How To Make Your Self-Produced Album Sound A Lot More Professional

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Four CDs released this year Nashville Trax helped make happen

Planning your next album? Interfacing with Nashville Trax can help make it more professional than any music you’ve created before.

The CDs pictured, all released in 2018, demonstrate four different ways these artists chose to work with us to achieve a better result than they could do on their own.

The upper left CD by The Greatest Gift was an eight song album, one of many we’ve done for them. The group’s songwriter sent us his rough originals recorded with just piano and vocal. We charted his songs and cut all new music tracks. The group then added their vocals to those tracks in a local studio near them in the New England area and mixed there. As we’ve worked with them they’ve gone from playing on Sunday’s at their local church to appearing on T.V. shows and scoring hits on the Gospel charts.

Lower Left: The Swansons first album: We cut all the music tracks using our Nashville Trax A Team. Based in the Los Angeles area, they came to Nashville and cut their vocals here at Nashville Trax then we mixed here in Nashville using three different mix studios.

Country This has garnered considerable radio airplay around the United States and birthed two charting singles. We are now about half way through producing their followup album.

Upper Right: Rootstock was an album project we added individual instrument tracks as needed, steel on several songs, fiddle on a few songs, etc. simply beefing up the musical muscle.

Lower Right: This group is based in Norway. We cut every instrument track, they added their vocals at a studio in Norway, sent them back to us where we mixed and mastered. This Christian group reports that CD sales are going extremely well with many hundreds sold the first few days, nearly recouping their investment.

In each case the group or artist had a high degree of talent but no one is an expert at everything. We were able to provide top notch equipment, world class musicians, professional engineering to make their projects superior to what they could have accomplished alone.

We can help you too! e-mail nashtrax@bellsouth.net with a description of your project, what you wish to achieve and how you believe we might help out. Or call producer Bill Watson at 615-319-8616.


Welcome! To The Play It Again Demos and Nashville Trax Blog

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Welcome to the Nashville Songwriter’s Blog sponsored by the song demo service, Play It Again Demos and the recording studio, Nashville Trax.

Nashville Trax have been in business producing demos, master recordings and instrument tracks for songwriters and producers since 1991.

This blog contains numerous posts about songwriting technique,. music theory, artists seeking songs, song publishers seeking songs and more!

E-mail us at nashtrax@bellsouth.net or at piademos@bellsouth.net to inquire about:

  • Having a demo, master quality single or album produced
  • Adding instrument tracks played by Nashville session musicians to your self-produced project.
  • Live stage performance tracks made of a cover song or original

Here are some MP3 samples of our song demo work. We produce Country, Christian, Blues, Americana, Bluegrass, Pop, Rock.. you name it.

Studio News:

Fisher’s of Men CD makes 2016 Grammy ballot

Dan Thompson’s single, “A Good Day for Progress” distributed by Sony drops to radio

Camille Rae’s single, But I Want You, on CMT

Here are indie and major label song pitch opportunities

Not computer savvy? No time? No connections? You’d rather focus on song writing than on song promo? Here’s how we can promote your song for you. What a great time to be a songwriter!

Play It Again Demos is a service for songwriters who need high quality demos and CDs made of their work using Nashville session quality musicians and singers.

Nashville Trax is a project recording studio for singers and songwriters who either live in the area or wish to come to the Nashville area from other locations to record. Nashville may be known for country and bluegrass but these guys can play anything.

If you haven’t had much success with your music in the past using other studios and producers, hop on board and hold on. Things are about to change!

This blog is about songwriting, producing, recording and life. If we think it will help you out in some way, we post it. It’s free of charge and access is unrestricted, stop by anytime. Subscribe if you like, that’s free too.

Enjoy!


Nashville Icon, Mike Curb, Showers High Praise on The Swansons, in Vegas, accepting Country Album of The Year, Produced by Bill Watson of Nashville Trax

The Swansons had quite a night in Las Vegas this past Saturday, April 7th, 2018!

Opening the evening with a live performance, winning the “Best Country Album of the Year” award for the Nashville Trax produced, Country This and being singled out several times by the legendary Mike Curb of Curb Records in Nashville, during his acceptance of his Lifetime Achievement Award.

Here is one instance of several where Mike mentions the Swansons.

Could a deal with Curb Nashville be in the works?

