ASCAP invited 18 top songwriters and producers to write the hits of tomorrow at its fourth annual songwriters retreat in France.
Held September 17-25 at the 14th-century Château Marouatte in the Dordogne region of France, the retreat was designed to produce hits and get cuts in a variety of genres. Each session placed a producer, a topliner and a recording artist together to write and record in a different room of the castle. By the end of the retreat, nearly all the participants had worked together. They left France with hard drives full of professional-grade demos, ready to pitch to artists and record labels.
Château Marouatte is owned by famed music industry executive Miles Copeland, founder of IRS Records. Copeland once brought music legends like Jeff Beck, Jon Bon Jovi, Belinda Carlisle and Desmond Child to high-level songwriting summits at the Château. In 2011, ASCAP convinced Copeland to revive the tradition, and has brought a new group of songwriters and producers to France every year since.
The 2014 participants hailed from around the world and across the genre spectrum. They were: Anjulie, Martin Brammer, Ashley Campbell, Mike Daly, Chris DeStefano, John Fortis, Elyar Fox, Dia Frampton, JT Harding, Brett James, Giovanni James, Brian Kennedy, Emmy Palmer, Autumn Rowe, Amir “Azeem” Salem, Sharon Vaughn, Peter Wade and Oren Yoel.
PreSonus provided the following for the event:
Recordings from the event can be heard on SoundCloud by clicking here.
Santa Barbara, California’s Glen Phillips is probably best known for his work with 90s alt-rockers Toad The Wet Sprocket, whom he formed when he was a mere 15 years old. After a six-album career with TTWS—peppered with mainstream radio hits—the band called it a day in 1998. Since then, Glen has been a prolific solo artist, with no fewer than five records and two Eps to his name available on his Nimbit profile. He’s also collaborated on three other projects: the Mutual Admiration Society, Works Progress Administration, and RemoteTreeChildren.
Toad has enjoyed sporadic reunions and tours since 2006, and Glen has concurrently managed to maintain creative output for both the band and his solo material—atop the aforementioned collaborations. The man stays busy!
Sonically, Phillips’ solo work is quite diverse, including the folky/spacy terraforming concept album Secrets of the New Explorers, the spooky stomp and rootsy snarl of Unlucky 7. Toad fans will find a lot to like here while exploring some new sonic territory—but will have Glen’s familiar voice to guide them along. Dig in, and get a t-shirt while you’re at it. There’s six to choose from.
PreSonus Product Manager and Queen of All Things Technical Wesley Smith was recently featured in AVNetwork’s Chicks Rule; Honoring Women in AV article. Congrats to Wesley for being selected! Wesley has been kicking butt at PreSonus for eight years; recognition well-earned. Obligatory pull-quote follows:
“Men tend to question how women in audio learned their skills or became interested in the industry, as if it must be a very different experience from their own. This is still one of the biggest differences I find in my experience versus those of my friends in other industries.”
Click here to read the article in its entirety, replete with more Wesley-wisdom and additional interviews with other righteous gals. On a related note, click here to check out our Women in Pro Audio blog series from a while ago.
[This just in from the Press Office of MIDIMusic ProAudio, our distributor in Italy!]
Today, Midi Music has hosted an important event for the Italian key dealers featuring the two main new products recently introduced by PreSonus: The new generation of StudioLive RM Series Rackmount mixers, and the new range of StudioLive AI PA Loudspeakers. About 50 retailers and operators, as well as journalists from Italian commercial audio magazines attended the event.
Francesco Galarà, Midi Music’s new product advisor for the Pro Audio division, described the philosophy and technical characteristics of the RM series, focusing on the unique features and intuitive ease-of-use offered by UC Surface. He also addressed the versatility that makes StudioLive RM16AI and RM32AI suitable for applications in different fields: live sound, studio recording, radio and TV Broadcast, and system integration.
After going deep into the specific details of CoActual and Temporal Equalization technologies, it then has been the turn of the set of StudioLive AI PA speakers.
We conducted a listening test, covering various genres of music from pop to rock, from the classics to jazz and then—the icing on the cake—Tchaikovsky’s famous “Waltz of the Flowers,” which was very suitable for highlighting the magnitude of the StudioLive AI Loudspeakers’ dynamic response, linearity and definition playback—all without compromise at any listening level. The clarity and definition immediately captured the attention and curiosity of the audience, who remained long after the demo with many questions and insights about the features and capabilities of both products.
The event was followed by a nice dinner party, with typical Italian seafood and a fine Piedmont Hills wine selection, offering the participants another opportunity to continue to deepen the discussion about technical and commercial aspects of PreSonus products.
Midi Music ProAudio
That was twenty years ago, and Dana’s still belting it out. For other artists this could be where the story ends, or at least gets boring. She could be just another songbird with a dream who flew the coop for the Big City, only to be lost in the shuffle.
No. Not this one. Dana’s the rare sort of artist with absolute mastery of her gift. Not only does her voice simply do whatever she wants—but if you’re fortunate enough to be within earshot, you’re going to feel whatever she wants you to.
