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SPOTLIGHT 30: Family Song
Artist Name:
Tom Zink
SPOTLIGHT 30: Family Song
Date Posted:
February 2010
Equipment Used:

Mac with MOTU 2408 and HD192 interfacing running Digital Performer with Garritan Strings, Spectrasonics Atmosphere, UAD-1, and Waves Gold plug-ins; Yamaha O2R and O2R96 digital mixers, Akai DR16 hard disk recorder; Mics: two Earthworks TC30k, two ADK TC, Royer R-121, sE Electronics Gemini, various Shure SM57 and SM58s; Universal Audio 2610, PreSonus MP20, Avalon 2022 & M5, Roland SRV-330; Yamaha C6 Disklavier piano.

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Production Notes & Credits:

“Family Song” is a jazz piece, predominantly instrumental in nature. Tom played the keyboards and handled all of the recording duties, Chris Wabish was on the drums, and Gannin Arnold laid down the guitar. The trio was augmented by noted bassists Jimmy Johnson and Brian Bromberg as well as vocalist Anne Walsh, hence the name “3&”. The writing credit is shared between Tom and Gannin.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 5
Recording: This month’s Spotlight features a tune that was five years in the making, from inception to completion! Tom tells us that like the cobbler’s family who have no shoes, his own music always seems to take a back seat to other projects. Well, luckily for us, “Family Song” has at last seen the light of day, and all involved have done a superlative job.

In his cover letter Tom tells us that while the initial tracking took only three days, overdubs and mixing remained elusive and during the length of the project he not only changed equipment several times, but also performed some major overhauls and upgrades to his studio space as well (the end result, seen only dimly in the accompanying picture, can be appreciated in all its glory on Tom’s studio website). So how did everything shake out after this “extreme makeover”? Let’s dig a little deeper.

One area of Tom’s track that immediately impressed us was the arrangement. There is a place and purpose for all of the sound sources here, and while this may seem obvious to some, this is an concept that seems to be falling by the wayside in many of the submissions that we receive. Couple this with some good solid gear and some fine players and you’re halfway home.

Why only halfway, you ask? Well someone has to produce, record and mix/master all of this goodness, and to that end Tom has done a bang-up job. We love the beautifully recorded drums (extra credit for the great sounding cymbals) and the manner in which Tom has made his balance choices. The guitar, carrying the melody, is present without being dominant, while the blend of the strings, along with Anne’s ethereal vocals, create just the right ambience to our ears. As for the bass, it is masterfully played, and Tom was wise enough to leave plenty of space in the arangement for it.

Lastly, we congratulate Tom on his restrained and tasteful mastering job. The entire mix is clean without being sterile and while much has been made of the pros and cons of self mastering, this one turned out aces.

Summary: Hey Tom, we expect another song before the end of Obama’s first term!

Contact: Tom Zink,,

About: Marty Peters

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Kef America

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