Mike Curb’s contributions to country radio and The Nashville Music Industry are far too numerous to mention here but he has written Billboard charting hit songs for everyone from The Four Seasons to The Osmonds to Hank Willians Jr, Tim McGraw, Chris Young, The Judds, Kenny Chesney and dozens more. The Four Seasons Curb-produced “Oh What A Night” was the very first single in music history to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 and remain for over a full year.

He founded Curb Records which now also owns the largest Christian label, Word Records.

Nashville Trax producer, Bill Watson, produced Country This and is currently producing The Swansons follow up album.


Country Artist Cole Tomlinson Records First Single @ Nashville Trax

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16-year-old Cole Tomlinson, about to sing on his first single.

“Mr. Watson, I cannot express enough how pleased we are with the outcome. The sound is exactly what Cole wanted and you tapped into that. He can’t wait to work with you more and see where the other songs go as well. Thank you for making this process so easy!“-(Cole Tomlinson’s mother, Heather)

Even though he’s only sixteen, Cole Tomlinson is no novice. An accomplished singer, songwriter and guitarist he decided early that music was his focus. He played over 100 live shows in his native Georgia in 2017 and has visited Nashville many times to participate in songwriter’s nights.

After carefully researching the many possibilities, he decided he wanted to do his first record @ Nashville Trax with producer Bill Watson. And so he did. “Dirt Road Princess” releases in early 2018.

Here’s a sample*:

Musicians:

Electric Guitars: Brent Mason
Bass Guitar: Bill Watson
Drums: Jim Riley
Fiddle: Jenee Fleenor
Wurlitzer Keyboard; Steve King
Vocals and Acoustic Guitar: Cole Tomlinson

Produced by Bill Watson, Nashville Trax

Looking to do your first radio release and like what you hear? e-mail us at nashtrax@bellsouth.net

* Dirt Road Princess © 2015 Cole Tomlinson is provided as a demonstration of production values only. Any other use violates U.S. and International copyright law. Requests for copies by program directors for radio rotation and requests by other parties interested in recording or performing this song in TV, film or other commercial use should be e-mailed to nashtrax@bellsouth.net and will promptly be forwarded to the songwriter and/or publisher.


Nashville Trax Client Dan Thompson Receives First Quarter Airplay Royalty Check from Sound Exchange.

“My first royalty check for Miles & Miles release in the US… This is for one Quarter.. Miles & Miles was played over 1000 times per week in the US… it did really good.. Thanks so much for the great work Bill!”

DannyThompson Royalty Check

Read more about Dan Thomson’s Nashville Trax album and single releases:

Dan Thompson’s “Miles And Miles” Makes The Country Radio Most Added Prime Mover Chart!

Songwriter Dan Thompson Visits Nashville To Record Vocal Tracks For His CD Album, 1st single getting radio adds daily, 23 stations yesterday!

Dan Thompson Single “A Day Without Progress” Produced by Nashville Trax, Distributed By Sony… 28 Weeks on Sirius XM. Give A Listen!


Background Vocals For Your Project

In Nashville, we call them “bgv’s” which is short for “background vocals”. Two of the best were in Wednesday, Jim and Jaime Riley, pics below, adding bgv’s to three Swanson songs, the final touch before moving the songs on to mixing.


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While they can be somewhat costly, bgv’s can really make a song special; consider putting them in the budget of your next demo, single or album.

The songwriter this session was for, Joe Finley texted session producer/engineer, Bill Watson: “Hey Bill, heading to the airport and just listened to the rough mixes with background vocals, needless to say I’m in tears!! # Grammy”

We can add bgv’s to projects recorded wholly at Nashville Trax or even add them to songs in progress at other studios.

E-msil nashtrax@bellsouth.net or call 615-319-8616 for additional information or to book a session.


The Swansons To Perform With The Nashville Trax A Team LIVE SHOW at Rev-el-ry.

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ATTENTION Singer/Songwriters!! What better way to give your band a career boost than an album, video and show package featuring the same Nashville Trax A Team musicians who played on your album?

You get a stellar album recorded, mixed and mastered, footage of your rehearsal, your first single promoted on social media platforms and all footage from a two camera crew of the show that you can use for promotion for years to come!

A single release and vid starting under $2,000, yes, really! Complete 10 song album/show/video packages start as low as $15,000 and 20 song deluxe packages top out at under $45,000! Payment options are available. Get a quote TODAY: nashtrax@bellsouth.net

Note that the complete Nashville Trax A Team Players are only available to play live on release party shows playing your album of at least 10 songs and subject to the player’s schedules.

