tom Bombadil
 
Date Posted:
September 2009
 
Genre:
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

Recording (Tom): Mac G5 running Steinberg Cubase, Mac running Pro Tools with Digidesign 002 interface. Neumann TLM103 mic for vocals. Instruments: Taylor 514 acoustic guitar and Violin (miked with AKG C 414 XLS and C 480 B), Fender Telecaster Deluxe electric guitar through VOX AC30/6TB amp (miked with Shure SM57 close and AKG 414 a couple feet back), Modulus Quantum 4 bass (DI through a Focusrite ISA428 and Line 6 Bass POD), Mapex drum kit (miked with AKG kick mic, Shure SM58 on snare, Earthworks overheads and an Oktava stereo room mic out in front about 6–8 feet). All songs were then mixed by Mat Prock at Area 44 music, see www.area44music.com for his gear list.

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Production Notes & Credits:

“Tom Bombadil” is a male vocal rock song. David wrote, recorded and sang the vocals and played acoustic guitar. Steve Wick played the electric guitar and supplied the backing vocals. Matt Chandik was on drums and percussion, and Jon Chavez played the bass. The final mix was done by Mat Prock.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 5
This month’s Spotlight not only features creativity in the songwriting, arranging and performing departments, but in the recording department as well. So how is that different that any of our other submissions, you ask? Well, aside from the obvious high quality on all these fronts, “Tom Bombadil” was recorded in three different studios and mixed in a fourth! In an age where it’s tough to get five people to decide what they want on their pizza, David and his friends chose what they felt to be the best working arrangement for their busy lives, and they pulled it off beautifully, even if the process of creating this song (and the others on their album In Your Sight I Am Sound) took nearly two years from start to finish.

The project started with David laying down a click track along with a rough guide vocal and guitar track at a studio belonging to friend Dennis Ostermann, where drums were the first instrument to be tracked. Once this was done and the drums were added, things moved over to Steve’s home studio where the acoustic guitar and some of the electric parts were laid down on his Mac using Cubase. These tracks were then transferred over to David’s Pro Tools Digi 002/Mac system in his basement studio, where the vocals were added. With us so far?!

Next, the tracks were delivered back to Steve’s for additional overdubs, which included electric guitar, bass, violin and percussion. Steve also used this opportunity to archive all of the work to date in Cubase. Smart! At this point the entire band gathered at Steve’s and reviewed (“extensively”) all of the parts. Satisfied with the fruits of their labors, the tracks were then loaded onto a hard drive as stems, and sent to Mat for the final mix.

Since none of the band members were present during this stage, Mat utilized the internet to post his “in progress” mixes for the band’s critique. The guys would each download these, and after review, email back their opinions/concerns. Allowing Mat the freedom to tweak his work to their specifications was a process that David says “worked surprisingly well, given we are all somewhat perfectionist”. After several small revisions, Mat finished up his mixes and voila, the results speak for themselves.

We love the (Dave Mathews style) acoustic guitar intro coming from David’s Taylor 514/AKG C 480 B and C 414 XLS combination. Equally impressive is Jon’s nimble bass work. The tone here is rich and yet very focused perhaps due to the use of two signal paths, one a DI through a Focusrite ISA 428 and the other through a Line 6 Bass POD.

The other half of the rhythm section is also outstanding both in performance and in tone. David miked Matt’s Mapex kit with mics from Shure, AKG, Earthworks and Oktava, and Mat did an excellent job presenting them in the mix. We love the panning on the toms and the fat snare tone is one of the best that we have heard in quite some time. Kudos also go out to Steve for his engineering of not only the bass but the electric guitar as well, and man, can you beat a Tele through a Vox AC30?!

Finally a word on David’s superb vocals. We seem to spend an awful lot of time in these pages discussing the problems that many of you out there have capturing vocal performances without the presence of artifacts such as overcompression and sibilance. Well, if you’re looking for an example of how it’s successfully done, look no further. David’s voice fits his Neumann TLM103 mic like a hand in a glove, and once again Mat has really delivered the goods with it’s placement in the mix.

Suggestions: As you can tell, we are mightily impressed with “Tom Bombadil”. The band, along with Mat, have delivered an exciting radio-friendly mix that captures the energy and the vibe of a live performance by utilizing their individual and collective talents as a team. We give it two thumbs way up.

Summary: Viva the home studio(s)!

Contact: David Yeager Band, davidjyeager@gmail.com, www.davidyeagerband.com

About: Marty Peters

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