For The Record: Becky Buller #2

Becky Buller recording for her first Dark Shadow albumOnce again, Stephen Mougin at Dark Shadow Recording has prevailed on one of his artists to retail their recording experience for us in blog form. This time, it’s Becky Buller who is working on her first solo project with the label. Here is the second installment of her studio diary. A talented songwriter, Becky also tours and records with Darin & Brooke Aldridge on fiddle and clawhammer banjo.

January 21, 2014

Bryan Sutton grabs a cookie before recording for Becky Buller's first Dark Shadow albumAlthough they took a significant hit Monday, there were plenty homemade gingersnaps left for Bryan Sutton (guitar, Hot Rize) when he came in to play on Amos & Sarah with me Tuesday morn. This song is a Civil War story from the lives of my co-writer Melissa Ames’ great great grandparents. We wrote it about ten years ago and I think she had almost given up on me ever cutting it. But it’s always amazing how things work out; 2014 marks 150 years since Amos was imprisoned at Andersonville.

Bryan Sutton and Becky Buller preparing to record for Becky's first Dark Shadow albumI was pretty nervous about this one. Mojo (who is producing and engineering as well as picking, singing, and record exec-ing) felt this song only needed two guitars and my vocal. So that’s what we did, getting it down in a few live takes with no click. Great call, Mojo; the song doesn’t need anything else! I played my little mahogany Gibson L-0 circa 1930. Bryan played Charles Sawtelle’s 1937 D-28. What an honor to have his spirit involved in this album! Of course, Bryan’s tone is golden and buttery no matter what axe he’s wielding. (But what an axe!!)

Tim O'Brien contemplates the ginger snaps at a session for Becky Buller's first Dark Shadow albumAs a kid, I learned Blue Night off Hot Rize’s biscuit album. I love their recordings of Colleen Malone, Walk The Way The Wind Blows, and Life’s Too Short.

On the way home from a fiddle contest in the mid-‘90s, the gal driving put on Tim and Mollie O’Brien’s Away Out On The Mountain album. We got to their version of Gillian Welch’s Wichita and I was enthralled. I think we listened to that song from Hayward, WI, to her driveway in Minneapolis. (We had it memorized and were singing in harmony by then.)

Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott released Real Time while I was in college, another important milestone for me. And then there’s Kelly Joe’s Shoes and John Riley…”some get drunk on demon rum, some get drunk on glory…”

Have you figured out yet that I’m a Tim O’Brien (mandolin, Hot Rize) fan?

“Is this the first time you’ve heard Tim O’Brien sing one of your songs?” Mojo turned away from the console to ask me. “Uh huh.” I choked up and reached for another homemade gingersnap.

Tim O'Brien and Becky Buller, now best of friendsTim sang a wistful little three-quarter time duet with me called For A Lifetime. Wrote that one many years ago while hitching a ride back to Minnesota with friends who were stationed at Fort Campbell, KY, at the time. I think we were halfway through Iowa when I finished the song.

Mike Bub, ready to record for Becky Buller's first Dark Shadow albumMike Bub (bass) was in with us as well for that afternoon session. One of my favorites!! And it was some powerful pickin’, I’m here you to tell you.We cut an old-timey number that I clawed along with the guys.  I felt like I was hanging onto the caboose of a mighty freight train! The song is called Queen Of The Mountain Bootleggers, the larger-than-life, true tale of Maggie Bailey from Clovertown, KY. I had the honor of writing this one with Vicki Simmons of the New Cool Creek Girls. Fantastic writer!

End of day two.  Oh, I’m not through!