Blues Blast Magazine cover story

Wow, this was a real nice surprise today in my inbox. Thank you Blues Blast Magazine & Bob Kieser for the cover feature, and to Terry Mullins for interviewing me and writing such a nice article. I'm very proud of this one, so if you have a moment, please take a look and subscribe, and pass it along if you feel so inclined. It's a wonderful electronic magazine, and it's FREE!

http://www.bluesblastmagazine.com/issue-8-41-october-9-2014/

 

Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers / "Love Whip Blues" (11/4/14)

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We are particularly thrilled to welcome Boston's Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers to the VizzTone family. Erin learned to play Delta Blues guitar at an early age from her father, Maryland area bluesman Neil Harpe. Erin's travels brought her an appreciation of World music styles, particularly Afro-Beat and reggae. Landing in Boston, she did solo blues gigs, simultaneously started a electro-funk dance band called Lovewhip, and self-released a couple of acoustic blues CDs. A few years ago, Erin formed the Delta Swingers, a deep blues-based group that was also a dance band with a wealth of influences. The sound was aptly christened "Charles River Delta Blues". The Delta Swingers immediately won the Boston Blues Challenge, and went to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge. "Love Whip Blues" was recorded in Boston, then post-produced, mixed and mastered by the amazing Dave Gross at his Fat Rabbit Studios, with guest appearances by Dave Gross and Bob Margolin. 

Read the whole article at vizztone.com.

DownBeat Magazine review

Editor's Pick, May 2014
Mikey Junior, Traveling South
(SwingNation/VizzTone)
"In 2014 it’s rare to encounter a blues album in which the production plays just as important a role as the music itself. Properly recording the diverse sounds of a harmonica in the studio is no easy task, and for his latest album, blues harp master Mikey Junior turned to his guitarist-producer Dave Gross, who has done a superb job. On the title track to Traveling South, the harmonica has a spooky, gothic vibe, and on “The Cheat,” Gross has framed the harmonica so that it has an almost three-dimensional sonic quality. Gross demonstrates great control of dynamics here: He makes Michael Bram’s mighty drums sound positively primal on “Morning On My Way,” while on the delicate fadeout to “Nobody Does It Like Me,” Mikey Junior’s subtle harmonica riffs evoke visions of a whispering ghost floating down a hallway. On his eighth album, Mikey Junior contributes 10 original compositions among the dozen tracks. As a composer, his subject matter is often interpersonal relationships, and as a musician, he’s not aiming to reinvent the wheel. But his amazing skills on diatonic and chromatic harmonicas—combined with muscular vocals that offer just enough growl without getting cartoonish—make him an exciting presence on today’s blues scene. The best way to hear his latest album is with the volume cranked way up."
—Bobby Reed

New album releases!

There have been several very exciting projects that I recently completed, that I am happy to announce the release of. Albert Castiglia's "Solid Ground" will be available on Ruf Records 2/18/14 (Europe), and will be released in the US in April. This project shows a side to Albert that is sure to surprise the roots music world. His vocal delivery, phrasing and inflection tells a story throughout this album, and his guitar matches that level of taste, complexity and emotion. This album is the album I've always dreamed about making with Albert. He totally delivered everything he's got, and everything he didn't know he had. Truly a special record.

Around the same time, Mikey Junior's "Traveling South" will be released on the VizzTone Label Group on 3/25/14. Just like Albert's recording, Mikey has made a statement with his 8th release. Powerfully dynamic vocals, and swamp filled textures running through each track, Mikey is truly at his finest with this project. Well-written originals and choice covers are brought to life with a vision that truly separates Mikey from his contemporaries. It will be released on CD, and a limited edition vinyl double album. Seriously, check this one out!

