Quad-core mac Pro running Digidesign Pro Tools HD with Line 6 Amp Farm; Lawson L47MP with spare 251 capsule, Sennheiser MD 421, Audix i5, AKG D112 and C 391 B, and Cascade Fat Head mics (2); Shadow Hills Mono Gamma, D. W. Fearn VT-2, and Old School Audio L1 and MP1C preamps, Empirical Labs Distressor, Crane Song Trakker compressor, Sierra acoustic guitar, Fender Custom Strat electric guitar, Schecter bass, Korg TRITON keyboard workstation.
Production Notes & Credits:
“Love You Anyway” is a male vocal country ballad. Paul Presto (recording under the name “Paul Street”) wrote and recorded the song in addition to playing the guitar, keyboards and handling the vocals. The rhythm section was Nick Frese on bass and Tom Verdecchio on drums. Rounding things out was Craig Fletcher on fiddle.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: This month’s Spotlight features an extremely well written and recorded track that nails the sound of modern country. Paul tells us that he has been a subscriber to Recording Magazine since 1989... which is longer than some of our subscribers have been on the planet! During that time Paul has also amassed some awfully nice tools to go along with his considerable talents.
To get a feel for how the tracking went down on the project, let’s let Paul give us the play by play. “Here’s the method... I lay down a straight beat on my Triton keyboard and track one instrument. In this case it was my Sierra acoustic guitar through a matched pair of Cascade Fat Head mics into my Shadow Hills Mono Gamma Pres (sweet combo). Then I played bass, later replaced by my Cousin Nickie (a REAL bass player) using my Schecter bass through an Old School audio L1 “aka Big Daddy” pre (like a 1073) and a Distressor compressor. Custom Fender Strat Electric played by me (if only I could play that instrument...) through Amp Farm via Pro Tools. Various keyboards on my Triton direct through my pres (usually the Gammas).”
“Vocals next through my fave vocal mic, the Lawson 47MP, through God’s gift to mic pres, my D.W. Fearn VT-2, then to the king of compressors, my Cranesong Trakker on the Vintage Optical setting. It doesn’t get any better! (if only I were a better singer haha!). Backing vocals with the same setup, except “off with the head” of the Lawson 47 and slide on the 251 head (more highs and clearer mids).”
“Next, Tommy V on drums for his “drive by session”...he cuts in one take; again, it doesn’t get any better. Kick is AKG D112 through Gamma, Snare Audix i5 through Gamma, Toms 421s through Old School L1s, Room mics the Fat Heads through Old School MP1Cs, overheads AKG C391Bs through the Fearn. Last is Craig on the fiddle via .wav file from Tennessee.” Cool!
The good news is that all this attention to detail and gear goodness has resulted in a mighty fine recording. The vocal is king in this genre, and right off the bat we want to congratulate Paul on not only the performance and the sound of his vocals, but also for keeping them front and center as the track weaves in and out from the relatively stripped-down verses to the heavier chorus sections. Many times vocals become “masked” during these transitions, but Paul has kept his vocals—and equally important, his lyrics—loud and clear.
In order to maintain his instrumental balance throughout the track, Paul has also utilized some nice arranging skills in his mix. Listen to the change in the snare drum from a woody, close mic’d flavor during the verses, to a brighter ambient sound during the choruses. Paul is also careful not to let his electric guitars overwhelm the track. By using a fairly wide panning scheme, the electrics add drive and excitement without too much bulk. The inclusion of the banjo and the harmony vocals during the chorus sections are also skillfully handled, proving yet again that arrangement can be just as crucial to the overall success of a mix as eq or processing.
Summary: Well written, well recorded, well done!
Contact: Paul Street, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.paulstreetmusic.com, www.myspace.com/paulstreetmusic and www.skyliterecording.com.