Windows PC with Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 audio interface, running Avid Pro Tools with standard plug-ins. RØDE NT1-A mic for vocal recording. All other tracks played on a Roland Fantom G7 and Roland XP-80 keyboard workstations, with Roland SR-JV80-17 Country card providing samples for steel guitar, fiddle, and other instruments. Yamaha digital drum kit triggered Roland drum samples in Fantom G7.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: As noted above and according to Rick's production notes, all of the sound sources minus the vocals were via a Roland Fantom G7 and a Roland XP-80, two keyboard synthesizer workstations that work from sample libraries. The steel guitar and fiddle sounds came from a Roland SR-JV80-17 Country Card. So how did Rick do with all of this Roland gear? Well, partly that depends on your definition of "country". To our ears, until the vocal arrives, the track has more of a Steve Winwood "Arc of a Diver" pop vibe than anything being generated in Nashville these days.
As we have often pointed out in this column, there are homemade tracks that are intended for final release with all the polish and care one can muster, and there are others that serve best as demos to communicate musical ideas for later development. To our ears, this track lands firmly in the latter camp; as a demo, Rick's keyboard-derived parts tell enough of the sonic story to get the point across. That having been said, certain instruments like the bass, the pedal steel guitar, and the cymbals (with their short decay time) really sound "canned" to our ears. The vocals tend to fare much better, and Rick certainly brings the "country" into the proceedings with a twang that would do Garth proud!
Suggestions: We must applaud Rick here for his efforts to fashion a complete track with what most would agree to be unorthodox tools for country music. But now it's time for the song to take the next step. This recording is certainly strong enough to present to live players at some point for a redo with "real" instruments, should that be in Rick's plans down the line, and we would really love to hear it with a real band behind it.
Summary: Well done with the tools at hand. What's in store for us next, Rick?
Contact: Rick Edwards, firstname.lastname@example.org