Grassland String Band / Album Release

 

Micheal Lesousky / Grassland String Band /

Micheal Lesousky / Grassland String Band

It’s been a long time in the making and I don’t remember exactly when we started. I do remember it was in the later, cold part of 2013.  I also know they’ve really found themselves since we first started on preproduction. 

Todd Ferguson & Michael Lesousky hash it out

Todd Ferguson & Michael Lesousky hash it out

Grassland String Band is fronted by Michael Lesousky who was heart broken when we first crossed paths and it was evident in the demos we tracked at the pond house in Jefferson.  However, this new set of songs that were recorded between Chase Park Transduction, Studio 1093 and the pond house capture a healthy (14 tracks) glimpse of better days to come and an enlightened understanding of the past which aligns with Micheal’s reunion with a long time lover.  The eclectic group of songs reflect the family-band essence of this unexpected group of friends. 

Jody Daniels / Matt McLain  / Grassland String Band / Before The Feast

Jody Daniels / Matt McLain

The album features both up-and-coming Athenian musicians and some long time staples. Jody Daniels (banjo/vox) & Matt McLain have been playing together for as long as Michael Lesousky (lead vox) has been alive.  Their seemingly old time harmonies adds their developed sound that only comes from years of experience together. Their dynamic in the studio would make anyone want a life long best friend.  John Neff marked the album with his slide playing, Clay Leverett makes a single song appearance (Working Man Blues) and I believe Adam Poulin settled into being a proper comrade by the time we were done tracking all of his fiddle. It’s all held down by Nathan Elder (bass) and Todd Ferguson (drums).  The album also includes an appearance by Jody’s daughter Leanne Michelle (vox – Driving this Car) and Liesel Haldane (sitar – Indian Lover).

Jody Daniels / Leanne Michelle

Jody Daniels / Leanne Michelle

This album was created using some of Athens best resources: basic tracks recorded between Chase Park Transduction and Studio 1093 while delving into some of the most humble spots with overdubs taking place in my bathroom. This album represents tons of work from everyone involved and was mastered by John Keane of Athens.  

On August 30, 2014 at The Melting Point in Athens, directly after the UGA / Clemson game, GSB will release their debut album “Before the Feast”.  We are all invited to partake in the fruits of their labor. 

tracking group vocals

tracking group vocals

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Album review : Walking With A Different Stride by The Mobros

Kelly and Patrick Morris came down to Athens to record with me at Chase Park Transduction (from their nearby home of South Carolina).  Read the album review by Athen’s own Ansley Rushing:mobros

“In a time when lots of music relies on an electronic or synth basis, it’s always refreshing to find a band that focuses on catchy, well-sung melodies and solid, consistent instrumentation. Basically, I like a band that has a distinct style and does it well. South Carolina band The Mobros, made up of two talented brothers, are on the rise as a rock band that takes things back to basics. No glitz or glamour is really necessary to make their songs stand out, which is the way music should be at its core.

With Kelly Morris on lead guitar/vocals and Patrick Morris on drums/vocals, I can’t help but find them reminiscent of the early days of The Black Keys. Everything sits on the foundation of the melodic guitar riffs and upbeat rhythms, and not much else is really needed. Kelly’s vocals have that perfect combination of roughness and clarity that is hard to describe. I wouldn’t say that his voice is smooth, but it is always easy on the ears, as contradictory as that sounds. And they have the kind of style that you can listen to whatever the circumstance, whether you want to dance or just sit back and enjoy.

A standout track is “Shake.” Like most songs, it has a definite groove to it. I can imagine that every audience will dance to this one, even despite the fact that the lyrics of the chorus specifically suggest it. But while this song did stand out, I had a hard time choosing a favorite. There’s certainly no shortage of cool riffs with them.

You can tell simply from listening to the album that their shows are a rowdy, good time. The production is simple enough that the band’s raw talent is showcased. If you’re in the wonderful music town of Athens, GA, make sure to check out their stop at The Nowhere Bar on February 6th. And no matter where you’re from, check out their brand new album “Walking With a Different Stride,” which will be released online on February 25th.”

