To call Jen Foster a singer/songwriter and leave it at that would be doing one of Houston’s finest a gross disservice. A complete solo artist in the truest sense of the term, Jen writes and performs her own award-winning music, runs her own record label, provides music for film and TV, and somehow manages to tour to packed houses and festivals all over the country. So far, she’s shared the stage with Melissa Etheridge, Brandi Carlisle, Edwin McCain, and many more. Oh, and she’s also on the Board of Directors for the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International.
Jen’s also a proud believer in music as a force for change, and is the architect behind songwriter series The Writer’s Share, which brought together Richard Marx, Keb’ Mo, Mike Reid, and Chuck Cannon to benefit the TJ Martell Foundation for Cancer, Leukemia, and AIDS. She followed up with the Christmas Time is Here video collaboration project and She4Marriage Equality.
A model Nimbit user as well, Jen’s slinging no fewer than four full-length albums, 11 singles, and a veritable summer collection of fashionable Foster-branded wearables, including beanies, rings, tank tops, t-shirts, bracelets, and—in perhaps a Nimbit merch first—CUSTOM DOG TAGS!
Johnny A. is the torchbearer instrumental guitar rock needs in 2014. One doesn’t have to listen too far into his discography to hear echoes of Duane Eddy and Link Wray alongside his intimidating blues chops—some admittedly big shoes to fill. But with a Blues Artist of the Year Award (2010) and a namesake signature guitar available from some company called “Gibson,” it’s safe to say that Johnny A. is the right guy for the job.
His latest record, the appropriately-titled Driven, might just be the perfect soundtrack for a road trip through the American desert southwest. A solo album in the truest sense, Johnny played all the instruments himself, produced, and mixed! His gritty tones are suitably mixed front-and-center, of course, dialed in with just the right amount of gut and reverb to evoke both danger and beauty in equal measure. Throughout the record, his guitars are balanced with a tastefully diverse array of percussion and horns. And hell, a little pedal steel never hurt anybody.
Johnny’s got one of the slicker Nimbit store designs we’ve featured of late, opting for a more jukeboxy vertical layout instead of the more typical horizontal scroll, wrapped in a palette evocative of Driven‘s cover art. In it, you’ll find no less than five full-length recordings, a handful of singles (including some yuletide classics) T-shirts, autographed posters, and more.
While dUg Pinnick is probably best known for his long-running (fifteen-album) streak with legendary American hard rock/progressive metal band King’s X, he’s also knocked out four solo records and numerous side projects during his sonic career. Equally accomplished as both a bassist and vocalist, dUg’s unmistakeable style explores the arresting contrast of his “gospel-like” voice soaring over the heaviest bass tones around.
The result is an incredibly satisfying contradiction, at least somewhat comparable to salted caramel. Sounds kinda weird on first mention, but then you had some kettle corn one day, and there’s really no going back, is there?Confectionary metaphor aside, what I’m getting at here is that words don’t really do justice to the man or his art. It’s better to just click the link below and give the Pinnick sound a taste for yourself.dUg’s latest solo effort, Naked, is available on his Nimbit store alongside some of his more recent singles. Click here to visit dUg Pinnick’s Nimbit profile.
And when you’re done with that, check out how King’s X has been taking advantage of the StudioLive mixers in this blog post right over here.
Interested in Nimbit? Sign up for free here.
Jazz vocalist/songwriter Thisbe Vos landed in Los Angeles in 2008, following a whirlwind musical career in her native Netherlands that began when she was a mere 17 years of age. L.A. brought Thisbe access to a broader array of jazz musicians suitable to her creative vision, and by 2011 she had assembled a solid band and released Sophistication, a wonderfully restrained slab of old-school cool that adroitly draws from the past without spiraling headlong into nostalgia. “Vintage” audio “quality” of yesteryear is notably, wisely absent, and in its place we find a contemporary sheen that does Thisbe’s voice justice.
A true believer in fan engagement, her 2013 full-length Under Your Spell is a fan-funded endeavor that sees a more broadly diversified array of instrumentation backing her velvet voice. Worth noting is that said instrumentation is both performed and mixed with great discipline, and never distracts from the real star of the show here—voice. While a bigger band is a welcome and natural progression for a sophomore effort, fact is Thisbe’s voice could confidently carry a record a cappella, if asked.
While her namesake dot com name-drops Fitzgerald more than once, one would be remiss to single out Ella as Thisbe’s sole influence—this writer hears a healthy dose of Julie London in there somewhere—an observation I trust Thisbe would be comfortable with.
“Nimbit is the best integrated services platform for musicians that I have found. Having your emails, webstore, promo widgets and fulfillment all working together is invaluable. It is also very reasonably priced,”Thisbe says.
Thisbe’s Nimbit profile keeps things classy and to the point. You can get her recordings as digital downloads or on CD—autographed or vanilla. Wisely, there is no branded apparel to be found, as folks who are into Thisbe Vos are generally too cool to advertise.
If you’re going to be in Los Angeles on June 14, IMSTA FESTA is happening! You’re invited, it’s FREE, and you should click here to register.
If you’re in the neighborhood, and into digital audio, then you should probably stop by. It’s an excellent opportunity to elbow-rub with world-class software manufacturers, and meet some of the great minds behind great software. Networking opportunities abound, and you’ll be surrounded with folks who love software just as much as you do.
