Another year is here and despite living with the ongoing pandemic much has been going on in the Studio. In the past I mostly have blogged about the releases of my Software pursuits but there is a huge amount of new stuff going on in and around the Studio that I’d like to share. 2021 saw the beginnings of a new collaborative album project of Blues, Soul, Funk and Roots music with myself, Dave Williams, Dave Phillips, Peter Cox, Ken Foster and Connor MacArthur participating under the name of ‘Willie Mack’ and that is nearing completion. I was asked to fill in for a couple of gigs with my good friends Bill Pigram, Dave Williams, and Billy Boyington from the ‘The Incontinentals’ and found myself in a whole new band (and a new musical family) with them. The new collab is called ‘The Elder Brothers’ and we have played a couple of great gigs and been working on a set of Live Videos that we are excited to put out soon. I had the good fortune to do some recording work for bassist Larry Ernewein, vocalist Theresa Wallis and sax man Ken Foster who are all names that have been synonymous with great jazz for many years and through that experience I gained some valuable knowledge on recording techniques for acoustic bass and saxophone. My son Connor rarely lets the tubes get cold in the Studio when I’m not in his way and he has invested countless hours in working up some great new material of his own and with his two bands ‘Coparents’ and TVDog.’ His recording skills as writer, singer and arranger are improving exponentially, pretty soon I will be lucky if there is any time for me to get in there! ‘Rated Blue’ got to squeeze in a few gigs this summer and we also have an exciting new collection of Videos coming your way, the first of which will be in this post. Incidentally on the Video end my nephew Adam Caldwell has moved in close by and his talents with a camera have already been put to good use, you will be seeing his name pop up on many of our new productions. Songwriter Jake McLean (my former MGV bandmate) has just finished a retrospective compilation album of some of his finest songs that I mastered here as well. ‘The Roadies’ with Tony Straatman, Rob Blanchette, Peter and myself revived for a UWO faculty Christmas Party and that gave me an opportunity to shake the dust off my drum sticks so all in all a very busy, fun and productive year here at Bandshed Records!
It’s been tough to decide which project to let out first but going with the flow has brought Connor’s song “See the Moon Smiling” to completion first. Connor and I often jam together and switch off on guitar and drums, a few months ago he started playing this song on his guitar and it had a really pronounced and memorable earworm of a melody and whenever we’d jam I’d say “hey play that pretty one!” He had attempted a demo of it but it needed some more development so I suggested to get our friend and bandmate Peter Cox to contribute a bass part… We guitarists think we can play bass on recordings but Peter always brings the ‘thunder magic’ to humble us and remind us what unique creatures bass players really are.. Over the holidays Connor and I put down a Live bed track and Peter came in later to add his bass and during a recent Video shoot we put it all together in front of Adam’s camera and here is the result. I’m not going to pretend I’m not a ‘proud Papa’ but I can honestly say had anyone come up with this song I would love this melody and want to hear it completed. For me to have the opportunity to play this live with Connor and Peter is a precious gift.
For the gear nerds Connor played his Fender Jag through a TC Electronics ‘Hall of Fame 2’ reverb pedal set on shimmer straight into our beloved tweed Pro Junior amp miked with a Shure SM-57. Peter went into the board direct with his Ibanez 5 string and we miked up the Tama bop kit with shell mics and 2 overhead Aston ‘Origin’ condensers. Everything was recorded and edited using ‘Ardour’ for Audio and ‘Cinelerra-GG’ for Video in ‘AV Linux’ which is the production Operating System I develop. If you enjoy the song please gives us a comment on Youtube and subscribe to the ‘Bandshed Records’ Youtube channel!
With all that out of the way here is Connor’s “See the Moon Smiling”: