Dixie Bee-Liners back in the studio

The Dixie Bee-Liners just finished a few days in the studio working on new material. The band has decided to approach this next release a bit differently than their two previous albums, as Buddy Woodward – founding Bee-Liner, vocalist, songwriter, and band mandolinist/guitarist – explains in this report from the Hamptons.

We recorded our last two albums – RIPE and Susanville – in Nashville at Bil VornDick’s studio, Mountainside Audio Labs. It was a great experience, not to mention an amazing first-hand opportunity to learn from a master recordist. We will definitely work together again.

For our next project, we decided to put out a series of four, 4-song EP-CD’s, released roughly every four months or so. Each group of songs can be considered sort of like a journal entry, or perhaps a therapy session! Or maybe more like four equally-spaced sequential snapshots of the same group of people, capturing the feeling of the exact moments in time they were taken. And, as a humorous additional benefit, you can also compare and contrast haircuts, facial expressions, facial hair, who has the most potato chip crumbs in their mustache this time (the girls compete too, but rarely win), etc.

Eventually we’d like to collect all the tracks an release it on one CD, maybe a special vinyl edition as well.

Since this first ‘journal entry’ is being recorded in October, we all agreed that it would be necessary for us to be able to smell furniture polish, fireplace ash, and wet leaves while we’re working. But since the local funeral parlor was unavailable — ba-dum-bum! — we set up in a friend’s cabin near Sag Harbor, NY, and recorded there.

The equipment was supplied by Lantern Sound, a professional mobile recording rig owned by our dear friend (and former band mate of mine) Mick Hargreaves, who also engineered. He brought some cool gear, and fresh ears, to the table. Because I’m a total home studio geek, we’ve also collected a fair amount of recording stuff over the years, including some vintage tube mic pre’s, offbeat signal processors, cool gizmo’s like a pedal that emulates a rotating Leslie speaker, and my new JangleBox compressor/sustainer, some of which we brought along.

We had a few favorite mics from our collection on hand, like an old RCA ribbon mic, some modded Russian mics, and so on. We have a relationship with Kel Audio, and have been using their awesome mics onstage and in the studio for a few years, so we will have those with us as well.

Brandi and I were there of course; she’s featured on vocals, guitar, and dulcimer, I’m on mandolin, guitar, bouzouki and whatever else, Sav Sankaran on vocals and bass, Zach Mongan on banjo, and Todd Patrick Livingston on resonator guitar.

We are between fiddlers at the moment, but have been fortunate to have a lovely young lady, Miss Crystal Shipley, filling in with us in the meantime. She was there to pitch in on fiddle and harmony vocals. Also joining us was Aaron Malone from the Fitzmaurice Band on fiddle, and Mark Boquist (another former band mate of mine, and well known NY drummer) will play percussion on a couple tunes. I’m sure Mick, our host Chris Mehos (yet another former band mate), are in there on something somewhere, somehow.

We recorded a couple of brand new songs by me and Brandi, including one co-written with Blue Highway’s Tim Stafford, an original song written and sung by DBL bassist Sav Sankaran that we’ve been playing and polishing on the road for the last few months, and an old English mining song that we’ve goosed up with electric dulcimer and clawhammer banjo.

We’re still deciding where to mix it, but that will happen sometime in the next month or so. We don’t have a title or firm release date yet either, but as soon as we do we’ll announce it with all the appropriate ruffles and flourishes you’ve come to expect from our little corner of the acoustic music world.