We rehearsed the week before.
Hellbound Glory spent two days in the studio with engineer Tom Gordon. Shooter Jennings flew out from Nashville and produced the sessions. We put down seven songs at Imirage studios.
I was pretty glad for the old stock of Sylvania flashbulbs that came with my ebay 330, but also found they were best at distances of 6 feet or less.
Shooter put up a quick video he filmed with his Mac.
Our first day recording was also the 30th birthday of the studio itself. That was neat to celebrate with them, even if I out of the frame.
There are some other shots in the Hellbound Glory newsletter, like this one:
We rushed out of the session to play a show in downtown Reno. I don’t think another person could have fit in the club. It was a great homecoming for the boys. Shooter Jennings joined us for some of his dad’s tunes, notably Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way. At the end of our sets, he and I did a few songs. I hadn’t played with Shooter before, but I was into the rocking version of Steve Young’s White Trash Song and Bob Dylan’s Isis.
We were back in the early afternoon the next day. I loaded up my second pack of Impossible film, PZ600 Silver Shade cool. I found this film more difficult to use, with most shots coming out too dark. Perhaps the flash is not all that powerful either.
I began playing bass with Leroy in 2005. My gear is pretty much off the shelf and not boutique by any means: Fender Pro 400 head and 15” cabinet. The recordings came out with some great big tone. We put our heads together and Tom put a small diaphragm condenser mic about 1/3 in from the surrounds of the speaker. He also ran a direct input.
When I started, I used my Dad’s Mustang bass, but there was something wrong with the pickup windings. So I picked up a then-new 2005 Fender Highway 1 Jazz and customized it by removing the tone knobs and separate volume controls. I replaced the stock pickups with some Seymour Duncans (though I no longer recall which ones), and put a Leo Quan Badass II bridge. I have only played with flatwound strings.
My new work with Hellbound Glory has a strong influence of upright bass approach, a core element of their live shows for the last five years. The scrutiny of studio recording is much different than the live stuff I have been doing for years now. But it came together well. Playing fretted whole notes that ring out clearly, but not over each other, is where most of my work is. In the studio, there is a lot of hard-to-explain nuance with timing. You want things to gel and groove and generally just feel appropriate. Though the songs are pretty short, there is a funny kind of time expansion that happens for me while tracking. The tiniest thing can feel like a big problem, but you have to keep powering on since everyone was tracked live.
At the last hour, Shooter put some piano parts using the beautiful Steinway Imirage has in their keep.
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