Here’s a Nashville Trax A Team rehearsal Tuesday evening, 9-19-17:

And footage from the show on 9-22-17:

 

Get Tickets Here

The Nashville Trax A Team: The sound of guitar on country radio for the last couple decades, Brent Mason: guitar; Rascal Flatts long time drummer, Jim Riley; Steve King (Keith Urban) keys; Nashville Trax producer, Bill Watson, bass guitar and band leader; Jenee Fleenor (Blake Shelton & The Voice) fiddle and mandolin; Steel guitar legend Mike Doucheete, all backing the highly entertaining, high octane Joe and Angie Finley of The Swansons!

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Joe and Angie: The Swansons

The Swansons have achieved considerable notoriety in the Los Angeles area. They have pop/rock albums out, winning awards and have built a large fan base. But after starting their latest recording project they felt the urge to “go country”.  They wanted a country album and wanted to do it in the Nashville area. After careful research, they decided Bill Watson of Nashville Trax was the best choice to produce them.

The album was started about six months ago and 18 songs have been cut.

This is their first country live performance, announcing their turn toward country music and releasing their new music to the public. Some of the musicians who will back them on the show:

Nashville Session Guitar Player, Brent Mason at Nashville Trax Recording Studio

Nashville Session Guitar Player, Brent Mason at Nashville Trax Recording Studio

 

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Jenee Fleenor, fiddle, mandolin, vocals

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Band leader, Bill Watson, and his ’78 Fender Precision Bass Guitar

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Jim Riley Playing the studio drum track to The Swansons song, Getting Ready 5-16-17

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Jim Riley Cymbal swells

Footage clip from the show, 9-22-17:

Valentine © 2017 Joe Finley of The Swansons, published by Listen Again Music (BMI).

 


Jim Riley, drummer for Rascal Flatts and his Drum Dojo Students Stop By Nashville Trax.

Rascal Flatts’ long time drummer, Jim Riley, (in chair left) one of Nashville’s best session drummers stopped by Nashville Trax today so the students sequestered in his Drum Dojo for the weekend could meet producer Bill Watson (in chair, right) and experience a Nashville style drum tracking session. Jim, Bill, the Bass guitarist/producer, and guitarist Brent Mason are the foundation of the Nashville Trax A Team.

Needless to say the students were full of questions but very respectful and polite…a great way to start a Nashville Trax day!

Interested in being a student of Jim’s next Drum Dojo Weekend? It’s only $850 per student which includes meals and snacks. Contact Jim through his web site.

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Los Angeles Band, The Swansons 1st (and 2nd) Country Album In Progress At Nashville Trax!

Day One of a full week lockout to cut vocals on 14 songs for the band that won The Producer’s Choice Award,  Best Band In Los Angeles, 2017, The Swansons:

The Swansons meet The Nashville Trax A Team. Left: The Swansons with our fiddle player, Jenee, Middle: guitarist Brent Mason, producer & bassist Bill Watson, Joe Finley of The Swansons, Right: Joe plays Brent Mason the new song he wrote during his stay here.

 

 

 

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Joe Finley of The Swansons trades stories with long time Rascal Flatts drummer, Jim Riley. Here telling Jim, he  has sometimes been mistaken for Rascal Flatts’ lead singer, Gary LeVox.

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Day One: Angie Finley meets Nashville Trax producer Bill Watson. Time to add Angie and Joe’s vocals to the songs Mr. Watson has been cutting music tracks on for several months. “Playing over 2,000 live shows I learned there’s a vast difference between a ‘danceable’ song and the next  level,” says Watson, “The tunes on this album are the prized ‘pull ’em out of their seats’ dance tunes every artist wants to cut and radio loves. People are going to dig this album!”

 

Be sure to pick up a copy of The Swansons country album when it’s released in late Summer/early Fall of this year!!!

Update 3-6-18: We have already started The Swanson’s album #2 and have about 5 sides tracked!

Ready to cut your own “for real this time” album? e-mail: nashtrax@bellsouth.net. Or call producer Bill Watson @ 615. 319. 8616.


Southern Gospel Music Bed Featuring Pedal Steel Guitar

This was a “for-vocals-mix” cut on a 12 song project collaboration from a studio in Norway. Eventually they will put their client’s vocals on this bed and send the vocals back to Nashville Trax for final mixing.

