Tracking with The Rigneys and Dark Shadow Recording: Days 5 and 6

Producer Stephen Mougin is working in the studio with The Rigneys for their next album this week. Being a harsh taskmaster, he has also prevailed upon the band members (Mom, Dad, and two sons) to record some of their impressions during the process. This fifth installment of their tracking diary comes again from Andrew Rigney, the band’s 19 year old guitarist and vocalist.

Grant and Andy Rigney listening to playbacks with Stephen Mougin at Dark Shadow RecordingOn our last Sunday afternoon in the studio, we started out knowing that we had today and Monday remaining of scheduled studio time, and we needed to finish up tracking two songs and the vocals for three songs. We felt like it could be done, but worked to go in as prepared as possible so we could reach our goal.

Tracking started with For Every Valley, a song written by Lisa Schaffer. When we worked on the arrangement, we tried several different rhythmic patterns on this song in an effort to find the right feel. Settling on a simple two beat, we completed the entire process in about four hours, and moved on to vocals on a song I wrote, Bring Him Home.

Another thing now on our minds is what to call this project. We have been considering names for several days and researching them to see if there are other CDs with those names. Some projects seem to have an obvious name and others don’t. Perhaps when we hear final mixes, an obvious choice will fall into our laps.

Andy Rigney checking out packaging samples at Dark Shadow RecordingIt is also time to line up photography and graphics. Dark Shadow has arranged for us to work with Kristen Bearfield of KB Photography and Glen Sweitzer at Fresh Designs for graphics. We also spent time passing around samples from a packaging company. It is interesting how graphics alone can make you want to listen to a CD or put it back on the rack.


And Monday’s report comes from the banjo pickin’ pater, Mark Rigney.

Grant Rigney tracking at Dark Shadow RecordingToday we tracked the last song, an instrumental Truck Rust and Tobacco Barns, that Andy wrote. In the key of E and blazing fast (which are two things that don’t go together well on banjo), we had the foundation in about an hour. After perfecting breaks, Andy tracked vocals for Sow a Little Love.

Mojo gave Andy a inspirational pep talk about owning the meaning of what he was singing. He even pulled up the Martin Luther King, Jr. I have a dream speech!

At midday we headed across town to the IBMA offices to record a Backyard Bluegrass Session that will come out the near future. Take advantage of every opportunity to promote your project even if it seems too early and it is not where your mind is at the time.

We went back to the studio to lay down the banjo on the instrumental and the harmony on Sow a Little Love. And, we are done…with this part of the process!

Song selection and tracking are really just the beginning of rolling out a successful record. Check back tomorrow for a recap of the entire process and find out lessons we have learned this time in the studio. Please follow us on Facebook or the web for the scoop as we finish the project!