Recording with Mountain Heart

This week I recorded more sides with a band that I have done many projects with, Mountain Heart. This group of guys has more talent in a band than any band that I have worked with. They constantly push the limits in acoustic music.

We started on Wednesday at First Avenue Sound. The basic tracks are usually carried out quite quickly and then the rest of the day is spent doing overdubs and putting embellishments on that help with the dynamic push of the song. Jim VanCleve, who I have done many side projects with, is producing this project. Jim is the fiddle player in the band and absolutely amazing to work beside. His vision for where the songs started and where they are going is very strong.

I would like to give a STRONG shout out to Bruce Myers and his company DPA Microphones. Mountain Heart is an endorsed artist for DPA. Bruce is not only a strong business man, but also a HUGE fan of Mountain Heart. The last 3 records that I have done with these guys, I have called up Bruce and he has opened up the vault to us. This generosity has allowed me to capture the instruments with absolute detail. Here is an example of what I have going on; Jason Moore’s upright bass has an Avalon DI and a DPA Tube 4041 with DPA high voltage preamp. Clay Jones used a 1927 Martin and I mic’d him with a pair of DPA 4023 configured in an X/Y pattern. Jim VanCleve was mic’d with a single 4011 in cardioid mode. Barry Abernathy was also mic’d with a 4011 in cardioid. I tried the 4023’s on Josh Shilling’s acoustic and went with a tube 4041 and a Neumann KM84. The odd man out in the DPA world was Aaron Ramsey. I have a specific sound that I go with on the mandolin. I use a Swedish mic called a Thuresson CM402 and a Gefell 582. I chose this because of the color that these mics have on his mandolin and his style of playing. To round it this out, I used a KEL mic on a song that Aaron sang and a Neumann U-87 on Josh’s vocal tracks.

This is all that I have time for today. Until next time, keep experimenting.

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David Hall – A Biography Veteran Nashville engineer David Hall is a treasured member of the audio community in the country music capital of the world. His vast, multi-genre discography is a vivid illustration of why Nashville is known as Music City and also why Hall brings his musically diverse experiences with him to each and every session he works on. In the late 1980’s Hall began his career in Nashville’s contemporary Christian genre learning the unique intricacies that exist serving that clientele. This led to a steady gig at one of Nashville’s most respected studios, Quad Recording. Like most successful engineers Hall eventually became a sought-after freelance engineer and spent years working in most, if not all, of Nashville’s prime studios. “The education I had was invaluable. Every day I learned new gear, new consoles, new techniques not to mention the distinctly different personalities of producers and artists,” he said. Eventually, his big break came when he worked with Quincy Jones and Mervyn Warren on “Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration” as an assistant engineer. Soon he was getting solid bookings as an assistant with the cream of the crop pop/rock engineers including Csaba Petocz, Joe Chiccarelli, and Mick Guzauski. This brought an increased depth to his music-making abilities. He soaked up the years of experiences....learning as much as he could from their expertise. “I can honestly say that these men molded who I am as an engineer today. There is no class, no college, no course that can teach what I learned in their employ,” he shares. “I consistently and confidently use the things they taught me every single time I am in the studio.” As Nashville’s music scene grew and continued to diversify so did Hall’s career. He maintained his freelance status but worked primarily at Nashville’s premier studio, Blackbird. “I had a great relationship with the management. It was a trust thing,” he recalls about the arrangement he had where he was able to take recording projects from budget to completion. “It was incredible. I got to make lots of great music in an incredible studio. The clients, who clearly wanted the best when they booked Blackbird also got top-notch engineering.” Hall recognized immediately how essential budget concerns were to the clients he worked with, so again, he diversified. David works at several different studios in and around Nashville. With relationships at a variety of studios around town, he can offer clients various price points. Throughout his incredible career, Hall has been able to work on multiple gold and platinum projects and win multiple Grammy Awards. Perhaps the best thing he has earned is the respect of his audio peers.

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Jordyn StoddardSouthern Tide