One of my kids is studying US history in school this year, and decided to write and record a folk song about the California gold rush of 1849 for a school assignment. Of course I helped him with it. The actual assignment was to make something about the Westward Expansion, and it could have been a poster, drawing, a class presentation, or rewriting the lyrics to a song. He really went the extra mile on this one, and I hope he gets extra credit. The  song is based on The Ballad of Sally Anne, a Mark O’ Conner recording on the album The New Nashville Cats.

This was a 100% Linux production: Ardour, Dragonfly Reverb, Calf Studio Gear, AVL Drumkits, and x42 Plugins, on Linux Mint 19.3. I did the guitars, bass, and mandolin, and he did the vocals, drums, and piano synth programming. He also did most of the mixing and mastering, with a little coaching.

I’m super proud of my little geek boy! (more…)

Last fall I met up with Michael Willis, developer of the Dragonfly Reverb plugins, to record a song he wrote. Michael had already programmed half of the song in midi tracks and recorded the clarinet intro, so I added the guitar and bass parts. A few weeks later we met again and finished these tracks to the end of the song, including the clarinet solo. (more…)

Here is our family Christmas recording for 2019:

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is an old European carol. The text first appears in historical records in about 1700 but is thought to be older, and the tune dates back to the 15th century. It is haunting and beautiful, full of pathos and tension, the kind of song that needs to be sung in an old cathedral. We didn’t have a cathedral handy, so we had to make do with Dragonfly Reverb instead.

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In 2006-2007 I recorded a song called “Standing on High” using n-Track Studio v.2.3 on Windows 98. (More info about the song here.) Here is my 2007 mixdown:

Now in 2019 I am getting close to finally completing the album this track was intended for. Some years ago I switched my entire audio workflow over to a Linux environment and upgraded my hardware setup, and I have been really pleased with the audio quality of my current tools. (For the record: Linux Mint 19.1, Ardour 5.1, 2nd generation Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, various LV2 plugins.) Since then I have improved my skills at mixing and mastering, so I decided to revisit “Standing on High” to see if I could improve its sound. (more…)