Wow! Thinking back over the last 18 years it's sort of mind blowing for me to think how one particular moment and one particular question from one particular guy (the great Greg Leisz) on a first time chance meeting completely facilitated entirely by a brand new client at the time (the Songwriter Hall of Famer Jack Tempchin) would turn into 14 full albums, countless sessions recording one offs for this or that or guest appearance sessions on other fine artist's records, 2 Grammy nominations with 1 win (as a guest artist) , Co Producing credits, a Blues Music Award nomination, a few #1's & 2's on Billboard's Hot 100 Blues charts, 2 years & 26 episodes of his radio program "9 Volt" for the XM Satelite Radio Network and a HEAP of incredible sessions with incredible players from all over the country goes to show that you just never know!
Dave Alvin has been a and still is a major, MAJOR mentor / supporter to me in my life and I think that the body of work simply speaks best as to our working relationship together over the years.
An important thing (to me) that I would like to mention or share about Dave is that I've always felt as though that he's more of an older brother towards me. At least I can say that-that is how I've always perceived it. Why? Well, he's always treated me with an air of protection, trust & belief in my possibilities and abilities. As Life experiences can go, that and our relationship has been priceless to me and is basically immeasurable. That is to say, that my gratitude towards Dave would give the Cosmos a run for it's depth.
When I started working with him back in 2003 on the Ashgrove I didn't truly understand that he is not only a great artist but also a bonafied guitar hero with a definitive voice, style and killer approach.
In the studio, Dave brings the Dave sound and it doesn’t matter what he plays through cus he is the real deal whether he's playing electric OR acoustic & his sound is his live sound. Bam! There it is! He uses his pedal board & does the exact same thing he does live with the amp right behind him but behind a gobo cus he's in the room up'n close with the band. From there he just lights it up and can feel it right on his back.
I tried many mics & many placements over the years but it most always comes down to just 1 mic at a 70ish degree angle off the center of the cone with either a Sennheiser 421 or Sure SM57. I ( we ) prefer the 421 because Dave's got a bright sound & uses echo in a way that makes the sound even brighter and he also uses finger picks and a thumb pick which add even more bite due to his overall intensity so I try to make a balance of not too aggressive and aim for the smooth spot & the 421 nails it!
I have a books worth of stories as it relates to Dave but for here and now I will just say,
Thank you so very very much Dave for all of your support & inspiration. Looking back I truly can't believe it all. As my wife Maria always says to me " how did you (me) get so lucky (?) ". My response to that is, F if I know!... but I'm smart enough to be most grateful and beyond honored.
Produced by Greg Leisz
"Have you ever heard of a guy named Dave Alvin?" a simple question by Greg Leisz that would end up having a profound impact on my career as a recording engineer and on my heart and soul as a Being. MORE