And it can turn on a dime, too. Dana will be cooking up a batch of heartache one second, and then serve up unbridled joy the next. The sonic equivalent of a Leatherman. I didn’t know a voice could look right through me until I heard hers.
The producer of an off-Broadway production of Janis heard it, too. You can probably guess what that show is about, and what happened next. Janis was a hit, Dana was a hit-within-the-hit, and segued from her off-Broadway show to more shows even farther off-Broadway, and she brought a hell of a rock band with her.
Fast forward hundreds of shows and five albums. The latest from said eponymous band, Songs from the Road, is a live affair recorded (and shot, DVDs available now!) The Highland Ballroom that is an ideal snapshot of not just Dana—but also the band at their collective peak. Featuring Dana’s longtime collaborator Jon Diamond, the band is incredibly tight, providing exactly the sort of anchor that a wild voice needs.
Dana and company’s Nimbit store offers a wide array of great stuff: CDs, downloads, and DVDs of Songs from the Road, t-shirts, autographed 8x10s, and four full-length recordings from Dana’s back-catalog—available autographed or vanilla. Buy how you want: most recordings here are available both as digital download and compact discs, and there’s even a CD/DVD/T-shirt combo pack, appropriately discounted for the completest on a budget.
[This just in from Andrew Hulshult, game audio wunderkind and Studio One devotee. He was recently tasked with recording new, “Re-Rockestrated” versions of classic game soundtracks for the companion soundtrack to the new 3D Realms Anthology, a collection of 32 their classic titles. It was a monster task with a tight deadline, but both Andrew and Studio One were up to the task.]
Studio One was a huge help on my work recently with 3D Realms’ new 3D Realms Anthology Soundtrack. The soundtrack includes nine songs from eight games, and it needed to be finished with a tight deadline—tracking, mixing, and mastering all in two months! To make matters more stressful, they were all extremely fast-paced old school MIDI tunes from the 3D Realms back-catalog from legendary old-school composers like Bobby Prince, Lee Jackson, and Mark Klem, just to name a few.
Studio One quickly proved to me that it is still an absolute force to be reckoned with. At one point I had close to 25 fully-loaded instances of Kontakt open, with mastering tools active, while mixing and tracking. I never had a crash or heard a CPU clip—not even once. I don’t know who your programmers are, but I owe them a beer for sure. [Editor’s note: it’s these guys.] After many late nights of tracking and mixing, I was able to deliver a product I was proud of, and help bring a legendary gaming company I grew up with back to life. Studio One is quite literally helping my dreams come true.
Studio One came to kick ass and chew bubble gum… and it’s all out of gum.
The 3D Realms Anthology is a download-only 32-game collection – that’s the entire 3D Realms library (excluding Max Payne and Prey) brought together by a brand-new, custom-made Anthology launcher built to run on Windows.
Here’s a trailer for the soundtrack:
and here’s a trailer for 3D Realms Anthology itself:
3D Realms Anthology includes the following games:
Start recording today with this complete, all-PreSonus mobile-recording package for Mac, Windows, and iPad! It’s a great choice for multitrack song production, demos and musical inspirations, live performances, podcasts, field recording for video or sound design, and much more!
Record in the field (at 96k, if you like) with the included Capture for iPad software, then wirelessly transfer your tracks to your Studio One workstation for mixing!
The Dead Milkmen are most widely-known to the public through the success of their 80s hits “Bitchin’ Camaro,” and “Punk Rock Girl,” the latter of which features my all-time favorite guitar solo. The Philly foursome’s brand of punk rock is instantly recognizable and completely inimitable, and evocative of a very particular brand of smart-ass. Think back to high school, and you can picture the guy I mean. He sat in the back of the class, needed a haircut, got a B+ in English but barely passed algebra or physics. This is his soundtrack.
He could have gone somewhere if he’d really applied himself. Or he could have joined The Dead Milkmen. They’re essentially a humble bedroom four-tracker project gone horribly correct, with DIY recordings dating back to 1979—though they didn’t form as a “proper” band until 1981. Their 1985 debut, Big Lizard in my Backyard, eschews the templated, humorless hardcore that was climbing the punk-popularity ladder on the east coast at the time of the band’s formation. Where Minor Threat hit like a neutron bomb, The Dead Milkmen chose to hit more like a pie in the face. 30 years and ten albums later, the decision to err on the funny side of life continues to make TDM’s catalog stand apart. Heavy on polka-pogo rhythms, jangly guitars, and enough non-sequitur lyrical snark to fill about 17 bathtubs. Add a dose of surprisingly pretty surf guitar from time to time, and you still probably won’t get the idea. Just listen.
The Dead Milkmen’s Nimbit Store boasts two full-length albums, The King in Yellow (their first release in 16 years at the time of release) and their latest, Pretty Music for Pretty People, as well as a handful of 7-inch compilations, available as digital downloads or good ol’ vinyl—”in a desperate ploy to appeal to the still stubborn vinyl fetishist,” their profile admits with a knowing sneer.
In an ecologically conscious 2014, it might be less than PC to acknowledge that demons are the most efficient fuel for a songwriter’s fire. But Travis Meadows, who grew up hard in Jackson, Mississippi, probably isn’t too worried about that. Now hailing from Nashville, Meadows has spent the last couple of decades grabbing his demons by the neck and throwing them into his personal incinerator. Who ya gonna call?
