Basket Case: A Nashville Session Player Band

Basket Case

Basket Case

Basket Case at 3rd & Lindsley, Left to Rt: Steve King (keyboard); Holly Steele (background vocals); Rodney Ingle (background vocals); Tom Wild (guitar); Kristen McNamara (lead vocals); Bill Watson (bass guitar/bandleader); Tigar Bell (fiddle) ; John Heinrick, (sax). Background: David Northrup, (drums).

I received the first e-mail from songwriter Jon Smith back in my short hair days, 2005 I believe, saying he was disappointed with the work he’d received on his songs at several other Nashville studios and asking that 5 songs be produced for him at a budget far higher than any I’d experienced up to that point. The previous attempts to record his songs were interesting and the musicians competent, Jon said, but the music was flat, bland. There was no magic that he was sure was there.

We found it.

That initial e-mail led to multiple sessions totaling over 80 songs, a friendship, lots of rehearsals at S.I.R, and Soundcheck Nashville, a CD release, two videos and this live band that played Jon Smith tunes at venues in the greater Nashville area. What great fun it was!

Over the years of producing those sessions I used a lot of different top Nashville session players, excellent musicians all, but when Jon asked that a band be assembled so he could hear his songs performed live, I chose the ones I considered not just great musicians and singers, but also friends.

And my friends came through big time, the band sounded fantastic!

We initially resisted Jon’s suggestion that the male members wear white coats, but it turned out to be simply one more stroke of Jon genius. We only did a few gigs but quickly became known as “the white coat band” and it was memorable enough people still mention it occasionally, always referencing the white coats.

Here’s a swingin’ little tune that always made the setlist:

My Tears Are Puttin’ Out Your Fire is © 2007 Jon Smith. Co-writers: Jon Smith/Bill Watson, produced by Bill Watson. Used by permission.

That’s the studio version of MTAPOYF I produced in ’07 using mostly the same band pictured above.

Jon’s work was where I learned how to use horns effectively as opposed to creating a train wreck. Arranging, doubling, combining different horns together, stabs, swells, stacked horn tracks… if you have a tune you need sax, trumpet, clarinet or trombone on, or any combination of them, you’re at the right place! Send out an e-mail to nashtrax@bellsouth.net and ask for a quote!

I have the vids around of the band yet too and when I get around to it, will post some footage- b.e.

David Northrup & Bill Watson in a Basket Case video capture

Left: David Northrup drums, Bill Watson Bass Guitar. No wonder the band was called Basket Case. Two prime examples for sure!


Who Cares What The Deputy Thinks? Will A One Man Band Do?

Bill Watson

Bill Watson

If you can’t afford an “all session player” recording perhaps a one man band recording will work?

I just did two of these for a songwriting duo based in Antioch, TN (just east of Nashville).

For her first project I programmed the drums and Diane, the female half of the duo, was quite happy with it but I recommended hiring session player Jim Riley (long time Rascal Flatts drummer and percussionist) for her second go-round and a session singer who did both lead and background vocals.

Her comments:

“THANK YOU! It’s PERFECT! Thank you so much, Bill. This is so great. I can’t thank you enough. Real drums really make a difference too, huh? ![*:D big grin](Will we be able to get a copy of just instrumental and instrumental + background vocals? You really outdid yourself. Thank you, again. D”

I can program a drum pattern and build your song track-by-track with me playing all or at least most of the instruments OR I can call in a session drummer and then build from that the same way.

Why? Because it will save you some bucks, nothing is more efficient than one guy with some chops knocking it out.

So here’s a sample that can best be described as total strangeness, lol, but it does demonstrate my abilities fairly well.

One-man-band style, I wrote it, played the guitars and other instruments, plus sang the vocals (if you want to call it singing) through a harmonizer, produced, arranged & mixed.

I programmed this particular drum track on the Roland R-8 machine.

That bizarre melody thing happening through the intro, repeated just after on guitar, that sounds like it must be a synthesized kazoo part or something? Nope, vocal through a vocal effects processor.

Weirdness.

That spacey, wild electric lead guitar? If you think it might work, I can lay a track like that on your song, just reference this post and ask.

So, would a one-man-band type of demo do for your needs?

Pricing on one-man-band projects is less than for a full band of pro session players and, depending on your goal for the project, may suit your needs.

Please note that one-man-band skills are limited to drum programming, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar (acoustic or electric) and keyboard sounds like strings, choirs,  B3 patch, assorted pad sounds, and such.

I can play piano to a degree but some songs may be above my skill level and a real piano guy may need to be hired. Some pop and rap is better with a drum program and/or drum loops but for most styles a real drummer does make a difference.

Who Cares What The Deputy Thinks is © 2016, Bill Watson. For demonstration purposes only. Any other use is a violation of U.S. and International copyright law.

Think a one man band demo will work for you? Shoot us an e-mail at nashtrax@bellsouth.net with your rough mp3 version attached and request a quote today!b.e.