Just released this past week is Jeremy Baum's "The Eel". Jeremy is a regular at the studio, in fact he's playing Hammond B3, piano and wurlitzer on both Albert and Mikey's albums. On his sophomore release, he knocks it out of the park with 10 Hammond organ and piano driven arrangements, backed by a stellar cast of musicians. Dripped in soul and classic roots music, this is a unique and diverse album that was incredibly inspiring to be in the making of.

On his first solo release, "Tiger Man" (EP), Dean Shot puts down some incredibly deep blues and classic R&R. One foot in the tradition, and one that floats between genres, Dean makes an impact on his debut release. He also appears on Mikey Junior's "Traveling South", lending the same kind of talent to both projects. "Tiger Man" also includes tenor saxophone giant, Greg Piccolo, who was amazing to work with. Look for Dean's upcoming full length release in the coming months.

I am honored to be a part of each and every one of these albums. Do whatever you can to support these artists, and pick up a copy of each of these outstanding recordings. Enjoy!

http://www.albertcastiglia.com
http://www.mikeyjunior.com
http://www.jeremybaum.com
http://www.deanshotband.com

Albert Castiglia at Fat Rabbit Studios

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Amazing week in the studio with Albert Castiglia and his band, recording his new album. Holy smokes, this thing is burning! Best stuff I've heard from Albert...his vocals are supremely soulful, his guitar playing is raw, powerful and tasteful, and the songs were perfect to mold around his talents. Matt Schuler and Bob Amsel played their asses off too, as did a couple of special guests. It was a great time..if we weren't recording, we were laughing, and that stuff goes a long way to make a session stay relaxed and productive. Finishing up tracking early next week, psyched to be involved with this one!
 
www.albertcastiglia.com
 
 
UPDATE (11/1/13): The album is complete and going out to mastering in the next couple of weeks. And congratulations to Albert for winning the Blues Blast Music Award for Best Blues Rock Album of 2013!

At Lurssen Mastering for Mikey Junior's "Traveling South"

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Recently I had the absolute honor of attending the mastering session for Mikey Junior's upcoming album, "Traveling South" with some of my heroes, Gavin Lurssen and Reuben Cohen at Lurssen Mastering. These guys have put the finishing touches on countless records that you all have undoubtedly heard, as well as on many that are personally among my favorite pieces of recorded music (particularly many T Bone Burnett productions). Sitting in the very room where all of these records made their final stop before going out into the world, was a surreal experience. It was truly amazing to hear that intangible and indescribable touch slowly working it's way all throughout this album, right before me.
 
Generally, there is a certain quietness in the role of mastering engineers, to not impart too much of something that wasn't the intent of the producer or the artist. However, while subtle and unobtrusive, there is a unmistakable sonic identity to the mastering of Gavin & Reuben. It's the gooeyness, the controlled but considerable low end, the warm texture in the midrange, the presence that never ever becomes brash, the air that's always in perfect proportion to the source, and the musical movement of compression. These are only six out of probably hundreds of phrases I could use to describe their elusive fingerprint, because after mentally absorbing innumerable diverse albums that they have worked on, all that remained between the recordings were these profoundly understated yet signature qualities.
 
I was glad to just sit back and let them do their thing, but it was an extra treat to talk quite a bit and then just listen to what they had to say. Highlight of the year for sure.
 
P.S. the record sounds AMAZING, so please stay tuned!!
www.lurssenmastering.com

 

Session rehearsal

Great session yesterday w/Chris O'Leary, Jeremy Baum, Chris Vitarello, Michael Bram and Matt Raymond. Here's a video of everybody gathering in the control room for a rehearsal, running through a song they soon recorded. Amazing players and great vibe!