The result is a school of gritty, haunted country rock that harkens back to a time before mainstream country went paradoxically digital. Travis’ three offerings on Nimbit are more about spit than polish, and in era where “wild” songbirds are getting their chirps Auto-Tuned, a little bit of Meadows straight-shooting is just the rooster-cry CM needs right now. While his repertoire leans heavily on emotive ballads that may belie his 5-o’clock shadow/sunglasses after dark image, there’s also a weighty darkness in creepers like “Good Country People” that offer a stirring window to another side of Travis’ soul. His lyrical content is deeply personal, acknowledging his win over cancer, the loss of his leg, and victories over a few different kinds of bottles. Heartstrings tugged hard enough to snap.
Travis was decorated in 2001 with ASCAP’s Christian Music Award, and has landed eight Top 20 singles in the Contemporary Christian genre. He’s also found success in lending his songs to other performers, including the title track of Dierks Bentley’s latest album, Riser. He’s also a staff writer at Universal. Writing collaborators include Lynard Skynyrd, Lee Ann Womack, and Jake Owen, and Adam Brand. He’s the subject of a recent feature in Rolling Stone as Nashville’s Hottest Songwriter, and is featured in this duet with Jake Owen,”What We Ain’t Got.”
Travis has cherry-picked a fine lineup of session players to round out these records; highlights include some excellent flourishes of organ and pedal steel on “Play with Fire” from My Life 101. Said additions enhance the record in a manner that’s not over-the-top or distracting from what’s important here: the stories. That said, critical listeners will not overlook the caliber of these performances. There’s not really any showboating here, but they’re strong enough to make a listener think “I’ll never be good enough to play that.” Not to say that Travis’ chops as a guitars and vocalist couldn’t carry these records alone—they can—and on more restrained tracks (“Lonely Like This,”) they do. Dusty without the rusty.
My Life 101 concludes with one of the more stirring renditions of “Amazing Grace” that I’ve heard in a long time, a suitable counterpoint to some of the rough-and-tumble ruckus of the previous tracks.
Travis’ Nimbit profile boasts not only three full-length albums and his tour schedule, but also four live performance videos—something that we don’t see enough of on these profiles, so take note!
While a formidable country songwriter and arranger in her own right, Suzy Bogguss’ voice is the centerpiece of her sonic offering. Anyone who’s heard it once will immediately recognize it on a subsequent listen—heartfelt and pitch-perfect, with just a touch of lonesome smoke. Suzy’s been in the game a while, now, having scored a string of top ten singles in the 90s, including “Outbound Plane,” “Drive South,” “Hey Cinderella,” “Letting Go” and, most notably, “Aces,” The title track of her platinum-selling 1991 album. All told, three of her albums have raked in gold album status, and to date she’s moved a total of three million copies and taken home awards from the CMA, ACM, and the Grammys.
She’s not one to hang up her hat on such accomplishments—nowadays, Suzy plays a lot of shows, and somehow finds the time to run her own label, Loyal Dutchess—which has allowed her complete creative freedom and ownership of her material. Her latest full-length, Lucky, illustrates the benefits of having set out on her own. Lucky finds Suzy reinterpreting classics from none other than Merle Haggard. The admittedly sparse, acoustic instrumentation allows Suzy’s aforementioned voice—and the stories it tells—to drive the entire record. And as anyone who’s listened to Merle Haggard knows, the story is what matters most.
Suzy’s Nimbit store is packed with no fewer than nine full-length records, including a Christmas album and a greatest hits compilation. She’s also taking advantage of the platform’s Calendar feature, and from the looks of things she’s pretty booked up through late April. If she rolls through your town, she is not to be missed.
Dave Coffin‘s involvement in the music biz started when he was very young, potentially even prenatal—he was born into a supportive family who raised him in an environment rife with classical music, and you know what they say about kids who hear Mozart while in the womb.
As Dave grew up a little, his aptitude for music was clear, and said supportive family encouraged his musical leanings by buying him a strat for his ninth birthday. Despite having been raised on the classics, Dave found himself drawn more toward mohawks than powdered wigs, and wound up cutting his musical teeth on punk rock.
While his parents may not have been able to sway him from Green Day, Dave Matthews (yes, that Dave Matthews) did. After hearing the siren song of DMB, Coffin cashed in the strat and amp for a Martin, and the rest is history. He wrote and recorded acoustically for six years before pulling up stakes from Maine and shipping up to Boston for college, where he majored in Ellis Paul with a minor in Patty Griffin.
Dave’s Nimbit store offers two four-song EPs and the 2010 full-length, The King is Dead. The Dave is alive, fortunately, and so are many of his session-player friends, who joined him in the studio to make their mark on Dead, and it sounds great as a result. Dave’s earnest performance, songs, and sincerity probably helped a lot, too. Give it a close listen, and you may well be able to hear a streak of politically-charged punk rock attitude here—buried quietly somewhere in the songwriter’s heart, and no longer worn on a safety-pinned sleeve.