Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Live from SugarHill featuring Robert Ellis

Live from SugarHill: Robert Ellis from Dan Workman on Vimeo.

We've started a new radio/television show, broadcast live on the internet from SugarHill's legendary Studio A. The show is built around how actual recording sessions are run, but with a live performance imperative. We had our first show last month. Here's a clip of Robert Ellis performing. Our next live broadcast will be on Feb. 5th. I'll post the link and times later in January.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jennifer Grassman Video Release

Many of you already know about Jennifer Grassman. She's my friend as well as one of the artists that I produce for TLM Productions. Ross Wells of Zenfilm, became interested in her song, Pretty Girls, after I started singing her praises. Mike Thompson of Ivory Tower Productions produced the song, and TLMP released the CD on which it appears: At the Back of the North Wind.

A legion of my friends and colleagues worked to make this happen. This includes Jennifer's family who sewed costumes, made props, and played parts in the film. There is a complete list of credits on the vimeo.com site that hosts the video. Major props to Jennifer for writing and performing such a compelling song, and to Ross who's vision and persistence brought the project to light.

Jennifer Grassman "Pretty Girls" Music Video from W. Ross Wells on Vimeo.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Blue Hit & Debbie Forrest & The Southern Backtones

I finally got to record The Blue Hit! We did a week in Studio B here at SugarHill. This was a long time coming. The band was brought to my attention by Brian Trafton of Wounded Rabbit Productions about a year and a half ago. We started talking, and we went through two different scenarios, but couldn't find a way to make it work. Fast forward to October 2008, and, BAM, we made it happen.

Grace Roland, Demo Moss, and John McGee joined me and engineer John Griffin in a cool, week-long, trip through their songs. Chris Couri assisted and provided for our every need--including an autoharp and a killer set of Musser vibes. The band's sound is minimal and delicate (voice, acoustic guitar, and cello), and yet has a finely modulated power behind it. John Griffin hooked us up with some amazing sounds, and the band's performances were generous, and magical. The photos below were taken by Demo's brother, Manny Moss.

John McGee, Dan Workman, Grace Rowland, Chris Couri, John Griffin and Demo Moss

Demo, John, Demo's brother and photographer Manny, and Grace

Now it's up to me to edit and mix. I hope that John Griffin will be helping on those chores as well. I'll probably report as the mixes progress over the holiday.

Another project that is finishing up right now is singer song writers, Debbie Forrest and Alex Anderson. Debbie and I began talks about a year ago. (Just change the names in paragraph one above, and you will get the picture on the time line quite nicely). I had the pleasure of working with Debbie and Alex on their song, You Picked Me. Debbie has strong country and bluegrass roots, but we took the song in more of a 'very modern pop song with folk tendencies'. This is my description and is not officially endorsed by the artists. Anyway, the mix is up for approval, and we are poised to master this week.

I spent last Saturday with Hank Schyma recording vocals for The Southern Backtone's next CD. Hank got himself a laptop with some recording software, and came in totally prepared. He just kept nailing part after part, and his arrangement ideas were cogent and well rehearsed. While we were working I suddenly realized that I had not been giving him any feedback or direction. Like none. At all. He didn't need it. So I got to stay in 'engineer mode' much more than usual. I had a blast, and so did he. Now I just have to edit, record some strings and horns, and pass the project along to Steve Christensen to mix. BTW: Steve is in Nashville as I type working with Steve Earl on his new record. Way to go, Steve!

More Blue Hit photos by Manny Moss: