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Current Tape Reviews

SPOTLIGHT 87: High Cost of Living
Artist Name:
Denny Earnest
SPOTLIGHT 87: High Cost of Living
Date Posted:
May 2015
Equipment Used:

Apple 20" iMac with Apogee Ensemble interface running Apple Logic Pro 8. Mackie HR824 monitors. Mics: Neumann TLM 149 (vocals) and KM 184 (piano (pair) and guitar amp), Sennheiser e914 pair (overheads), AKG D-112 (kick), Equation Audio F Series. Old Gretsch drum kit, Bechstein upright piano, Gibson ES335 electric guitar, Supro amp, G&L SB200 bass.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"High Cost of Living" is a male vocal blues tune with a decidedly New Orleans feel. Denny recorded and mixed the track, along with providing the vocals, guitars, and bass. Bob Britten played the piano and Mike Gillen laid down the drums. The finished mix was mastered at Hilton Grove in London by Dave Blackman.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 5
Recording: Laissez les bon temps rouler, children! It's "Mardi Gras in May" here at SPOTLIGHT, and we're celebrating with this killin' NOLA inspired effort from Denny and the fellas. It is one thing to emulate a style; we hear that sort of thing often at Readers' Tapes. Nailing a style this seamlessly is another matter altogether, in our humble opinion, but nail it they did -- from the writing and arrangement straight on through to the performances and tones.

Starting with the rhythm section, we absolutely love the drum tone that Mike and Denny achieved with the combination of the vintage Gretsch kit and the minimal mic setup. Employing only stereo overheads plus a kick drum mic, the drums have a fantastic (and authentic) feel that really showcases Mike's expert skills. The bass is kept simple with a round, upright sound that not only sounds perfect for the genre, but leaves plenty of room for the low end of the piano in the soundfield.

Speaking of that piano, the Bechstein upright miked with a pair of Neumann KM 184s delivers a fantastic full tone that is even across the entire frequency spectrum, righteously capturing Bob's spot-on styling. Moving on, how can you not dig the awesome electric guitar tone that Denny conjures up with his Gibson ES335/Supro amp/Neumann KM 184 signal path? That's some nasty stuff (the good kind of nasty!), kids. And the slide? Tougher than a two-dollar steak, as they used to say. Rounding things out are Denny's up-front, gritty vocals, again expertly performed and recorded into a Neumann mic, this time a TLM 149. Simply outstanding work by everyone involved here, in our opinion.

Suggestions: Let's see: great writing/arrangement, big-time talent, well-chosen gear used properly, superb mix/mastering. It all adds up to a mighty fine gumbo!

Summary: More, please!

Contact: Denny Earnest,
About: Marty Peters

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