The High 48s Bluegrass Band just got back from an amazing trip to Nashville, TN where we tracked our new record of train songs at Slack Key Studio with Grammy Award winning engineer, producer and musician Randy Kohrs. It was a short and intense 5 day trip consisting of a 14 hour drive to Nashville, three 10 hour days tracking in the studio and then another 14 hour drive back to MN – whew!
Working with Randy was a great experience for the band. Not only does he really know how to capture the “auditory essence” of our unique acoustic instruments (a big reason for going down there), in his roll as producer, he had some great arrangement ideas, suggestions for vocal phrasing etc.. It was really like a master class in recording bluegrass watching him work. His mic collection, boutique preamps and vintage outboard gear were the icing on the cake. For you gear heads, my banjo was recorded with a Neumann U87 and Royer 121 in a Mid-side configuration in front of the banjo and a Mojave Audio MA-200 off my right shoulder. They were run through Fred Forssell solid state preamps. Sounded sweeeeeeeeet!
Despite the long days in the studio, we managed to fit in a few Nashville sights, including a visit to George Jones’ resting place, some time in Ernest Tubbs’ record shop and a quick stop backstage at the Station Inn where we got to watch Stephen Mougin (guitar), Sam Bush (mandolin), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle) on fiddle, Ned Luberecki (banjo) and Daniel Hardin (upright bass) warm up for their set, that was a real highlight of the trip! (note: I found this cool review of the show w/ video)
Another highlight was going to a random bar to see some music on our last night in town and having Randy called on stage to sing a few songs with the band.
I’ll be writing more about the record in the coming weeks, but for now, enjoy a pictorial overview of our trip on the the High 48s site.