Click video to watch! (please stop music player before watching)

http://www.jeremybaum.com
http://www.thechrisolearyband.com
http://www.chrisvitarello.com
http://www.mikebram.com

Mikey Junior comes to Fat Rabbit Studios

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It was an amazing 3 days in Fat Rabbit Studios producing/engineering & performing on Philadelphia roots/blues artist, Mikey Junior's upcoming record. There was something spectacularly rare about the chemistry between everybody involved, and the music undoubtedly reflects that. Everything felt perfectly natural and each song inspired a brilliant performance out of everyone involved. Thanks to Mikey Junior, Dean Shot, Matt Raymond and Michael Bram for giving it everything you got! I cannot wait for you all to hear what this album sounds like. This record is going to leave a big mark!

http://www.mikeyjunior.com

Brad Vickers - "Great Day in the Morning" AVAILABLE NOW!

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Very proud to have worked on this very fine album, and happy to announce that it is officially out for you all to hear! This album delves deeper into the acoustic side of Brad's music, and possesses a sincerity and maturity that makes this album a standout among roots music releases. Features Brad Vickers, Margey Peters, Charles Burnham, Matt Cowan, Jim Davis, Bill Rankin, V.D. King, Christine Santelli, Gina Sicilia, Michael Bram, Jeremy Baum and myself.

Go and grab your copy of Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans - "Great Day in the Morning" right now!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/great-day-in-the-morning/id626818385
http://www.bradvickers.com

Pianos and Wurli and bears...oh my!

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Over the last couple of weeks, a ton of work has been put into the piano side of things to improve upon the playability, touch, and tone of the studio's various instruments. The Yamaha grand piano was totally regulated, voiced & tuned, with a humidity control system installed. The old Weber upright piano was regulated, voiced & tuned. And finally the Wurlitzer 200A was regulated, tuned, voiced & serviced. They have all been brought back to life with a lot of hard work. Time to make some noise with them!

Jeremy Baum hits the studio!

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I had an amazing couple of days in the studio this week working on Jeremy Baum's new album. Jeremy tracked on his newly rebuilt Hammond B3, which sounded absolutely incredible. He'll be back in a few days to track more on the B3, as well as on my newly acquired Yamaha grand piano, and my Wurlitzer 200A. These sessions had some fantastic musicians with some serious credentials: Juma Sultan (percussionist for Jimi Hendrix), Eric Kalb (drummer for Charlie Hunter, the Dap-Kings, etc), Chris Vitarello (guitarist for Jimmy McGriff, Bruce Katz, etc), Scott Sharrard (guitarist for Gregg Allman), Tony Tino (bass player for Gavin Degraw, Ronnie Spector, etc), Myles Mancuso and Chris Reddan (drummer for Popa Chubby, Lance Lopez, etc). More sessions coming up with even more special guests!

www.jeremybaum.com

New single by Greg Nagy, "I Won't Give Up"

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Please check out the BRAND SPANKIN' NEW single by my friend, Greg Nagy. It's one hell of a song/vocal/performance, and I had the pleasure of playing drums and mixing it. Please head on over to this page to get a sample, and then iTunes to grab it for less than a dollar!

http://www.gregnagy.com/single/listening_party.htm
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/i-wont-give-up-single/id597036251

Brad Hatfield nominated for a 2013 Blues Music Award

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Congratulations to Cincinnati's Brad Hatfield for earning a "Best New Artist Debut" nomination in the 2013 Blues Music Awards! I had the pleasure of recording, mixing and playing on this record at the end of last year. Brad is a wonderful singer, and this is a huge recognition for his first album effort.

Congratulations to everyone else involved on the album: Jon Justice (guitar/producer), Bernie Hatfield (B3 & piano), Scot Hornick (bass), Michael Bram (drums) and Dennis Gruenling (harmonica).

www.blues.org
www.bradhatfieldband.com

Brad Vickers recording sessions start this week!

Very excited to get back in the studio this Monday with the wonderful Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans. This time around, he will be bringing in Charles Burnham, Matt Cowan, Jim Davis, Margey Peters, Bill Rankin, Christine Santelli, Gina Sicilia and V.D. King. This is sure to be a very exciting trip through several decades worth of Brad's songwriting, and will be stripped down, honest and full of character. This will be Brad's 4th full length solo release. More updates to come as the sessions come to pass!