The Man In The Distance Mix Finished!

Bill Watson, Nashville Trax music producer Nashville Trax, Play It Again Demos

Play It Again Demos Music Producer, Bill Watson

Jenee finally returned from Los Angeles where she’s been “working” on The Voice (getting pampered/living it up on the production company’s dime, LOL) long enough to get some real work done: utilizing her amazing talents to get a few fiddle, mandolin and vocal tracks locked down. One was the final track needed to mix this awesome little ballad, Man In The Distance, written by songwriter Kevin Wood:

Here’s a clip of the client “Before” Version starting in verse two:

Our “after” Version, same spot:

Kevin did a great job laying out his vision. A lot of changes were made though, there was some superfluous stuff. And the song clocked in at about 5 minutes, way too long in a world where “radio friendly” is about 2 to 3 minutes.

“The “howling wolves” vocal sounds Kevin had were interesting but were deleted in the charting phase. Several bars of music that served no purpose were axed. Also, Kevin put a tag on every chorus which wasn’t appropriate (a “tag” is when you repeat the last line of a section, usually verbatim. in this case with different words but it still made the whole chorus feel too lengthy) I kept only the final tag.

A little tightening, and there you have it, a song I think has a great chance of garnering a publishing contract!

Which version would you take to the pitching table?

After hearing the mix, Kevin said, “Wow — Nice!! You guys did a great job, and you are very skilled at what you do, brother!”

Man In The Distance is © 2014 Kevin Wood, posted by permission.

If you’re interested in recording this song, using it in a commercial application or singing it in a performing situation please let us know and we’ll forward your request to the songwriter and/or the music publisher.


The Crows Run Band Story, The Early Days: John Roebuck, Bill Watson, Nudist Colonies and Rock & Roll

One of the first Crows Run Band gigs. left to right: Bill Watson (guitar/vocals) Joe Patrick (bass) Bob Jay (drums) John Roebuck (guitar/vocals)

One of the first Crows Run Band gigs. left to right: Bill Watson (guitar/vocals) Joe Patrick (bass) Bob Jay (drums) John Roebuck (guitar/vocals)

Crows’ Run Band, began performing with four pieces in the Pittsburgh, PA area during the 1970’s. The group typically played five to seven nights each week, but after only 15 months into Bill Watson’s first stint as lead guitarist with the group, and with plenty of work on the schedule, they disbanded for a period due to personal reasons.

A few years later guitarist/singer, John Roebuck, reformed CRB in a three piece drums, guitar and bass guitar configuration that eventually saw Bill Watson return playing bass rather than lead guitar. Watson, who now produces music and plays on sessions for his Nashville, Tennessee based music recording business, Nashville Trax, soon began alternating between guitar and bass with lead singer/guitarist John Roebuck. Watson, predominately on bass, would sing 3 or 4 songs per set, switching briefly from bass to play guitar while singing.

CRB achieved a degree of local notoriety during the 1980’s with Paul Dennis in the drum chair. They won a local band contest in spite of competing against bands as large as six pieces. They also released a cassette album mix of originals and cover songs, one of Watson’s first producing efforts. After five years with that configuration, Watson left the group, forming The Billy Elroy Band with Watson on lead vocals and guitar, Don Plum on bass guitar and vocals and “Stitz” (Forrest Stolz) on drums. The Billy Elroy Band went on to moderate success, working steadily for four years, developing a sound that featured intricate vocal harmony, but it was without Plum, who dropped out early, replaced by Butch Curry on bass and harmony vocals. Plum wouldn’t work with Watson again until the band Sidewinder was formed by Watson and drummer, Jimi Miller, in the early 90’s.

In 1991 Bill Watson returned to The Crows’ Run band for the third and final time with Watson on bass guitar and the talented Mike Thellman playing drums, creating a thunderous rhythm section to complement John Roebuck’s powerful vocals and unique guitar playing. But after only a little over a year into the third go-round of performing in small bars, clubs and the local nudist colony, Watson, desiring to focus on propelling CRB to a level beyond the small bar scene, but meeting resistance, became unhappy.

