A Hobo Bluesman talks about playin’ in the studio ……………………

This blog goes along with the recent blog that covered some important first concepts of making a great record. In that blog, which you can find elsewhere on my blog site, I stated that one of the most important influence in making a record is attitude. I then went on to shoot down the concept of click tracks. If you would like to read that blog, as an intro to recording, here is a link back to it.

A few years ago I produced an album for a Hobo Bluesman named Pinecone Fletcher. He dropped in this week to smoke camels, drink 3x coffee and jam on a couple of cigarbox guitars. Boy does a slide sing on a cigar box guitar through a dirty old amp. Years ago he called me and asked me to produce his record.  He had plenty of studio access. He had all the songs. He had a great set of players but he couldn’t seem to get anything magical on tape. ( He was using actual tape. He is, after all, a bluesman and the old way is the best way for guys like that) After a few weeks of hanging out with him in his small backwoods town I realized where his problems lay.  I suggested that he had to loosen up and start havin’ more fun in order to make the record work out right.  This week when Pinecone visited I asked him to write something explaining how we worked out the problems in the studio. What follows is his letter. Try to ignore all the nice stuff he says about me and read it for the meat and potatoes advice it gives. This is a guy that has been recording for a long time and he still found out he had something to learn. Also if you follow the link I posted for him above you can listen to some of the tracks from that session.  

—————————————–Pinecone writes ———————————————————————————————————–

Pinecone Fletcher March 7 at 8:30pm
I can’t say I ever really enjoyed the recording process before I met Brad Morrison. There seemed to be an endless queue of bad “engineers” telling me how to make a great record. Despite all their claimed insight and know how, I always ended up with some lackluster, boring, extremely forced & flat sounding recording instead of the record of my dreams as they had promised. Working with Brad I learned how to record a truly inspired record. The most important lessons had absolutely NOTHING to do with the gear, knobs, instruments or microphones. It was always about your attitude while recording.

I loved that any time anything started to get too serious we would take a break and walk away from it. The tracks always came out better when I felt great and was having fun, so we’d leave and come back when things felt less serious. Your attitude really does show up on tape. If your feeling serious your gonna sound pretty boring and serious on playback.

I also loved meeting someone who finally told me we didn’t need to use a click track. I can’t think of anything that can kill some mojo faster than that evil click track. Maybe some people are inspired while focusing on that intrusive beeping noise instead of thinking about what their song means to them as they track but I for one am not. What a beautiful thing to hear your songs ebb and flow instead of being forced into some kinda invisible time grid prison.

These two simple concepts really changed my thoughts on recording. Their was so much more I learned from working with Brad and I could write for hours about it but these two very simple concepts made such a huge difference I felt they are what I should mention to you all.

So kill your click track and stop being so serious. You’ll be much happier with the results.

Your friend ,



Well that’s it for tonight’s post. I am working on a longer intro to basic studio gear and the proper use of that gear. This is gonna take some time to write. I hope to have that post up by Saturday, 13th……As usual feel free to post comments and questions…………….

Copyright Brad Morrison/Billiken Media 2010


3 thoughts on “A Hobo Bluesman talks about playin’ in the studio ……………………

    • It’s very true! A bad recording is often the result of a serious (unfun) attitude. When I record myself, there is a distinct difference btw happy me and sad serious me… The happier the better the sound!!

      • It’s not just having fun, per se, it’s the proper attitude. Certainly recording a deeply depressing ballad shouldn’t be a session that is like a circus. Instead the mood should fit the music. The core message is that attitude gets printed directly onto the recording and is a key part of making great music.

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