The Latest Shows We've Recorded

Friday, February 29, 2008

Corb Lund, Roger Marin & Romi Mayes Song Swap

This was a really enjoyable little song swap from Hayes Carll's Stingaree Music Festival last year. This song swap features Corb Lund (site, myspace), Roger Marin (site, myspace) and Romi Mayes (site, myspace). The most enjoyable thing about this set for me is seeing the early, rough versions of several of Corb Lund's tunes that ended up slightly different on his latest record, Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!. Marin's and Mayes' tunes were also fine on this Sunday morning...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Horseshoe Ramblin Orchestra @ The Horseshoe Lounge

This was a fun little show from a while back with an mish-mosh of performers from various bands, clans, bars and gangs of Austin. Lots of great covers. Enjoy...

The Horseshoe Rambling Orchestra
The Horseshoe Lounge
Austin, TX
February 10, 2008

Lawrence Glass Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Will Sexton Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Johnny Dango Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Kevin Hennessey Bass
Reid Dixon Drums for most of the show, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Ace Harmonica
Lew Card Mandolin, Vocals
Reid Wilson Acoutic Guitar, Vocals
Charlie Faye Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Nathan Mayes Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Pear Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Josh Burnier Drums

Source 1: Soundboard Source 2: SPCMC20->SPSPSB1 Mixer: Presonus Firebox
Lineage: Mac Book Pro->Garageband->AIF->Audition->WAV->FLAC
Recorded & Transferred by Aaron Wevodau (

Set 1 (153:47.32), Set 2 (132:09.17)
These folks all play with other bands.
Support them all.
Buy their records.
Go to their shows.

Tim Hus: Another Great Canadian Artist

This post has nothing whatsoever to do with Austin music but I thought I'd just post a little blurb here about Tim Hus (site, myspace). He's a buddy of Corb Lund (site, myspace) and some would argue that they share a certain commonality in terms of sound. They've collaborated on songwriting and each other's albums in the past but I wanted to focus on Hus' music here.

Tim Hus has three records...2002's Songs Of West Canada, 2004's Huskies And Husqvarnas and 2006's Alberta Crude. Each record has what I would consider to be relatively sparse arrangements that work perfectly with Hus' voice and compositions. After a listen to each record, I am certain they're going to get more play from me in the near future.

My current favorite tracks are "Open Pit Mine", "Dangerous Dave's Tractor Show", "Everybody Likes A Hank Williams Song", "One More Oil Boom" and "Man With A Black Hat". Speaking of a man with a black hat, written for Stompin' Tom Connors (site, myspace), Hus has a great deal of respect for Canadian cowboy luminaries Ian Tyson and Stompin' Tom.

Regardless of who Hus counts among his musical influences, there is a great presence to his music that makes the music instantly palatable and immensely enjoyable.

Also, I wanted to mention that after listening to his cds for a few weeks now, his vocals share a certain Johnny-Cash-ness with Damon Bramblett (myspace).

If you want Hus' collection, you'll have to get it from him at a show somewhere down the road or send him a check.

The Taping 411 on Austin, TX Live Music Venues (Part 1)

I always have questions about venues and how taper friendly they are both in terms of the soundman, the audience, the physical layout of the venue and the atmosphere/sound of the room. Here's my humble assessment of the situation at the places I have taped. To Austin's credit, most places are ok with taping although their layout may not always be so conducive.

I'll split the list up into two categories, soundman vs. no soundman (aka the band runs their own sound). We'll start off with the soundman positive venues.

**as always, ask the band before recording**

Venues With A Regluar Soundman
-Continental Club, 1315 S. Congress, has some really excellent soundguys who have always been friendly towards me when requesting a sbd plug. The room itself has decent sound. If you're looking to just do an audience recording, you can put your mikes on the rack that is directly in front of and to the right of the soundguy (if you're tall enough). Otherwise, it's a crap shoot because the Continental has a lot of foot traffic during most shows and the crowd can be very chatty. Warning: for some louder acts, the performers won't run their guitars through the board instead just playing off their amps.

-Stubb's BBQ (Inside), 801 Red River, has some good sound and friendly soundguys. If you're not plugging into the board, your mike placement options are limited on the floor (standing room only with a low ceiling). You could probably hang them from the railing that overhangs the main floor (or otherwise place them on the 'balcony'). The room usually sounds excellent so if you can get a good spot for your mikes, you'll be in luck. Otherwise, I'd just go with the board feed.