Title: Jeg Kantro Under Jesu Blood

Credits:

Pedal Steel: Mr. Mike
Drums: Jim Riley
Bass Guitar: Bill “B.E.” Watson
Piano and Keyboard Strings: Steve King
Acoustic Guitar: Tom Wild

Produced, engineered and mixed by B.E. Watson

This is probably going to be used as both a live performance track and on CD.

Interested in having us do something similar for you? Contact Bill Watson nashtrax@bellsouth.net or call 615-319-8616


Nashville Trax Produced Song Takes First Place At 2017 Christian Film Festival

“Only Prayer By The People”  won several awards at the Christian Film Festival (August 2017) including best song, best video and best artwork.

Congratulations to our cient, Songwriter: Michael Rourke

Lead Vocals: Nashville Trax Producer, Bill Watson

Background Vocals: Angela Derrington

Acoustic guitar: Bill Watson

Keyboards: Sammi Watson

Bass Guitar: Bill Watson

Produced, Engineered, Arranged, Mixed and Mastered by Bill Watson

 

Only Prayer Award Poster Aug 17 CFF (1)


Should You Have A Demo, A Master, A Single or an Album Produced?

 

DannyThompson Royalty Check

Dan Thompson’s first quarter U.S. radio airplay royalty check from Sound Exchange for the single Miles and Miles produced by Bill Watson at Nashville Trax, It did even better overseas.

“My first royalty check for the Miles & Miles release in the US… This is for one Quarter.. Miles & Miles was played over 1000 times per week in the US… it did really good.. Thanks for the great work Bill!” – Dan Thompson

Your song is finished, now what? You aren’t capable of producing a professional quality recording on your own so you need a demo produced.

Or do you need a master? But if a master, how do you get it on the radio?

They seem to have the same basic steps, what’s the difference between a master and a demo anyway?

You’re confused. Let’s clear that up!

As this time the cost to have  a four to six piece band with a session singer demo produced at Nashville Trax is $750 to $1,400.

Each song production is unique but, in general, the higher price point may include background vocals, more instruments, better musicians and more time spent on the mix. A demo mix requires between 45 minutes to about 3 hours of mix time.

You’d do a demo if initial cost is a huge issue and the song will be used mainly to pitch to music publishers and other A & R industry professionals.

Some of our clients have assembled demos into an album and burned it on a CD but in most cases they aren’t true airplay quality. If you want radio airplay you really need to let us know that upfront, bite the bullet, and invest the additional money to ensure we deliver that.

Some of our clients have successfully attracted investors with a demo. For example, client Chad Barnes of Phoenix Arizona was able to interest an investor in putting $5,000 into his song “Cowboys” based on the initial sketch recording Bill Watson made of the tune.  As the full blown production progressed he was able to interest an investor to put up an additional $100,000, presumably for promotion and distribution.

A master suitable for radio airplay typically lands at about $2,500 but could be much lower or higher depending on the same factors detailed above for demos.

While a demo might have one of our A Team musicians on it, a master has only our A Team musicians. Your master may also have a more intricate arrangement; doubling and stacking of tracks (the musician physically playing a part multiple times to thicken the part) as well as a more detailed mix requiring up to 10 hours of mix time.

You’d do a master if you are making an album for release and intend to get radio airplay.

Nashville Trax is a music production facility, we do not go beyond that role; however,  we have witnessed the previous successes of our clients over the years and once your demo or master is produced we have a network of companies who can handle your next step effectively.

That list includes music publishing companies; song pluggers; music promotion companies, concert promoters; distributors who can obtain major label distribution for your album or single; and yes, we can connect you with the same radio promotion team that obtained radio airplay for our client Dan Thompson.

Read more about Dan Thomson’s album and single releases this article opened with:

Dan Thompson’s “Miles And Miles” Makes The Country Radio Most Added Prime Mover Chart!

Songwriter Dan Thompson Visits Nashville To Record Vocal Tracks For His CD Album, 1st single getting radio adds daily, 23 stations yesterday!

Dan Thompson Single “A Day Without Progress” Produced by Nashville Trax, Distributed By Sony… 28 Weeks on Sirius XM. Give A Listen!

Miles and Miles by Dan Thompson Gaining Traction On Radio, including on the BBC!