Meet the #1 dobro session player in Nashville, Kevin Post. Kevin’s “little side gig” when he isn’t doing sessions is playing for the #1 artist in country music, Blake Shelton (of The Voice, multiple Billboard country hits). Kevin plays dobro and pedal steel guitar for Nashville Trax.
Equally talented is acclaimed session player Wanda Vick who plays fiddle, cello and dobro for us.
Need a dobro track on your song? Send an mp3 quick mix of your project, starting at the very beginning of your session (so the file we return will auto-lock to your song) to: firstname.lastname@example.org and payment ($95 per part) via PayPal.com to the same e-mail. Turnaround is usually 2 days or less.
Questions can be directed to producer, Bill Watson at email@example.com
Fiddle Tracks Online has been added to the Nashville Trax list of services! Now, if you need a fiddle part for a song project you’re recording at home, you can have one of Nashville’s top session quality fiddle players track just the part you need.
Why choose a semi-pro when you can have Wanda Vick on your tune? One of the most respected session musicians in Nashville she’s played on records for everyone from Taylor Swift to George Jones to Uncle Kracker!
There are plenty of fantastic live-band players, but session quality fiddle players? It’s a rare gift and only a handful of players on the planet qualify. It makes zero sense to pay the fiddle player down the street or the fiddle player from the hot local band to lay a track. You’ll likely end up dropping it out of the mix due to it being pitchy; containing inappropriate licks over the vocal; or having poor, thin, tone quality.
Pay not much more, if any, and get a player Nashville producers choose to lay fiddle tracks on hit recordings!
Coterie: A small, exclusive group of people with shared interests and/or tastes. A clique.
Cowboy songs may not be your bag, but you might wish to check this out anyway, it’s a great example of an independent project “done right!”
I had produced about fifteen songs for Brian Bergquist- country, pop, you name it- when he called me one evening from his home in Manitoba, Canada (I think he said the temperature was average, about forty below zero there!) with an idea: “I want to do an entire CD of Cowboy songs,” he exclaimed.
The whole thing was pretty much mapped out in his mind and it made sense: the musicians, the artwork, the promo. He wanted it sparse, to sound like cowboys sitting around a campfire telling stories and swapping songs. Sparse, yet high quality: acoustic guitar, male and female vocalists, and he just had to have a Nashville musician he’d heard playing fiddle on a TV show coming out of Nashville, one Wanda Vick. “She just plays so beautifully,” he said.
I discovered, courtesy of Brian, that there was a bigger market than you’d think for cowboy songs. There were cowboy poetry circuits, cowboy conventions, magazines serving the market, just all manner of places and devices to market a project of this sort. I realized an endeavor of this magnitude would eat up a great deal of my time but he convinced me it was well worth pursuing. And “cowboy campfire songs”….who does that? Very cool!
For the next few months I entered an imaginary world where men wearing cowboy hats and carrying six-shooters still ride the range; where cactus, rattlesnakes and campfires were part of daily life; and where tumbleweeds are fascinating objects worthy not just of mention at every opportunity but often the focus of an entire conversation.
And oh how I LOVED being there!
So we started bouncing his tunes back and forth. He’d sing his melodies over the phone, I’d record them into Pro Tools, figure out the chord arrangement his melody and lyrics suggested, record a simple rough with me singing and playing acoustic, then send that on to the real singers as a guide. Because he “wrote” a capella, things didn’t always line up in a musical framework. There was quite a bit of lyric revision and rewriting to beat Brian’s songs into shape.
Finally, we moved on to actually recording tracks. Meanwhile Brian was working with various graphic artists designing the cover and inner sleeve artwork. I was astounded when I started receiving the proofs from the graphic artists:
And this, which has the list of songs and credits. The lyrics to every song are on the back:
Just because you own a computer and software allowing you to design your own artwork doesn’t mean you are a graphic artist. Be smart like Brian and get the input of a pro. Yes, it costs, yes it makes your project look more professional and speaks well of the music inside.
So the project is now complete, the songs sound great, the whole thing has a cohesive feel, and the lesson here is valid regardless of whether you’re doing cowboy songs, pop or metal: to not limit yourself, take your time, invest wisely, and you too, can do quality.
Just as important, have a target market in mind upfront and ensure every element of the project aims straight for it.- b.e.
* Unfortunately Brian passed away on May 7th, 2013. I never met him in person but we spent many hours on the phone working out song details, discussing the music business and becoming friends. We often joked that we were long lost cousins.
Cuz, you be sorely missed until, I too, reach “The End of My Trail.” But we both know where this trail ends and the next begins; there I’m sure we’ll saddle up together once again and ride where the tumbleweeds roll.
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.
One of the best moments at the studio I can recall was the time I had acclaimed session musician Wanda Vick in to play on a client alternative music project.
Some background: Wanda is a bit unusual because most musicians can play one instrument at session quality, two or three max. Wanda plays seven. There are a few pro female session players around town, but far more males, adding further distance from the norm.
Wanda’s reputation preceded her and at some point I simply had to try this “female musician who plays seven instruments at session quality.” When I finally did she easily lived up to her rep and I’ve hired her many times since. A producer sometimes has to give note-by-note direction. With Wanda that’s at a minimum. I learned fast it’s usually best to stay out of the way and let her do her thing.
So I knew what to expect but my clients that day, songwriters Ed and Jennifer had no clue. They’re early twenty somethings writing alt rock and Wanda’s from a different generation, warming up in the adjacent room on bluegrass licks. How does this work?
So just as Wanda finishes tuning up and starts adding tracks on their tune, in walk two horn players who were scheduled to play on a different song later that day. The door to the control room was open because Wanda’s in the attached iso booth.
We start tracking and she;s doing her thing, padding exactly where it’s called for adding some tasteful licks between the phrases in the verses wherever I’ve marked the chart for fiddle.
Then she reaches the solo, and man, no doubt, it was just amazing.
We backtrack to the solo where I’m hearing possible harmony. As Wanda played the horn players had apparently felt compelled to move into the control room because there they are, watching Wanda through the iso booth glass. They couldn’t hide their excitement as the second pass on the solo built, increasing in intensity and passion as it progressed. She finished off with an incredible flurry of notes, in harmony to the first part she had laid prior, exactly what the tune needed to take it to a whole new level. The horn players, who really had nothing to do with it, were high fiving each other, totally caught up in the moment, and I noticed one of my clients, I won’t say which, wipe tears of joy from their eyes, the solo was that perfect, the moment so emotional. Me? I was thinking, “Just another Wanda session.” Emotional, spot on playing is what she’s about.
After the mixing was done Ed and Jen thanked me profusely for choosing such fantastic players for their tune.
Especially that Wanda Vick lady.
And if you ever read this Wanda, Producer Bill thanks you too : )