This is my first CD release in almost 8 years. (Way to Emmaus 2009) I have found once again, that a stressful and all-consuming medical practice makes Russ a very dull boy. In November 2017, I left my day job for good and have gone into the studio to write some new tunes and finish editing and tracking others that have layed dormant in the dark digital world of a rarely used hard drive on an out-dated recording computer. Without the fear of my beeper going off in the middle of a take and a good night's sleep, I re-discovered my passion for recording and writing music. ( It has been almost 4 months and I still have the phantom beeper syndrome- a sensation of vibration originating at the site on my right hip where I carried my beeper for 30 years.)
I used my life-long collection of acoustic stringed instruments to create new tunes and ballads of unrequited love, moonshine, romance and the eternal pursuit of the transcendent.
The 13 songs include three instrumentals and 10 original ballads. Some old timey style with clawhammer and fiddle, others with alternate tuned guitars with sparse instrumentation. I used hammered dulcimer, cello, fretless bass and fiddle together for what I call "symphonic folk" in another track. Another track is bluesy as I have always had a thing for the blues since highschool.
Some of the songs have been banging around in my head for decades but were never put on tape including 3 that were written in my early college years at Moravian College where I met Doug Anderson, John Gorka and Rich Shindell (Yeah, shameless name-dropping here)
Other songs were fresh off the press, inspired and energized by my new found gift of time and a good night's sleep. My biggest joy of making this CD was having my youngest son Benjamin provide drums on 2 of the tracks. It was difficult to get him stateside as he has been living in Japan for three years so these tracks were done during a few precious but infrequent visits back home.
Music has always been one of the greatest gifts I have had in my life and it is my hope that I can transmit some of that joy in these songs. Thanks for listening!
Most of the instruments were recorded with stereo mic placement using close micing techniques with AKG condensers and panning widely in the mix. Vocals were recorded with a Rode large diaphragm condenser mic.
Minimal if any equalization or processing was used as I wanted to highlight the natural beauty of the sound of these instruments, though some reverb was added to give a more live sense to the performances. Sonar Cakewalk was used as the DAW. Final mixes were mastered via the LANDR on-line mastering algorithmic software. Use good headphones or earbuds when listening to appreciate the stereo imaging of the instruments!
Instruments Used on This CD:
1960's vintage Brazilian rosewood Martin Employee dreadnaught . My neighbor gave this to me!
1920 Martin A style mandolin (I played this with the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band in college)
1990's Martin OM-21, 2002 Martin OOO-15 S, 1994 Martin D41, Flatiron F style mandolin,
Weber mandola, garage-sale fiddle, Chinese cello found on Craigslist. 2011 Martin Koa Tenor ukulele. Old piano accordion, harmonica, trap set. James Jones Hammered Dulcimer, Open back banjo, 1930's National Steel guitar, OMI Dobro, fretless electric bass, telecaster electric guitar, and mountain dulcimer.