Eventually Watson and Roebuck parted ways, opening the space for Watson and drummer Jimi Miller to form the highly successful and exciting five piece concert band, Sidewinder, with Julie Peterson on bass/vocals, radio celebrity Jimi Miller on drums, Watson’s girlfriend (later his wife) Rhonda Watson, a recording artist in her own right, who would later tour overseas, on keyboards and lead vocals.

Sidewinder was high energy, modern country, served up concert style, just as country rock was replacing traditional country music on radio stations.

Don Plum initially joined Sidewinder on acoustic guitar, but later took Peterson’s spot on bass.

Watson and Plum both continued with Sidewinder, riding the wave of success through various configurations, one with Watson’s cousin David Watson. on drums, until Bill Watson moved permanently to Nashville in 2004 to pursue music producing.

Both The Crows’ Run Band and Sidewinder are still intact and performing in small bars and clubs in the Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio area.


Female Country Singer Tracks Online Delivered Over The Internet

Country and bluegrass singer Jennifer

Country and bluegrass singer Jennifer

Click here to order your female country singer vocal track online NOW!

Need a female country singer over the Internet to sing your song and deliver it online so it will automatically lock up with your self-produced project?

It happens here! That’s what the Nashville Trax Vocal Tracks Online service is about!

Is Kassie the online female demo singer you need?

Is Kassie the online female demo singer you need?

Would Jenee Fleenor work for your tune?

Would Jenee Fleenor work for your tune?

Simply choose your singer, send us your rough mp3 so we can set the best key for your singer, record your tracks and send us a quick mp3 mix. You’ll get back a .wav file containing a great vocal track that will upload and lock right up, guaranteed!


Nashville Trax Musicians Getting Busy! Jenee on “The Voice”, William out with Montgomery Gentry, more!

Summer is touring season with lots of music happening outdoors so every year about this time most Nashville musicians see an increase in work. But if anyone doubts the economy is starting to improve, consider that music is not exactly a necessity and these professional players are highly paid, yet everyone who works for us seems to be just slammed:

Jenee Fleenor, fiddle player for Blake Shelton is in L.A. to do work for The Voice. Duncan Mullins is out with Steve Wariner, David Northrup is touring with The Oak Ridge Boys. Tom Wild has been playing on The Opry. Drummer William Ellis will soon be out with Montgomery Gentry to promote their new single.

And wow! We’re cutting lots of tracks at Play It Again Demos and Nashville Trax! Every one of the musicians listed here and on our pages has either been on at least one or more sessions in the past two weeks, or is scheduled within the next week.

Our Tracks Online service

Why NOT have Blake Shelton's fiddle player and session quality musician Jennee Fleenor on YOUR project?

Why NOT have Blake Shelton’s fiddle player and session quality musician Jennee Fleenor on YOUR project?

is heating up with another Bass Guitar Track in this morning to add to the 14 other full band demo and master recording projects we’ve been hired to do that are currently in various stages of production.

We haven’t been this busy since 2007!

P.S. Busy is good!


Red, White and Blue Songwriter’s Shocking Feedback On Demo.

Bill Watson, Nashville Trax music producer Nashville Trax, Play It Again Demos

Nashville Trax Producer, Bill Watson

I was nervous about this one, after all I practically tore the original rough apart and rebuilt the song. A simple copy of it with better playing and vocals would have sufficed, ensuring the songwriting team who wrote it would be good with it.

But I’m not in this business for “play it safe,” “content” or “pretty decent job.” The aim is always higher… far higher.

Rob and his co-writers are elated with the prior two songs they had produced here, but rather than imparting a “no problem, we got this” sentiment, it only increased the pressure to outdo the previous two projects. Patriotic songs can be exceptionally difficult, because to work, they must evoke passion, stir the soul if you will, without resorting to male-female relationship emotive techniques. The arrangement has to do it.

