November 2011: Studio albums made well are terrific. But they’re hard to make well.
The energy and vitality of live music played well at the moment of performance is what we’re often trying to emulate when we spend hours and hours in the studio playing every part until its perfect.
Sometimes the energy fades as the process drags on, but we get so used to hearing the song that we CAN’T hear it. Good producers and performers are able to avoid those pitfalls and do. Creating a studio album that maintains the energy of a live music performance throughout is an exacting and difficult process, and it can be magic…or not.
With a live recording, if you start with solid performances by gifted professional artists, the energy is already there, and we would have to really work to dissipate it. At Goose Creek Music, our post-production process idealizes the audio environment because we are able to make considered decisions about the mix with tools and capabilities that would be difficult for a live engineer to duplicate, but we can’t change the energy of the performance.
In a live music performance you’re actually hearing a band’s version of a song at a specific point in time.
A studio track can easily be months in the making, and both the song and arrangement evolve over that time. Once the album is out and they’re playing to support it, the live arrangements gel into something slightly different than the studio versions. They pick up little improvisations, and get played with different band mates at different gigs.
By the time they get to Goose Creek Music, the singer/songwriters know the performance aspects of their existing material inside and out and we get to record them playing the song exactly how they feel it.
I personally enjoy those performances, and it’s a real pleasure to produce them for Goose Creek Live releases. Since our launch last year, we’ve produced CD and iTunes releases of live performances in the Washington D.C. area for The Sam Grow Band, David Kitchen, Danny Knicely, Billy Coulter and Jimmy Gaudreau. Our newest release, Billy’s album is a Goose Creek Live performance with an absolutely killer band. Also just out the door, Jimmy Gaudreau’s release is a mostly instrumental studio album with virtuoso performances by Jimmy and guests including Frank Vignola, Mike Auldridge, and Bill Brown.
Also soon to come are an EP for Lisa Taylor, a few iTunes releases here and there, and a whole new series of videos with Ruthie and the Wranglers, Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein, Esther Haynes, The Steel Wheels and our whole upcoming lineup of shows: Justin Trawick, Jake and the Burtones, and Janine Wilson. Whew… a lot going on. Welcome to Goose Creek Music.