Monday, March 8, 2010

I am unworthy. Two months and no posts.

It has been busy. I finished Tiana's first two CDs, and she came out and made another one in about two hours (!), which I told her I couldn't edit and mix until May or something, because I must get going on my own project. Still, you've got to be impressed with someone who is this prolific, and I can tell you, these are three CDs with really good songs and inspired performances. Richard Kriehn is almost done with his project, with one more track to go, a Brazilian mandolin tune.

I had wanted to show an early spring image of the prairie project, but the photo I took from the same angle as the one last fall still looked pretty similar. You have to look closer to see the excitement there, so that will have to wait a month or so.

Well, so how about this. Richard Kriehn and I decided to sit down and see what we could do with the traditional American fiddle tune, "St. Anne's Reel," for his CD. It ended up just being mandolin and banjo, but it got me to pull out the standard steel-stringed banjo, which I hadn't played seriously in awhile, having lost myself in the gourd banjo lately. My first versions were too close to the melody of the tune but what was needed was simpler and more rhythmic. I really like where it ended up, but after several days of playing pretty hard on those strings I had a seriously shredded fingernail.

Listen to "St. Anne's Reel"

My technique for recording the banjo is unusual--at least I haven't seen anyone else use it. I use a stereo pair of Neumann KM-84 small diaphragm condensor mics, one in front on the head of the banjo, and one coming in from behind (so the instrument has to be an open back banjo), with the two mics panned hard right and left. I also used it on the Paul Anders' banjo on the Steptoe recording of "Raleigh and Spencer" which you can hear on my website too.

1 comment:

  1. St. Anne's reel is delightful--thanks for posting it!