Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Album – final notes

Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Album Cover

Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Album Cover

Well, it’s a few months later now and everything is pretty much wrapped up. I had a few final overdubs to do, and mixing. I added a few last textural parts here and there, some guitars, keyboards on Madeleine Peyroux’s track, my pal William Cairn out in Toronto did some nice trombone work on Bruce Cockburn’s track, and Jesse Zubot came by to add some fiddle to the Jim Byrnes track. So much was done at all the live sessions though, that there really hasn’t been all that much added since then.

I sent off rough mixes of everyone’s track, and with a few tweaks here and there, we’re signed off on all of it. I moved on to mixing, which is where I’m at right now – about half way through. I’m just mixing one song a day, because I have a bit of extra time right now, and I like not having to rush. I’m mixing in Pro Tools, and summing all the tracks through a Chandler Abbey Road series preamp. In general, bass parts are running through a Purple Audio MC-77, and a Helios 69 EQ. Vocals are hitting an LA-2A (not always, but most of them) which adds some nice depth and a touch of tube zest and a Neve 1066 for a bit of EQ if needed. I’m using an API 525 once in a while on guitars, and everything else is running straight through Pro Tools and UAD plugins. I keep listening to my mixes to see where things are at, compiling them together and the North Mississippi Allstars track, which they sent me the final mix of sounds awesome and huge and LOUD. I wasn’t there for that session, but I’m guessing they recorded analog to tape, and really pinned it and compressed it when they mixed. It’s awesome. Compared to my mixes it’s noticeably louder, so that’ll have to get taken care of in mastering – probably my mixes will be slightly compressed and brought up overall to match Jim and Cody Dickenson’s hot levels.

The mixes are ranging from simple solo performances (john hammond), to full bands, so it’ll be a fun process over the next few days. The most challenging will be the track with Oh Susanna and Van Dyke Parks, where we created a 24-piece string ensemble with 2 players. I really want to work on that one to make it sound right and as much like a natural symphonic string section as I can…. should be interesting. Oh, and Matt Chamberlain added some drums to that one too, which sounds awesome. He added the drums last, which can be a nightmare, but Matt is so awesome it was fine, and also that’s the one song that we actually tracked to a click track, to accomodate Van Dyke’s string score, so the tempo is steady from beginning to end.

So I think that’s about it for this post. It’s now early April, and the mixes should be all done in a week. There’s 17 songs, which seems like alot, but I think it’s OK for a record like this where there’s tons of different styles, the material is so great, and this way I’m sure everyone can find something they really dig. Then mastering will happen and then we’ll pick a release date. There’s some talk of doing a performance of alot of this stuff with a bunch of the people involved during the olympics here in 2010. That would be really cool.

Thanks for keeping up with this exciting project. Hope you enjoyed reading about it, and feel free to contact me or post comments if you feel so inclined…

Just confirmed is the release date – Oct 20, 2009 worldwide!! I’m also attaching a copy of the CD cover, part of the extensive artwork done by my longtime compadre, John Rummen.

More info and order the CD here…

~ by stevedawson on April 4, 2009.

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