Sonica Audio Labs Hush-2T Workstation with PreSonus FirePod, TC PowerCore FireWire, and Focusrite Liquid Mix, running Steinberg Cubase 4.5 and WaveLab 4.0; PreSonus Eureka, IK Multimedia ARC, Mackie HR624 monitors on Primacoustic Recoil Stabilizers; Neumann U87; Ovation acoustic guitar, Samick mandolin, Fender Telecaster, Stratocaster and Jazz bass, Zoom 234 drum machine, Boss GT-6 guitar effects, Peavey Bandit 112 amp.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Brian has submitted a rather dense track here and while he labels it as a country song we hear a lot of concious or subconcious British/Beatles flavor as well.
Starting with the rhythm section, we hear a basic drum pattern via Brian’s Zoom drum machine. Nothing fancy here, just a simple looped pattern. Joining the drums is the bass guitar which stays nicely in support of the kick drum while adding a bit more expression.
Moving up into the melody intruments we must congratulate Brian on the recording of his mandolin. The funny part is that with it’s beautifully open tone, it strikes us as very reminiscent (in a good way) of something from Rod Stewart’s early ’70s solo record “Gasoline Alley”, more so than a typical Nashville sound. In any event, it sounds great and we like it!
Less successful to our ears were the lead and backing vocals. While the vocals are free of pitch and artifact issues, we find that the heavily processed, heavily layered backing vocals tend to dominate and overwhelm the mix.
Suggestions: Arranging is a vital skill for all recordistists, and this is doubly true for one-man-band operations. We would suggest that Brian take a second look at the type of track that he is building here and put on the old producer’s hat while he’s looking!
By introducing his backing vocals so early and so prominently he has left his mix with little breathing/building room. Perhaps one of the reasons that we were initially struck by the whole British/Beatles comparison is that the mix, in its present state, more resembles the work of All Things Must Pass-era George Harrison and Phil Spector than a standard country tune. Brian’s slide guitar solo seems to re-inforce this to our way of thinking.
Now lest you think that we are being overly critical, rest assured that we are not. As the man once said, “If you think this is easy you oughta try it sometime.” That said, we would love to see Brian wait a bit longer to introduce his “support cast” in the mix, and drying up the overall ambience of his vocals would also be helpful in our opinion.
Summary: Don’t lose that producer’s hat.
Contact: Brian Plamondon, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.reverbnation.com/bplamondon