Grammy-winning music producer, engineer and songwriter Pete Stewart with Fourth Wall Music Production has over a decade of experience in the industry and a trophy case of awards. Here Pete shares about his frustrations with Pro Tools and why he chose to try Studio One for free for 30 days. After the trial he was hooked and his workflow has never been the same. Now with 3.2, it keeps getting better.
If you’ve been holding off on crossing over to the most quickly-growing DAW on the planet, there’s never been a better time than now! Save $50 to crossgrade until April 30! – See more HERE!
Chicago’s Don Conoscenti is a musician’s musician through-and-through who enjoyed a supportive musical upbringing. While now best known as a decorated singer/songwriter in acoustic circles—he’s a winner of the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest Songwriting Competition and was a National Academy of Songwriters’ Acoustic Artist of the Year finalist—fact is the guy cut his teeth by learning drums before learning guitar, and established his acoustic claim after many years spent as a “die-hard rocker.” Never one to be bound by the limits of genre loyalty, Don is also an accomplished flautist and vocalist.
His “few rules” mentality also applies to his approach to the guitar—he’s the only guitarist I’ve ever seen use multiple capos on a guitar, including partial capos. If you’re a guitar player, good luck trying to figure out how to play his songs just by listening to them. For you he released the hilariously titled Capo Abuse and Guitar Techniques video.
Don’s rock’n’roll beginnings have proven a major asset in his ability to stand apart in an ocean of acoustic-driven songwriters. The rockin’ influences in Don’s work aren’t worn on his sleeve, but instead bubble up through the cracks in a much more subtle manner than is typically associated with rock music. So far, he’s nine self-released albums into his career.
On his latest release. High Desert Sessions, Don turned to PreSonus Studio One to make the entire record on his own. Of the experience, he says, “Thanks to recording software like PreSonus’ Studio One Professional, I can now produce, track, orchestrate, mix, master and immediately upload the finished product to Soundcloud and my Nimbit Store, which then allows me to sell it through my website and social media pages within minutes of mastering. It wasn’t easy to learn how to do all that, but there’s a lot to love about the end result of that process. Thanks for listening and look for a summer 2015 release featuring some heavy hitting guest artists including Ellis Paul and Grammy-winning artists Paul Buckmaster, Bill Miller and Lloyd Maines.”
Suzanne Vega is an incredibly prolific singer/songwriter. She is most widely known for 1987’s million-plus-selling Solitude Standing—a record which boasts arguably the most pandemic earworm of all time, “Tom’s Diner.” While this is the record that launched Vega into the big-time, theres 11 other records she’s released in her 32-year career, and they’re worth your attention. While the years have found Vega shifting into some surprising sonic territory from time to time—the industrial experimentalism 99.9F° comes to mind first—this Barnard College English Lit grad knows that ultimately, the song’s the thing. Of late, Vega has just released a boxed-set collection of her four-album Close up series, which find her re-visiting catalog material in a stripped-down, intimate approach.
Suzanne’s Nimbit presence is anything BUT stripped-down, however, and is in fact pretty rockin’. There’s no fewer than eight CDs, vinyl (YEAH!), t-shirts, a boxed set, live performance DVDs, and combo packs of much of the prior. Oh, and best of all: an official Tom’s Diner Coffee Mug.
Well, no. The mug is cool, but what’s really best of all here is the aforementioned Close-up Series Box Set, a gorgeously-packaged set that includes all four CDs from the Close-Up series alongside a hardbound lyric/photo book, DVD of live performances at City Winery in NYC, and another bonus CD of formerly-obscure bonus tracks. If you’ve ever wondered what might constitute the gold standard of boxed sets, look no further.
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!