How songs are being created and recorded…

For the time being until I have a full time drummer to record with all of the music I post will be recorded in what I call “Jam Recordings”. All this means is everything is recorded in one take, good or bad, mistakes and all. The drum beats are usually quick and dirty ideas of what I hear in my head at the time and the main concern I have is to capture the feeling and the idea as fast as possible in that moment.

I post the raw un edited tracks, individual files & extra stuff to share the entire process I am going through and what I learn along the way. I am in NO WAY a trained engineer, I am a musician and out of work Linux sys admin who at the end of the day just wants to make music and share it with the world.

When a song is in a spit n polished finished state the blog post will have the song title followed by “~ Final Cut”.



2 days of crud…

Recording had to take a backseat for a couple days, today will change that! Today is dedicated to working on Live to Ride getting the final drum track tweaked a little and then adding some guitar and bass tracks to get things ready for laying some vox tracks.


Gear and software sort of…

This list will be updated and changed as time goes by and time goes by and things change. Here is a quick and short list to get started….

Planet Waves cables
Shure SM58B & SM57, MXL 990 microphones
BlueTube PreAmp
Alesis 8ch mixer
Focusrite Saffire Pro 24
Oxygen 49 Midi Keys

Debian Linux Tracking system w/ the following software:
Calf plugin pack

Epiphone SG Pro
Epiphone SG Jr
Fender Stratocaster
Delta King Semi Hollow
Fender Acoustic

Epiphone Allen Woody Signature Model

Line6 Spider Valve HD100
72 Polytone
Various Spkr Cabinets

Will add more as things change…


Today’s Setup ~ Writing

Putting together the initial drum tack for a new bass line I’ve been working on. Today as with most writing days the tools of the trade will be notebook & pencils, laptop running Hydrogen and my favorite bass the Epiphone Allen Woody signature model!

Sometimes a new song will start with a guitar or bass riff idea or even a simple measure of a drum riff idea and grow from there over time, other times the entire song can explode in my mind all at once and be 80% or more done in a couple hours.

Golden Rule for creating is to let if flow, do NOT try to force the music out!

Update 29 July: Here is a rough track of a new song idea from yesterdays writing session…

Funky B*tch r1 demo


Today’s Setup ~ guitar sounds

Rough tracking and experimenting with rhythm guitar and bass sounds for Live To Ride.

Epiphone SG PRO coil taps up SS

  • Line6 Super Valve HD100 (Fender Bassman w/ Tape Echo) > 2×15 Polytone cab
  • Direct Out > Ch 1 Saffire Pro 24
  • PreAmp Out > Ch 3
  • SM57 > Ch 2

Fender Acoustic/Electric

  • Direct > Ch 1 Saffire Pro
  • BlueTube PreAmp > Ch 1
  • SM57 > Ch 1 (2 trk’s neck & bridge)
  • SM57 > BlueTube > Ch 1 (2trk’s neck & bridge)
  • SM58 as room mic > Ch 2 (along with all ch1 trks)

Epiphone Allen Woody Sig Bass

  • Direct > Ch 1 Saffire Pro
  • BlueTube > Ch 1
  • Line6 > Ch 1 (experimenting)


Live To Ride, Ride To Live

One of The Dirt Road Kings instrumental demo’s of Live To Ride.

Live To Ride instrumental demo

Now that the vocals have been written we’ll be starting from the ground up with a new Hydrogen drum track. Created with the UltraAcousticKit:

Hydrogen h2song file 24Jul14
Hydrogen drum mix 24Jul14

Exported as a single mixed track and individual tracks both when saving the current version. Created a new Ardour project & imported all the individual tracks and the sum track. This is just a personal preference, someday you might appreciate having both a individual and sum track available while mixing a project.

Update 26 July: Adding rhythm guitar and bass tracks today, trying a couple different approaches to the main riff to find a guitar sound that fits best. Samples to come….

Hydrogen h2song file 26Jul14
Hydrogen drum mix 26Jul14

Update 28 July: Guitar tracks put on hold for drum track changes the past couple days. Sending updated vox cue to vocalist for consideration.

As the tracks are updated additional links will be added to this post.


Today’s Setup ~ demo recording

Initial setup for todays project.

SM57 – my “go to” mic
Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 preamp firewire interface
Debian Linux PC, 4 core AMD X4 Proc, 4 Gig RAM, 4 x 500 Gig SATA hd’s


  • ffado-mixer – gui for controlling Saffire Pro 24
  • qjackctl – gui for running jackd and making software patch connections between applications
  • Ardour DAW – tracking/monitoring software that works directly with jackd