Here’s some of the greatness that awaits, copy/pasted from their press release.
Join Justin Spence as we get a visit from Terence Higgins and a few of his friends! The last time we had Terence come by, we broadcast nearly the entire production of “Swamp Grease II.” It remains one of our most-watched PreSonus LIVE episodes of all time.
Alongside Terence, we’ll have producer Wendel Tilly, Erica Falls, and Andy Bourgeois together at the new PreSonus studio to record three full songs for Erica’s new album.
These are world-class players—don’t miss this one!
[This just in from Donyea via YouTube. He’s put together a great video on mixing drums in Studio One that I really thought was worth a look and listen. Have at it! He says he’s got more videos like these brewing, so why not take a second to head over to his channel and subscribe. ]
It’s been a while since you’ve heard about what I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing lots of records, and a good bit of film scoring. All with Studio One of course—Amazing! I’ve posted a video walkthrough of me mixing some live urban funk drums with of Studio One as well—I thought your community might enjoy it.
Compression is an oft-misunderstood and sometimes over-used effect that enjoys (?) a wealth of online forum punditry. Sonic Sense has done an exemplary job here in plainly illustrating the rudiments of compression while cutting the crap. This video begins by demonstrating exactly what the basic compressor controls do, and then follows up with audible examples of the compressor being applied during tacking AND in a full mix, so you can very clearly hear the effect applied in the context of a full song. Demos include vocals, snare, and bass.
Thanks to Sonic Sense for not only clearing up some of the mysteries of compression, but also for choosing the ADL 700 as the right tool for the job.
[This just in from good friend and four-star general in the war against the machines, Brian Botkiller! He shares his latest track, “Morphogenic Residents,” and details some of the methods to its particular brand of oddball. When not repairing his Buddy Holly glasses with gaff tape or tracking down elusive rhymes for “morphogenic residents” and “triskelian,” Brian Botkiller is one of the main guys at OBEDIA, who have been slingin’ their brand of world-class recording technology training to the masses for nigh on ten years now. Strongly recommended.]
I usually record and mix/master in Studio One, but I don’t do a lot of virtual instrument work, so I wanted to do a track entirely in Studio One and explore it a bit more. MC Tahina is an old friend and part of one of my favorite bands of all time, The Gluey Brothers. He wanted to do a track together, so I had him come over to Botkiller studios. He showed up, and while walking him in I said, “I’ve got the drums set up, and you can plug your guitar into Studio One if you want.” He said, “I’ve only got lyrics,” which I thought was awesome. So, we needed a beat. I opened up NI Battery and Impact, and laid down a quick beat, then did some overdubbing with my DDRUM Dominion kit. I wanted to fool with the timing on the audio and MIDI, so I quantized it in some crazy ways and got a cool groove out of it without having to do more work, because Studio One does everything in the blink of an eye.
Next, Tahina did his vocals. I plugged straight into my PreSonus FireBox, my favorite audio interface of all time, and gave him a click and headphone mix, and he just went for it. We had vocals in minutes. I then opened up some previously saved channel strip presets (another favorite S1 feature,) and had a vocal mix in no time. We then laid down the bass, using Native Instruments Kontakt. Tahina did those, on the fly, on a MIDI keyboard straight into Studio One. I did some edits here and there, quantized fast, and boom, bass done. Here’s some video:
I wanted something else in the track, so I took out my turntable, dropped a plate on it, ran it into my FireBox’s SPDIF input, and did some scratches. I’m no Mix Master Mike, but I really liked how they added to the track. We then sat down and just mixed organically, with me laying down some light backing vocals and other little bits. He was really impressed with how fast Studio One allowed me to work. I got everything done fast, and then jumped into mastering in the Project pane, and my song was done.
This was great because the weeklybeats project (http://www.weeklybeats.com) requires me to write, produce, and record a song per week. It has to be turned in by Sunday at 6pm MST, and I really like the project. It’s not a competition or anything, but just a personal challenge—by the end of the year, I should have written 52 new songs! I wanted to do it to get myself into the practice of writing faster, and releasing fast, instead of agonizing over a track forever. It’s really opened my mind and made me work fast and be creative. This is why Studio One is always in my workflow; I can’t do fast production like this in any other DAW, hands down. It’s the fastest daw in the west, east, or anywhere else.
As always, thanks for what you do and for being awesome.
Hear the track below.
Local to Louisiana? Looking to up your rhythm section chops? Look no further than Music Inc. of Louisiana in Gonzalez. This Saturday, May 24, James Cook and Kent Slucher of the Luke Bryan band will reveal some of their gifts of groove to an appreciative audience. Plus, you might win a killer Aguilar Tone Hammer pedal, just for showing up—Come on down!
If you ask me, the real answer to the analog vs. digital debate is “let’s stop arguing and make some music,” and Alberto Schettino of FuseRoom Studio agrees. In fact, he’s got an audio workshop coming up on March 22 & 23, that focuses on exactly that—balancing fuzzy analog yin with precision analog yang.
He says, “This is a 2-day workshop at Fuseroom Studio in Tuscany, Italy, where I will transform a raw recording session in PreSonus Studio One to a final mix, integrating all of my high-end analog gear and digital plug-ins into the ultimate hybrid mixing experience!”
Sounds great! Why not use the best of both worlds? Click here to learn more and register for the event.