Tracking with The Rigneys and Dark Shadow Recording: Day 1

Producer Stephen Mougin is working in the studio with The Rigney Family Bluegrass Band for their next album this week. Being a harsh taskmaster, he has also prevailed upon the band members to record some of their impressions during the process. This first installment of their tracking diary comes from Melissa Rigney, who has the distinction of playing bass and serving as mom for these talented folks.

Melissa Rigney - photo by Ted LehmannWe started our fourth project on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend hoping to take advantage of the extra day. Andrew and Stephen Mougin (Mojo) had both flown in on Saturday night from playing out of town jobs. We arrived at the studio at 10:30 and Mojo was ready to dive in as soon as we got there with sound checks. No one can afford to waste studio time on a bluegrass budget!

We started with a song written by Rick Lang and Ted DeMIlle, and it tracked quickly. On previous projects we had saved vocals until the end of all instrumentation tracking. This time Mojo decided to record vocals as we tracked each song and it was fantastic to hear the entire song come together. It is amazing to hear the difference mic selection has on the sound. Vocally Mojo decided to use a Miktek CV4 and it provided a warmth and smoothness that fit perfectly.

One of the things a great producer offers is access to songwriters you may not know. We had spent a lot of time selecting songs for this CD and the next song up was one everyone was excited to record – a moody little number with considerable meaning written by Becky Buller and Jeff Hyde. The vocals were challenging on this and it took some time to get them right.

By the time we were ready for Andrew to lay down lead vocals on the song he had co-written with Mojo, Double or Nothin’, it was late in the day so he decided to save it for Monday. By 8:30 that evening, we had completed two songs and tracked all instrumentation on a third tune.

All involved considered it a productive day. Not a bad start for a holiday weekend.


Keep an eye on Bluegrass Today for further installments of the Rigney Family tracking diary throughout the week.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.