I knew we had something special going on during tracking but decided to hedge my bets by working on the morning of May 26th, 2014 long enough to mix Red White and Blue. Crazy I guess, but it felt like the right thing to do.

Mixing a patriotic “troops coming home” tune on Memorial Day? Making this song exceed all expectations was no longer a vague hope or abstract concept, mentally backed into a corner, there simply was no other option.

When the mix went out and I didn’t hear back from Rob right away I started wondering if he hated it but didn’t want to say anything? A couple more days passed and all I receive is Rob cryptically saying he’d listened “but had to run it by his co-writers and others,” I’m really freakin’.

More time drags on. “Man, I thought we nailed that song to the wall so hard we busted right through to a place where eagles soar and Churchill is shouting, ‘We shall fight on the beaches. We will fight in the streets, We shall not fail!’ as the allies begin the D-Day assault. F-15s are tipping their wings to acknowledge our efforts as fireworks light up the sky.

“What went wrong?” I pondered.

Finally the word came in today:

Hey Bill,

I needed to get every one’s input, Jimmy love’s it, as so do I , and all that I played it for, Jenee is really incredibly talented and truly gifted, You All put you heart into this song and did a great job, BILL U ARE A GREAT PRODUCER, HAT’S OFF TO YOUR WHOLE TEAM !!! So thanks! GREAT JOB !! GOD BLESS AMERICA !! Rob C. and everyone in Winston Harold


Avontone CK-7 Microphone Review

Nashville session musician Mike Douchette lays a harmonica track

Nashville session musician Mike Douchette lays a harmonica track

This “review” is a little different than most you’ll read on the CK-7 because we here at Nashville Trax own and actually use one. Most reviews are either verbatim copies of the manufacturer’s sales materials or written by professional writers who tested the product specifically for the purpose of writing a review. As a studio owner and music producer in Nashville, TN this review is based on my experience over the last six years.

Here’s the link to the ZZounds page where you can buy one if you like, I’m making no money from ZZounds if you do so.

The bottom line  is the CK-7 is a great microphone, although the applications are somewhat limited; in those applications though, it excels.

It’s listed on ZZounds as a vocal mic and for most studio vocal use it would be far better for vocals than, say, a dynamic like the SM 58. But there are many other large diaphragm condenser mics that I’d choose over it for vocals, even in that same basic price range. The sound of the CK-7 is a little gritty on male vocals which could be a good thing sometimes but I’ve had no use for it at all for female vocals, in A-B comparison tests it’s never once won out on a female singer.

Where this mic has excelled is on acoustic instruments. It’s sensational for acoustic guitar and just as good for fiddle, banjo and mandolin. In combination with a good pre-amp, it can’t be beat. More than one Nashville session quality acoustic musician has remarked that no studio achieved a better sound on their instrument, thank you CK-7!

A good acoustic guitar sound can be achieved with the CK-7 placed a few inches away from the guitar neck around fret 12. For most acoustic instruments you’ll want to use the mic’s roll off switch to eliminate some of the low frequencies. In most situations you’ll likely prefer the unidirectional setting.

Of course the preamp you use has a lot to do with how a condensor mic sounds. I use the Avalon VT 737 setup to the Avalon recommendatins for acoustic guitar. For drums, vocals, horns and other items you need to record I’d keep looking but the Avalon/CK-7 combo should give you a great sound for just about any stringed acoustic instrument. – b.e. watson


K.C. Steele Three Song Project Underway

Bill Watson, music producer Nashville Trax, Play It Again Demos

Nashville Trax Music Producer, Bill Watson

Songwriter extraordinaire, K.C. Steele, a.k.a. Kami Stackhouse, has commissioned us to produce three more song demos. These will be country, no-holds-barred, full band style including drums, bass guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, fiddle, steel and mandolin. One song may even get a banjo part!

Awesome tunes! Producer Bill Watson is scheduled to begin creating the arrangements, choosing musicians and charting early next week.- T. M.