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Current Tape Reviews

SPOTLIGHT 60: So Far From Home
Artist Name:
Shawn Sanderson / Mike Sunjka
SPOTLIGHT 60: So Far From Home
Date Posted:
November 2012
Equipment Used:

Apple iMac 2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo with Avid Digi 003R running Apple Logic Pro 9 with Waves Gold plug-ins for eq and compression, Logic Space Designer verb, and IK Multimedia Miroslav Philharmonik cello sample; Grace Design m101 preamp for all audio tracks, Audio-Technica AT4050 vocal mic, Neumann KM 184 acoustic guitar mic, Shure SM57 to mic steel guitar amp; Mackie HR 824 and Yamaha NS10 monitors. Taylor 614c acoustic guitar, Fender Steel King guitar amp.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"So Far From Home" is a male vocal country/singer-songwriter track. Shawn wrote the song and sang the vocal. Mike Sunjka, who submitted this track on Shawn's behalf, played the acoustic guitars and the virtual cello part, and handled the recording chores. The pedal steel guitar was courtesy of Mr. Tommy Martin.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 5
Recording: This month's Spotlight is a beautifully sparse and haunting track featuring great tones and performances throughout. Oh, and the songwriting is no joke either!

As suits the genre, Mike and Shawn have done a great job making sure that the vocal/lyric is king here and they have presented it with a rich full tone that lovers of Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett would devour. As most of you know we are big believers in the successful "marriage" between the microphone and the singer. From the sound of Shawn's vocal here, he and the Audio-Technica AT4050 (along with the Grace Design m101 mic pre) have a very bright future indeed.

That same symbiotic relationship extends to the acoustic guitar sound as well. Mike's Taylor 614c/Neumann KM 184/Grace m101 signal chain sounds absolutely fantastic (don't those Taylors just shine in recording situations!) and the performance is topnotch.

We love the choice of the cello patch as a lower frequency addition. The sustain it provides adds a smooth calmness that really benefits the track, as does the beautifully recorded pedal steel. Nothing says "lonesome" quite like a pedal steel guitar, and Mike has done a splendid job in managing to keep the steel and the acoustic guitar from stepping on each other's sonic toes.

Sparsely-arranged songs such as "So Far From Home" can often be some of the most challenging to record -- not a lot of places to hide, after all. In our opinion Mike, Shawn, and Tommy have provided all of us with an excellent blueprint on how it's done.

Normally a Readers' Tapes entry concludes with a "suggestions" paragraph where we provide advice on fixing the problems we hear. In this case, well, we suggest you all listen and learn!

Summary: This is how you do it, kids.

Contact: Mike Sunjka,
About: Marty Peters

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Kef America

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