-The Cactus Cafe, 2247 Guadalupe, is my favorite place to see a show. The soundguys are always friendly and accommodating. You could place a mike anywhere (and I have) in this room and get a pretty decent audience recording. Recording is easier when they have the tables out (for smaller shows) but definitely still doable when the room is filled with chairs.

-The Saxon Pub, 1320 S. Lamar, is an enigma to me. I know people who love this place whereas I am somewhat lukewarm towards it. It's my understanding that they don't give sbd plugs to non-band affiliated tapers and actually, they prefer to record the show themselves (as a a service to the performer) and sell the recording to them. In my opinion, the sound of the room is hard to dial in because of the shape of room (vaulted ceilings, big bar, lots of bodies in motion). I have seen some excellent sounding shows there but I've also seen the flipside to that. From a audience recording perspective, it can be a crap shoot. Caveat emptor.

-Threadgill's, 301 W. Riverside, has some of the best outdoor sound in town. The soundguys are usually friendly and accommodating. There's plenty of room to spread out and usually some tables (for your gear) up front if you get there early enough. Warning: I taped a show here where the recording off the board cut in and out. It could have been my cables but just be mindful.

-Jovita's, 1617 S. 1st, soundguys are friendly and accommodating. Since Jovita's is a smaller room, they don't always have all the instruments running through the board (especially electric guitars and bass) but you could do a decent matrix hanging mikes on the overhang behind the board. This isn't my favorite place but you can definitely get some decent recordings here.

-Headhunters, 720 Red River, a decent but small room with friendly soundguys. I've never been there for a crowded show but there are plenty of ledges and miscellaneous areas for setting up mikes and other gear. There are a couple of stages at Headhunter's but I've only ever taped in the main room.

-Momo's, 618 W. 6th, is a really excellent bar and club for live music. It's got a weird shape (big bar, oddly placed stage) but great sound. The soundguys are excellent but there is a catch. Some louder bands don't run all their guitars through the board. The other downside is that unless you're at a table, your options for mike placement are limited. You'll figure something out.

-Cheatham Street Warehouse 119 Cheatham (San Marcos), has decent sound and the sound guys are usually accommodating. If you want to do some audience recording, there are lots of rails, tables and ledges for you to put your gear. I recorded most of the 2006 Hill Country Mess Around from just to the left of the stage at a table and it sounded pretty damn good. Not really a bad spot in the house really but there are pool tables and sometimes a lot of people not paying attention towards the back and bar.

-Triple Crown, 206 N. Edward Gary (San Marcos), has an interesting setup. The sound guys there tell me that there's no easy way to plug into the board. I think all the aux jacks are in positions that are isolated and unreachable based on the console that the board is in. That aside, the room has good sound and you can put your recording gear on top of the board-console. The crowd can be chatty but you'll have that.

-Gruene Hall, 1281 Gruene Road (New Braunfels) is a great place for a show. If you're there for a big (night time, weekend show), the sound guys are typically accomodating but if I remember right, the board only has XLR outs so be mindful of that. If you're there for a daytime show, the bands are typically running their own sound. There are plenty of tables and places to put your gear.

-The Parish, 214 E. 6th, has, as far as I can tell, a policy of not giving soundboard plugs but I think you could talk your way into a plug if the band is ok with it. Right next to the board, is a stack of sound equipment where you can place a small recording rig. Anywhere else in the room is going to be tough because there aren't ledges and the shows there are usually standing room only.

-Antone's, 213 W. 5th, recently moved its soundboard from the balcony overlooking the bars and stage to right below the balcony. Prior to that, they would be accommodating with soundboard plugs but now not so much. On the upside, the balcony is not being used so you have a great place to put your gear (get permission first) where no one will be running into it.

-Poodie's Hilltop, 22308 W. Highway 71 (Spicewood), is a fun bar. Not a great place to record as the (band) performers are almost always playing off their amps. If it's just a couple of guys and guitars, a sbd plug might work. Anything more (drums, electric guitars) and the board won't have it. There are lots of tables and places for mikes. The soundguy there swore the best sound in the room was right in the back, next to the door farthest from the stage (with every person in the bar between you and the stage). I'd love to have someone try recording from there and let me know what happens.

