Update On Kerry McFate’s Clarence Lowden Album Project

Songwriter Kerry McFate (left) and producer Bill Watson (right) taking a break from mixing Kerry's songs. Songwriter Kerry McFate (left) and producer Bill Watson (right) take a break from mixing songs for Kerry’s Clarence Lowden album.

Songwriter Kerry McFate (left) and producer Bill Watson (right) taking a break from mixing Kerry’s songs.
Songwriter Kerry McFate (left) and producer Bill Watson (right) take a break from mixing songs for Kerry’s Clarence Lowden album.

Kerry McFate will be taking his flight back to New York City tomorrow morning just thrilled with the experience at Nashville Trax and stoked about the way the songs came out.

“Bill, I’m blown away, I can’t thank you and your team enough for taking the songs I brought in, mere kernels really, and growing them into these fabulous recordings!” Kerry exclaimed as we parted.

He’ll be the first to admit he’s not a highly skilled singer technically, but he has a great voice and with do-over punch-ins, plus a little help from software, reverb, delay and EQ, his strong baritone, (which has shades of deep register country singers like Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Cash and Jamey Johnson) sounds just great, even better than he expected. He also played his own Taylor acoustic guitar and those tracks mixed in, no problem.

Fiddle and steel guitar are featured throughout, which Kerry requested when we first discussed the project, and sound super, thanks to the contributions of my favorite calls on both of those instruments, Wanda Vick on fiddle and Mike Douchette on pedal steel.

The mixes are finished on all three songs, which Kerry intends to release on CD under his fictitious Clarence Lowden name.

Kerry has the stereo mix .wav files as well as the (Pro Tools) session files on his hard drive. That’s actually the 8th or 9th copy of all files on 4 different drives because at Nashville Trax we meticulously back up on external hard drives in rotation at each stage of the recording process: After each song is tracked, after each overdub musician or singer completes their parts, and of course, after the final mix.

With these first few tunes I think we were able to define a direction and create a unique sound for Kerry that can be explored even further as the album is completed- b.e. watson


Why Nashville Trax?

Want great drum sounds? Come record where the great drum sounds are!

Want great drum sounds? Come record where the great drum sounds are!

Nashville session guitarist, Tom Wild, mentioned how well the CD he produced in a couple previous tracking sessions at Nashville Trax (for one of his own clients) with yours truly engineering, turned out. (We cut the rhythm tracks and overdubs then exported them to Tom’s hard drive for him to mix.) He said his client was thrilled, the entire CD came out fantastic and promised to forward a copy.

The music was rock and Tom reported, “The drum sounds were just awesome and mixed great, don’t ever touch a thing.” Most Nashville studios either don’t own a drum kit or have a tiny, constrictive drum room with zero ambiance guaranteeing “dead on arrival” sounds that require a lot of signal processing to make them right, if they ever can be considering the typical “studio drum kit” is probably assembled from a bunch of used junk pro drummers didn’t want anymore. The huge drum room here with a permanently setup Gretch kit and microphones chosen specifically for each drum guarantee consistent sounds, The only adjustments I have to make most of the time are volume to account for drummers with a lighter touch and minor EQ tweaking to a specific type of music- Bill Watson


A Great Day Recording Music At Nashville Trax!

Songwriter Kerry McFate (left) and producer Bill Watson (right) take a break from mixing songs for Kerry’s Clarence Lowden album.

Songwriter Kerry McFate (left) and producer Bill Watson (right) take a break from mixing songs for Kerry’s Clarence Lowden album.

Wow! A truly fantastic day today tracking the first songs for the Kerry McFate CD at Nashville Trax. Two days of rain welcoming him to Nashville couldn’t dampen his enthusiasm that only increased as the recording progressed. Kerry ended that evening with, “Bill, this is way beyond anything I could have possibly imagined, just incredible, I’m so excited!”

Drummer David Northrup laid down fabulous tracks, including a couple of country shuffle beats, for Tom Wild, Wanda Vick, Mike Douchette and other session players to build on. As always, the Nashville Trax studio drum kit sounds were killer.

Kerry played his new Taylor acoustic purchased just for the session. It was routed through the Avantone CK-7 large diaphragm microphone plugged into the Avalon compressor/preamp, a combination I’ve come to rely on for acoustic instruments and it produced the rich, full bodied sound with excellent articulation it always does. We’re getting a reputation for delivering excellent acoustic guitar, fiddle, dobro and mandolin sounds.

Part of the fun for clients coming in to town is hanging out with the session players between takes. Kerry was treated to stories from David about his recent gigs with Wynonna and other artists, a story from Mike Douchette about how, back in the day, a master tape with hundreds of thousands of dollars of work on it, the only copy, was accidentally erased by some drunk guys clowning around who decided it would be a good idea to record their antics and grabbed the wrong tape to record over. Just lots of priceless stuff I’m sure Kerry will delight in sharing with everyone back home.

Tom Wild played two of the tunes on the same rig he used to played The Opry this past weekend, a maple Telecaster direct through his pedal board that could have easily passed for a Fender Twin Reverb amp.

Early vocal tracking on Kerry’s project, then mix tomorrow, I can’t wait to get at these fabulous tracks!- b.e.


Traditional Country Song Pitch Opportunity

Play It Again Engineer Mixing A Song Demo

Play It Again Engineer Mixing A Song Demo. Why not yours?

If you have an uptempo traditional country song you’ve been holding back here’s a great excuse to have a demo made at Play It Again Demos and pitch it.

Garrett Miles is seeking uptempo traditional country. He is playing bars and concerts, has built a large fan base and has opened for several well known country acts. This may offer an excellent chance to get a cut before he signs a major label deal.

Some new songwriters can’t understand why they’d want to give first rights on a song to a rising star instead of holding out for an established artist. Agreed, it’s a gamble. But imagine, if you had a cut on an early Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift….you name the artist… CD, it would have forever given you a credit that meant something as well as exposure for possible future covers of your song. And it’s generally easier to get a thumbs up on a song pitch at this point in a career.

Send your uptempo country tune in and if we agree it fits the pitch request, we’ll cut it at a discount rate (15% off our most recent order form rate*) and submit it for the project. Of course you’ll retain all rights.

*Discount offer does not apply to projects already agreed to or already in production.


Christian Songs About Faith

Here is an inspiring collection of faith building contemporary Christian song videos:

Christian Songs About Faith

There are songs by Kutless, Building 429, Chris Tomlin and more. Listen long enough and you’ll hear the same songs on Christian radio but here they’re back-to-back in a powerful, faith building array!

Faith vs. logic? Faith is everything.

Jesus is like a fantastic pair of shoes that don’t look all that comfortable to walk in and aren’t as fancy as some options but try them on in faith. Experience how much lighter your step is, how much farther you can go with them than without, and how much better you feel with them on; you’ll wear them every chance you get. Get Him living inside you and you’ll never want to be without Him.

Logic tells us to strike back at our enemies. Jesus says love them.

Logic says crush your competition. Jesus says to be counter-intuitive, help them out instead. Have faith that your work won’t decrease. Know that all your work comes from Him and He will bless you with even more.

Logic says if there’s a God he’d surely respect the highly intelligent, the rich, the powerful. But Jesus, God in the flesh, walked the earth hanging out with the weak, the despised, the blind, the poor.
Your logic skills won’t impress Him. Your IQ won’t save you. Your love will.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – John 20:29