I remember when I was in school at South Plains College studying bluegrass music and recording technology, a friend of mine came in one day with a CD and said “You’ve got to hear this!” It was a recording that had all of us wondering if our world was changing forever. The CD jacket was bright yellow, said “Groovegrass 101” and it contained some of the wildest arrangements and productions we’d ever heard from bluegrass artists Del McCoury, Doc Watson and Mac Wiseman. What we also paid attention to the producer of the project. Being in school studying production you pay attention to such things. The guy’s name was Scott Rouse.
Rouse has gone on to produce some great bluegrass recordings including the latest from bluegrass supergroup Blue Highway. Marbletown is nominated for Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year at this year’s IBMA. And it’s currently doing quite well in our reader poll.
The fall 2006 edition of Frets Magazine contains an article/interview with Rouse concerning studio recording tips. It’s a very good read. Rouse gives some insight into mic placement for recording bluegrass instruments and vocals, talks about the gear he uses, and clues us in to how a good producer brings out the best performance in the studio. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that many of the things Rouse talks about, including mics and other gear, are within the average bluegrass groups price range. Him producing your CD might not be though! He only produces 2 to 3 projects a year, and in the article he’ll tell you why.
If you are interesting in recording and producing bluegrass and accoustic music, I suggesst you go read this article.