-La Zona Rosa, 612 W. 4th, has a pretty strict no-soundboard-plug policy. On the upside, the sound is decent (it's a big long, open room) and there's an 8-foot high support rail on the right of the room that's perfect for mike-placement.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Presonus Firebox

Presonus makes a wonderful little product for recording live music using multiple sources (typically, a soundboard feed and combinations of microphones) called the Presonus Firebox. I got one about a year ago. It didn't work well with my Fujitsu laptop presumably due to all the extra work-ware that my company has installed on it so I got a Mac Book Pro. Lo and behold, the Firebox works amazingly well out of the box with Garageband or Soundtrack Pro. I use Garageband...

Anyway, I wanted to take a minute to give some props to the folks at Presonus. This product rocks.

Anybody out there looking to get more sophisticated with your live recordings, this is a damn good way to go (presuming you have a Mac, or at least a windows based laptop without a lot of extra malware gunking things up). And for a reasonable price...I got mine for $300 US though you can probably find something cheaper now.

Also, I wanted to mention a peculiarity that I've noticed with mine. When recording a soundboard source to Garageband with the Firebox, I find that as a band's set goes on, there tends to be some volume-creep in the soundboard channels. Aka the latter part of a show tends to be louder than the beginning. Having seen countless shows I know that this happens but what I'm talking about is strictly from an empirical point-of-view where I don't adjust volumes and nor does the soundman adjust the level from the board. I've gotten around this by unchecking the +12 db gain on the channels coming from the soundboard and adjusting the levels in the final mix (using Audition).

Anyway, thanks, Presonus. Keep up the good work. Someday, I'll buy a FireStudio and get even more advanced.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Passionate Plea To Anyone In A Band

Psst, hey you. Yeah, you over there, without a record deal with the guitars and the amps and the drums working your ass off to get your music heard. Do you and your band do any covers in your set? Unless you're Bob Dylan, Fred Eaglesmith or Billy Joe Shaver, I betcha do a cover or two. I've got a little advice for you.

Doing covers is a fickle thing. It's hard to do them justice when you do them straight up and other times it seems like you're a genius when you re-tool an old standard. You know...speed it up, slow it down, turn a rap song into a country song (Thank You, Gourds!), make an old country standard a punk song (Thank You, Social Distortion!).

If you're doing the speed-it-up/slow-it-down/musical-reincarnation of a song, I will give you leeway to do whatever you want. But if you're doing the tunes straight up without much differentiation from the original, I have a list of songs I would like you to avoid at all costs. Because everyone and his brother and his band is doing these. If we all gave these songs a rest, I think that'd be swell. They've earned it.

Truck Drivin' Man
Six Days On The Road
White Freightliner
Hey Good Lookin'
Folsom Prison Blues
Rock Island Line
Good Old Boys (Dukes Of Hazzard theme song)
Whiskey River
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain

and above all else...stop doing Wagon Wheel (aside: whoever that guy is who put Wagon Wheel out as his first single should ashamed of himself)

You wanna do a Johnny Cash song? Do "I Never Picked Cotton".
Dylan? "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall", "Shelter From The Storm" or "I Shall Be Released".
Waylon? "There Ain't No Good Chain Gang" or "Waymore's Blues".
Willie? "Shotgun Willie" or "I Gotta Get Drunk".
Townes? Don't cover Townes unless you knew him personally.

My point is simply that there are hundreds of thousands of songs out there to cover. You don't have pick a song off the top of the pile. Especially if you've heard someone else cover it already. I am available to give council to anyone needing help selecting a cover.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Star Of Texas Fair And Rodeo

The Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo is coming up at the beginning of March in Austin. Some great acts both in the arena and in the fairgrounds.

Artists include the Dedringers, the Gougers, Walt Wilkins & the Mystiqueros, Stoney Larue, Ray Wylie Hubbard, the Hudsons, Mike McClure.

I can only in good conscience recommend you go see Willie, George Jones and Randy Rogers. And possibly Styx.

FYI, The Fairgrounds acts are free with your ticket to the midway and the arena acts are separately priced.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Gunhands @ The Mean Eyed Cat

One of my favorite local bands is featured in this set from the Mean Eyed Cat (greatest Johnny Cash themed bar on Earth!) recently. Find them doing some excellent covers and playing with guests Zach Hruska (of Austin Homegrown) and Reid Wilson.

There are a few tunes on here that will be on their forthcoming release Country Strange (coming in March as I understand it).

The highlights for me are One Foot In The Honky Tonk (a Jason Ringenberg cover), Cold Cold Ground, Harps & Halos and Rainy Day Women 12 & 35 (a Bobby D cover).

Enjoy. Support the band!