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Readers' Tracks

Artist Name:
D. Smith   Title: Hello Hello   Genre: Americana/Country



Equipment: Pro Tools, Apogee Symphony MKII, Neve 1073LBb preamps, Waves Plugins, JBL 708p monitors, AKG K701 Headphones, Blue Cactus tube mic, AKG C414XLS, AKG D12VR, Shure SM57, SM7B.


“Hello Hello” is an Americana / Country song. Dustin Smith wrote the track, played guitar and sang the main vocals. Stephy Graham played upright bass, Christopher Jensen played drums, Nathan Emerson was on pedal steel, Robert Espe played the fiddle, and Brian Vanderpool provided harmonies and percussion. Brian also tracked and mixed the project.

Reviewed By Marty Peters

This month’s Spotlight is a fantastic Americana effort that shines from top to bottom with excellent writing, arrangement, performance and production throughout. From the start, we were captivated by Dustin’s genre-perfect composition. While our focus centers on technical aspects, a good song is a good song and “Hello Hello” fits that bill.

As for the technical, we found every sound source here equal to the quality of the writing. The rhythm section propels the track with subtlety and taste, we love the brush work on the snare, and the acoustic bass is beautifully captured with no low-end boom or woofy tones. The fiddle and pedal steel guitar provide a wonderful, yearning atmosphere that supports Dustin’s lyric content.

Once again, a superior arrangement carries forth here. The weave of the slightly panned fiddle and pedal steel was mesmerizing and perfectly served the song with well-chosen fills. Dustin delivers a heartfelt vocal superbly captured by Brian. The Blue Cactus/Neve 1073LB mic and preamp combo shines as one would expect, not only here but also on the acoustic guitar, bass, fiddle and drums. Lastly, we must congratulate Brian for his beautiful mix down. We found all of the sound sources to be ideally placed – vocals slightly upfront, rhythm section set back and the panned fiddle and steel providing some width to the proceedings. Nice.


As a huge Americana fan, we must say that “Hello Hello” was a real treat. D. Smith ticked all of the boxes in our view. We congratulate everyone involved for their skill and taste and urge all of you, particularly those in the acoustic-based realm to give it a good study.


Mighty fine indeed!


Bryan Vanderpool, [email protected]


Readers’ Tracks