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Cayton And Brown, My First Recording Engineer Gig

While I was a music major in college at U.N.O., I often thought about leaving and going to a school to study recording engineering. The curriculum at the university included lots of classical percussion studies, which I had absolutely no interest in. I’d always been interested in recording, and thought that being a recording engineer would be a practical and fun way to make a living in music. I eventually ended up leaving college to perform as a drummer/percussionist in the U.S. Army Band, so it became a moot point.

I’ve known Barry Brown for many years. He was a music major with me at U.N.O. He was also the best man at my wedding. In addition to being a very talented musician, Barry is a great carpenter. He knew that I had been wanting a good room to record in for manycayton and brown years, and Barry wanted a good recording for “Cayton and Brown,” his Americana acoustic duo. Therefore, he offered me a trade, which I gladly accepted.

He finished my room for me. We’ve been working on their recording for several weeks now, whenever we can coordinate all our schedules. I was a bit nervous at first. I’ve done lots of my own recordings, but this was my first actual recording engineer gig. I wanted to make sure I got it right. I didn’t want to waste the duo’s time and cause them to have to come back in and re-record things because of my mistakes.

It’s been a really rewarding experience. I’ve already learned some important lessons about recording. One thing I found is that it doesn’t always work to insist that the musicians record along with a click track. It is easier to do overdubs when everything is recorded in perfect time. That’s why I’ve personally been recording to a click track for many years, and I’m very comfortable with it. However, I’ve learned that other musicians are sometimes very uncomfortable recording with a click track, even though they have a very good sense of time. Steve Smith, the drummer with the famous rock band Journey, was once fired from a studio gig with Bryan Adams, because he simply couldn’t play with a click track. Yet, Smith is considered one of the best drummers in rock history. I initially tried recording “Cayton And Brown” with a click track, but eventually just had them audibly count themselves in on the recording. That way went they went back to overdub a rhythm guitar part, etc., they’d come in exactly in time. This worked like a charm, and we’ve had no more problems with time whatsoever.

Yesterday I had the house to myself so I spent a bunch of time mixing some of the things we’ve already recorded. These probably won’t be the final mixes. What I was trying to do was to give the duo as well as myself an idea of where we’re at so far in terms of their recorded performances and basic sound quality, so we’d be able to tell if we needed to re-record some parts, etc. It’s hard to tell much until you’ve adjusted the volume and panning of each track, added some reverb, etc.

Here are a few of the tracks in their current state.

Saint David’s Field

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Old Tractor
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Miss Truet
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Cayton And Brown Website

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