Steam Powered Studio
November 21, 2010

I was getting a lot of hits on the song Nine Pound Hammer by The Stable Jammers (which is one of twenty-some songs recorded at one of Dave Francis' fabulous parties) featuring the Honeycut Brothers. It's an ambient recording that really lets you know what it's like to be in the middle of a bluegrass picking session.

I found out that this graphic artist Robert Rini had linked to it as a "tune of the day". I wrote him asking that he link to us in return for the music- talk about doing the right thing! Today his site links to many versions of this tune, including Steam Powered. Thanks Bob! (oh, it's $20-$50 per year, not month, but we'll gratefully accept that level of sponsorship too)

Check out his art, comics and illustrations.
music catalogue
November 09, 2010

Ever wonder what people are downloading from Steam Powered? Here's a list of the top songs this month so far, and the number of times they've been hit.

Webbed Feet- Instrumental/Hallucinations- 73
Ralph Toro- Sights on You- 71
Gadjo Playboys- Anouman- 67
Robert Bobby- Four Inches and Dreaming- 61
J Mundok- A Dying Man- 55
Sporting Hill Ramblers- Moonshiner- 46
Dr. Mo- Santa, Bring My Baby Back- 44
Summer Thieves- Lilly01- 43
Ralph Toro- Where's All The Love- 41
Summer Thieves- You Can't Lie- 41
The Stokers- BP001a (Bohlen-Pierce scale)- 40
The Stokers- Prime the Pump- 40
Ronnie Cook 17 (Cajun Fiddle)- 40
Gadjo Playboys- Sheik of Araby- 38
Ralph Toro- Not Anymore- 36
Ronnie Cook 20 (Grandfather's Clock)- 34
Jeff Coleman- Or6y of Hate- 34
The Stokers- Q1- 33
Jeff Coleman- No Democracy- 33
Dr. Mo- My Christmas Tree- 32
Robert Bobby- Regifting Your Love- 30

Ralph Toro seems to be the most popular artist on the charts- go Ralph!
The Christmas songs get downloaded all year long for some reason.
Mundok's song is always in the top 20.
Really shouldn't be surprised to see the Bohlen-Pierce song in there- not much around for people interested in odd scales.
If I spelled "or6y" with a "g" instead of a 6 it would be a smash number one with thousands of hits. Which is why I don't spell it that way.

All in all it's very mixed bag of stuff, innit?
November 01, 2010

Webbed Feet tape
On another one of those restore from tape gigs I get sometimes I found this 'lil gem by the band Webbed Feet. (You heard of them, right?)

It was recorded live at The Big Catch the day Miles Davis died- 9/28/1991. 12 minutes of a damn good bar band from last century. Call it I Feel Well/Importance of Hallucinations.


Don't know anything more than it might have been somewhere in Florida, the sax player's name is Matt and I think the keyboard player is Rob Stoney (but they might have just been joking around about that).

You can tell how old this is, not so much from the style (jam band stuff never really changes all that much) but because any bass player doing this sort of thing these days would use a 5 or 6 sting bass. This one sounds like a 4 string to me. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to what sort of rig he's using? Same goes for the keyboard player. 1991 is pretty early on for digital synthesizers...
About the Studio
November 23, 2010

the rectum

The Spectrum is comin' down today...

I'm so old I remember when it opened. My two favorite rock shows here- Dylan with the Band, some 70's Dead show.
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November 13, 2010

police department

Another incidental photo from cleaning out the attic...
Here's a bunch more like that.

November 12, 2010


We've been in operation here for a long time now. Longer than, that's for sure.
So it could be that there are some ghosts of mixes past hovering about...
November 07, 2010


My time lately has been spent remixing the Summer Thieves and cleaning out the attic.

Images occur when you dig through 20 years of accumulated stuff.


Nov 30, 2010

Mixing continues. Maya and Oliver (who may be calling themselves the Willow Birds) recorded one more song on Sunday, so they are up to six for their project.

I'm also mastering this project, which is the sort of term that gets thrown around a lot these days. I don't use it lightly- real mastering engineers do a very specialised job and have really good listening skills. I'm just a rock and roll guitar player with a basement studio, but I am doing things that qualify as mastering on this- things like optimizing dither and fine-tuning eq on sibilances and pushing the volume up... which all happen during a mix as well, of course, so it's a fine line. I think it's about the hat you wear while doing it.

Meanwhile, thanks for visiting- site visits are up about double from last month, thanks in no small part to the popularity of Nine Pound Hammer, but also with a lot more people visiting this home page. I will probably finish out the month with a featured song posting from the Willow Birds project, so come on back...
November 27, 2010

Oliver plays with these guys- not a bad bunch, I think.

Click for video... a WMV By Midnight productioon.
Featured Song
Nov 22, 2010

This is the week of the big payoff for me. Two big payoffs, actually. It's final mix week for both the Summer Thieves and the Maya and Oliver projects, about five songs each, give or take.

It's nice to have two very different things to work on. Summer Thieves is a sort of unique rock stew, where anything is allowed as long as it isn't candy. Maya and Oliver's thing is about capturing the beauty of their acoustic work and vocals- it's all very dynamic and has to be right up front.

Nov 18, 2010

If you've just found this site, you don't know about the Ron Cook project. A while ago I was given two old reel to reel tapes that Ron had recorded back in the 1970's. Ron was a bluegrass/country fiddle player, and these tapes were recordings of some of the many and various picking sessions he had been involved in. They not only serve as a tribute to Ron's skill as a player and recordist but also give a glimpse of that time and place.

Today I'm posting the first song of what seems to be the last session on the tapes. There are 16 songs in this batch. This instrumental has guitar, banjo, bass, and fiddle. They don't introduce the song- if you recognize it, let me know.

Ronnie Cook 22.mpg

Ronnie Cook 22.ogg

Nov 08, 2010

Clearly, I should learn this scale...

phone message.mp3