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SPOTLIGHT 82: Only For You
 
Artist Name:
Strawberry Alternative
  Title:
SPOTLIGHT 82: Only For You
 
Date Posted:
December 2014
 
Genre:
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

Windows XP PC with two PreSonus Firepod interfaces running Steinberg Cubase SX, Universal Audio UAD plug-ins, Waves Diamond Bundle, and URS plug-ins. Behringer Tube Ultragain, ART Pro Channel, Studio Projects TB1, Joemeek and Audix Mics. TASCAM SVHS deck (to run the drums and bass to tape and back).

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Only For You" is a male vocal rock song. Jim Kissling produced (and we assume recorded) the track. Greg Tyler (a.k.a. Strawberry Alternative) wrote the song, played drums, and sang the vocals. The rest of the band was Duane Harlick on guitar and Jimi Slaven on bass.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 5
We are hard pressed to find enough superlatives for this rockin' track! It's not a stretch to say that this may be one of the two or three most radio-ready, "pro" sounding submissions that we have heard in recent memory.

The sound sources here are like a shopping list of tone goodness, and the boys came home with their baskets full! We love the Cars-flavored electric guitar intro (and all of the guitars throughout!), and while we usually reserve emotive intro vocalizing for Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill, Greg managed to pull off his slow "yeah" without sounding cheesy.

Moving on, the rhythm section is tight and right. The drums are extremely well balanced in our opinion, the kick and snare tones are damn near perfect for this genre, and the fast snare/tom fills, which can often go south in a mix, are smooth and volume controlled, all without excessive compression/limiting we might add. Nice! Kudos also to Mr. Slaven for his driving bass performance. The bass is round and articulate simultaneously, not an easy feat. We have all heard the expression "tone is in the fingers", and that certainly appears to be the case here.

Continuing on, the vocal tone that Greg and Jim achieved in this mix is nothing short of superb. After our initial listen, we went scurrying to the band's equipment list to find out just what pricey, boutique microphone and preamp were used to capture Greg's performance. Imagine our surprise then when this killer signal path instead included gear that many of us own and nearly all can afford in a home studio setup. Another shining example of how, in the right hands, even the most affordable of tools can produce top notch results.

As many of you loyal readers know, we are huge fans of song arrangements here at Readers' Tapes. Smart, creative arrangements have enhanced great performances, from the Beatles right on up to the latest dance remixes, and these guys are no exception. We love the way that the harmony vocals and keyboards are used to embellish the track, and the electric guitar panning really opens up the center of the mix, while the use of octaves against power chords on the guitars gives them some nice motion and energy. Oh yeah, and about that sick breakdown at 1:35? Brilliant!

Lastly, Jim Kissling is listed as Producer in the band's production notes. We bring this up for two reasons. The first is that outside producers rarely show up in these pages, likely due to the fact that so many of you are one-man/woman-band recordists. The second is that the entire term "producer" has changed drastically over the past 20 years or so, so much so that it is often impossible to tell just what that person's role is in the project.

Back in the "good old days", a producer was often times assigned to a band by its record label to oversee the entirety of a project. A good many of them were not recording engineers, but had the organizational and people skills, and most importantly, the ears to keep things moving, much like the head coach on a football team. As we moved away from large commercial facilities and big labels, however, the term began to expand a fair bit. These days a producer could be -- and often is -- the engineer, musician, beat developer, money guy, psychologist... you get the picture. While it's unclear just what kind of producer Jim was on the project (he likely occupied several of the abovementioned areas), he no doubt played an important role in the success of this outstanding recording.

Summary: Rock steady!

Contact: Greg Tyler / Strawberry Alternative, gtyler651@comcast.net
About: Marty Peters

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