two inch wide recording tape on the Studer tape machine begins to
move, rolling over the record and playback heads. In the sound-proof
studio the singer adds an additional lyric line to an existing vocal
and music track. The members of "Casual Blue", a New Jersey band,
discuss the result. Something's not right.
"His voice is
clashing with itself," Dan interjects. No judgment, just a statement
of fact. "One of you guys should sing it, give it contrast."
walked into the Clubhouse recording studio one day looking for cheap
studio time to record his band. He offered to intern in exchange for
the time. Studio owner Paul Antonell took him on and Dan did every
menial task around, making coffee, even cleaned the toilets. That
was seven years ago.
originally an Agway storage depot built in 1912, is located down along
the river in Germantown, adjacent to the recently torn down cold storage
building. The Clubhouse is no glitzy slick recording studio; this
place has character, more character than your favorite pair of broken-in
jeans and is twice as comfortable.
created a studio in 1986 that is especially attractive to musicians
looking for a unique sound. The reason behind that sound is that most
of the equipment is vintage. The British-made Neve multi-track studio
console, dating from the mid-seventies, remains one of the finest
ever made. The Clubhouse is practically a museum, filled with electronic
devices, limiters, compressors, amplifiers, vintage microphones dating
back to the 1940's and assorted audio processing units, most of the
tube-type variety. Most rare and unusual are the four "Clouds". They
are four large, beautifully curved pieces of wood about 8 feet long
and 4 feet wide, hinged and movable allowing intricate adjustments
to the studio's acoustics. These prize "Clouds" came from the RCA
Studio in New York where Elvis Presley recorded dozens of hit records,
including "Hound Dog". There's the latest digital equipment and editing
features too, but the older equipment is what produces the distinct
sound the Clubhouse is becoming famous for. Natalie Merchant, looking
for that unique sound, recently recorded there.
hard at work for the past couple years designing and building a new
studio from scratch. The new Clubhouse in Rhinebeck plans to open
for business in November, a beautiful melding of state of the art
and vintage sound recording. The key concern is to preserve the unique
sound in the new modern studio.
magnified Daniel Goodwin's love of electronic equipment. "I'm a gear
head," he chuckles. Driven by this love he devoured every morsel of
knowledge available at the Clubhouse. Over the past seven years Dan
has become one of the most respected recording engineers in the area.
"The magic of making music, becoming a part of the record is exciting,"
Dan explains. "Each session becomes a working family and the best
part is; the music's always different and that's a chance to learn."
As a musician
Dan's skills have become sought after and he's currently making the
transition into being a studio session musician, playing either bass
or guitar. His time is now divided 60/40, session musician/recording
engineer. He recently played on Australian recording artist Carla
Werner's new CD and soon will fly off to Nashville for a session.
Dan loves it. It's in his smile when he points out, "Session guys
don't have to live in the spotlight."
We talk at length
about the double-edged sword of fame. Session musicians make good
money and are recognized by their peers for their talent and ability,
not image or hype. It's an honest place to be, where the music is
what's important. Session guys also get to play with some of the greatest
talents in the business. What more could you ask?
Dan says he'd
one day like to score films, but for the present the role of session
musician/recording engineer fits comfortably. "I love being a session
guy." Dan smiles, "I'd rather be the guy behind the curtain." Fact
is, Dan's gonna make a great wizard.
We'll talk next
time From The Road.
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