Listen to “Tramp Stamp” by The Mobros  >>>

Ansley Rushing is a folk and gospel singer, musician and writer with a passion for promoting great music and causes. She interned at Paste Magazine.

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whats up?

Tons. I’ve been working.  I just finished up a potently danceable rock/blues album with two brothers from South Carolina… more on that coming to the blog soon.  I’m thrilled to be in pre-production with Grassland String Band currently.

I’m honing down the excess in my life and recently quit the Georgia Museum of Art as a part-time tech. It’s still wreaking havoc on studio scheduling but that’s coming to a close at the end of March. It’s been fun, but I’d like to make time for projects that are more fulfilling.  You do only live once, make the most of it.

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Yazan undresses (his mind) in Georgia

the-gentSome demos I recorded of my friend Yazan a couple years ago had a timeless resonant aura woven into them – they were just thoughts at they time.  But they stuck with Yazan.  And here we are.

Yazan came to Athens most recently in early 2013 and put that dog to rest.  We tracked live to two-track tape for a week at the dilapidated and fire warmed Pound Pad (Jefferson, GA).  Since then, I’ve watch Yazan’s efforts unfold into what is an amazing album.  Next to his 2012 release Your Crooked Part, there are now two landmarks standing tall next to each other.

toxicwalls

Aside from his philosophical approach to life and the intelligent songwriting heard throughout it, one detail that makes his second album demand your attention is that for 10 days before recording, Yazan was practicing Vipassana meditation in complete silence.  Yazan speaks:

I myself was curious what the effect would be….I anticipated a heightened sense of focus and attention coming out of the course, so the benefit would be that I’d be able to “channel” the feeling of each song with … less distraction. I definitely found that to be true, but I underestimated how much work I’d have to get my voice up to where I wanted it to be after 10 days of not using it!
The song “I Undress My Mind” is about losing yourself in meditation, and while I had written the lyrics before entering the meditation, I was able to really meaningfully deliver those lyrics only after that intense experience of losing myself while deeply meditating.

Undress My Mind will be released on vinyl (w/ download) through Shoulder Tap Records in late August and is available now via pre-order.

yza_hide

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AthFest 2013 Compilation

ATHFEST2013Listen here! 

Out now, at least for an online stream. This compilation is a pretty clear window into what you can hear nightly in Athens.  From a Chase Park engineer’s perspective, it’s a great representation of what’s been happening this year in Athens.  Great showcase of talent, from Patterson Hood and Lera Lynn to The Darnell Boys and Brothers… this is free and probably has something you’ll like on it.  It’s like a mix CD from your friend in Athens, without all the work of a friendship.  And don’t forget to come support these hard working artists at AthFest, June 19th – 23rd. Tickets here.

 

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Liesel Haldane: Sweet Jaggery

tracking_february

In February Liesel came to Athens to break ground on her a solo project: Sweet Jaggery.  This architect goes inger/songwriter prefers her sitar and a nylon stringed banjo to the guitar.  She’s got formal training on sitar and is more in tune with her temperamental instruments than most of us are with our own bodies.  Check out her other experimental folk tunes via the link above.

 

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New Gear Hear

village-toteI was given an Oktava MK-219 years ago by my brother.  I’d always been intimidated by how unusable it sounded: it possesses a tonality colored  by the oddly resonant enclosure.  When I went searching for the potential resale value I discovered that a couple of small companies were making kits and providing mod services for these mics.  Being the hopeful minded romantic that I am, I thought that for an approachable $39, modifying this mic might be worth it.  I opted for Bill Sitler’s mod as he seemed like the underdog of the two available companies and I’m partial to that.

Upon my purchase, Bill advised me of the important dampening that makes a hefty difference: adhering some foam/rubber to the inside of the mic body.  The included directions were thorough, concise and included clear photographs for those who aren’t schematically inclined.  Continue reading

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