F*%kin Bob Bradshaw. How had I never heard of this man before he called me to ask me to record his new record, “American Echoes”? Andy Santospago referred me to him, and I am incredibly grateful.
Bob and I had a few conversations before our session at Woolly late in 2016, and I heard a few songs off of his youtube page. Nice stuff, but I was not prepared to be completely blown away from the very first song they cut in the studio. The first thing they played was the very first song on the record called, “Exotic Dancers Wanted”. This tune has everything…..great hook right from the start, killer lyrics, nice space, beautiful ambience. I’ll say it again, I was completely blown away from the start. And the record continued to impress me as it was going. Not a dull moment on the whole album.
This was a pretty straightforward recording. The band set up live in Woolly, with Bob in the piano room singing and playing, either Andy Santospago or Andrew Stern playing guitar sitting close by, Ed Lucie on bass and and Mike Connors playing in the drum room. Nothing fancy gear-wise on anyone, which is to say it was a pretty straight forward mic setup. One mic per guitar, vocal mic (Neumann M149), bass was direct, and I did a variation on the Glyn Johns drum setup (we originally tried to use only 2 or 3 mics, but kept adding as I was getting sounds and wound up with about 8 or 9…single kick, snare up and down, rack and floor toms, 2 overheads and a room mic).
We knocked out a few tunes the first weekend, then I believe we went back in for a 2nd day of basics later on (luckily took a photo of the drum mic setup so I could get it back pretty quickly).
Over the course of a few months, Bob and gang came back in for some overdubs….James Rohr played some keys, there were guitar overdubs, some great background vocals by Britt Connors and Andy Santospago. We added a dash of percussion, some tracks were emailed from Bob’s pals in far away lands, and the record was done. I think it took about 4 months or so to get all of the parts recorded (only about a dozen or so sessions though).
Then brought the tracks to my studio for mixing. I usually run a fair bit of outboard gear for things like drums, bass and vocals, but I wound up using less outboard gear for the drums on this record because of the jazzy nature of the sounds. I left a good deal of the drums to be as they were recorded, only adding a smidge of EQ here or there. The bass got reamped on several tunes, and as usual I ran the vox thru my vocal chain (typically a Focusrite EQ, 1176 or Urei7110, then into a Audioarts 1200 compressor for some final smoothing). For reverbs, Pluto Plate, Master Room spring and SPX990, plus the occasional acoustic room. Delay was 99% Roland Space Echo, although for certain spots, there’s some Pro Tools delay. Lots of automation for these songs, as heard especially in this mix (my personal fav from the record)
Was a lot of fun to mix this…the songs were so good and so well played, that while it took some effort to mix this, it felt effortless and fun.
Check out Bob Bradshaw.