Tuesday Tune-Up: Eastbound and Down

It’s Really Happening

We finished our Indiegogo campaign with more than we honestly thought we’d get. We booked Chase Park Transduction. We’ve booked Drew Vandenberg. Our pre-production meeting with David Lowery is scheduled. Our flights are booked. We played the last show before we leave on Saturday night, and we played all of the new songs. We’ve got one last rehearsal tomorrow night. Josh is driving down to meet with family along the way, so he’ll be heading out before the rest of us. The legwork is done. Buffalo Jones is ready to go to Athens Georgia.

The Real Thing

I know I’ve bragged written about this before, but the studio where we’ll be recording and living has been used by the likes of R.E.M., Drive By Truckers, Queens of the Stone Age and countless other alternative rock superstars. I’ve been listening to David Lowery since I was a teenager, and he has become a friend. He has welcomed us to open for him multiple times, and he has faith enough in our music to attach his name to it. Drew Vandenberg produced my favorite Cracker album, Berkley to Bakersfield, and I can’t even tell you how excited I am to see what he can do for my tone with that studio’s selection of guitars and amps.

The Best Part…

…for me, anyway, is that the plan is to track everything live. I absolutely love recording that way. Look, I’m totally excited about all of that “real thing” stuff I just wrote, but for me, a lot of the magic of all of that would have been lessened if I were going in knowing that everything was going to be recorded in isolation. My favorite records of all time are the ones that are cut live. There’s an energy and a sound you get with a live recording that you don’t get when everything is tracked individually.

I guess I should explain what I mean by “live recording.” These days, technology makes it easy for nearly anyone to create a professional-sounding piece of music. Garageband let’s you play guitar riffs with your fingers right on your iPhone for Christ’s sake! But most of the digital recording software that is out there makes it super easy to just glue bits and pieces of a song together. Just watch this video that kills two birds with one stone — it proves my point and illustrates precisely to what degree modern country music is shit.

Modern “Bro-country” really is shit.

Recording Live vs. Individual Tracking

We recorded our first two albums in isolation. Our producer at the time was a wizard at recording that way, and he made them both sound great. But it never felt like the real thing.

You see, my first experience recording was done the old fashioned way. You can read about that here. We set up all of our gear in a big room, and we played the songs live. Sure, we went back and overdubbed lead guitar and lead vocals, but that’s it. Everything else was as it was played. Now, that demo was terrible, of course — I was only sixteen, after all — but the process was pure magic.

Buffalo Jones’ last release was recorded live in Josh’s attic. Opinions vary among band members about that E.P., but it’s my favorite. I’m not saying the songs are the best. I’m not saying the production is the best. Neither one of those things is true. For me, though, that’s part of the magic. We recorded that E.P. in a mad rush to get it ready in time for a Cracker show on a New Year’s Eve weekend. We spent months getting the songs written, arranged, and recorded one frantic weekend at a time because I still lived in Bridgeport back then.

I love that album because of how much fun it was to make it, and how well it turned out despite the rush to get it done.

Re-capturing the Magic

Recording live hearkens back to the days of my favorite bands. There are times when you can only capture the perfect take by doing it that way. Every band member looking at one another, feeding of the others’ energy. It’s hard to explain, but there’s a difference between me playing a guitar riff while looking at Josh or Jason or Andy playing along side me and me playing if I’m staring at the sound waves on a computer screen. I put more feeling, more soul, and more energy into it, I think. And I think the rest of the band does, too.

So this is it. We head down in two weeks to record what will probably be our best album. We’ve been doing this for over thirteen years, and it’s paid off in so many different ways. I’m incredibly excited to get to share things with you when it’s done.

P.S. – You can still pre-order the new album on our website. Also, We Woke Up and the World Had Changed — my favorite of our releases so far — will finally be available on streaming services on August 23rd!

One thought on “Tuesday Tune-Up: Eastbound and Down

  1. Pingback: Mantra Monday: Staying Disciplined No Matter Where You Are | Brandonia

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