coffee tyme
Steam Powered Studio is an audio workshop in South-central PA,
featuring contributions from fine local artists.
Many of these projects have been funded by fine people like you!
The Stray Birds

The Borderland EP began as demos for Maya DeVitry to take with her to school. It grew into something special.

Listen to
I'm the guy with the hammer and tongs-

Jeff Coleman
Jeff Coleman

-trying to make stuff in the workshop.

Like my sweet
Pennsylvanian Girl
This started out when I got curious how many bands there were around here. Click the map below to see the amazing, growing list of locals.

local area

Then click through to visit their websites...
the Sporting Hill Ramblers

I feel priviledged to be a member of the Sporting Hill Ramblers, purveyers of fine

News and schedule at the link.
Studio Blog
Dr. Mo was one of the first to contribute to this site.

Dr Mo

His latest project is a group of songs about the real America.

She came here with a song in her heart. It took a while, but we pried it loose.

Linzi wants to be
The Last Girl

Willie Marble

Willie Marble is back again, with Songs in the Key of Marble. He brought a lot of players and singers with him this time, including a full chorus!
Mr. Bobby and I started posting songs to the internet back when being folkie wasn't cool.

Robert Bobby

It's Not the Heat
that's gettin' to me...
March 31, 2013

All the stuff that used to live in the old Navy electronics rack needed to find a new home- which was a good thing, because it made me put this together-

roll around

It's that sweet Giulietti amp perched atop a rack Bruce gifted to the studio containing:
1- a 4-way headphone amp.
2- an Altec 1567A tube mixer
3- a DeMaria Labs tube compressor/limiter
4- 2x TC Electronics 1128 equalizers

This is useful stuff to be rolled around to various locations in the room. Headphone amps for multiple players playing together. The mixer and compressor for whoever feels the need for old school tube sounds. And the EQs just because you never know when you need to eq something, like old school tube sounds...

March 29, 2013

This morning I started reading an article that began with this sentence- In one of the European galleries at the British Museum, there’s a bronze medal of Erasmus made in Antwerp in 1519 by the artist Quentin Metsys.

There are seven references here by my count. It can be intimidating at 7 in the morning. But I got through it, mainly by counting them and musing about how that was certainly a hell of a way to start an article. Fortunately, as they say, it gets better.

What this ends up being is a really insightful piece about the music of Wagner. It touches on a lot of the questions I have about Wagner's music, such as, why do I like it even though it's terribly oppressive? Seems it strikes a lot of people this way.

Anyway, well worth a half hour or so of your time. It's about music, and how music works on us, and there are even samples of the passages he talks about (oh, the promise of hyperlinks fulfilled!) if you're not totally familiar with Wagner, like me.

Why bother? Well, apparently, he was all about breaking through barriers- or maybe, just ignoring them altogether. Which is always interesting, innit?

Next, there's some excellent band photos on the Sporting Hill Ramblers page. Really, excellent, excellent photographs. Not the greatest subject matter, mind...

And finally, a continuation of a previous post. Those cheapo piezo triggers I'm mounting in my cheapo ludwig set? Well, there was a breakthrough of sorts, and it looks as if they might sort of be useful afterall, and tonight I configured this old Navy Surplus rack into the drum trigger, sampler, and MIDI recorder rack.

trigger rack

Pretty sweet! (yes, it's a Mac Plus, with a whopping 20 Mb hard drive) For the first time I don't have to bend down and peer at my DM Pro to see the stinkin' tiny screen! (it's mounted above the Mac)

March 27, 2013

Oh jeez, more Lou Donaldson goodness!


piano drumset

in the studio tonight...
March 26, 2013

Hoo-wee, mama! Yes, every now and then I get a bug up my butt and just rett up the website.

I've been meaning to expand the entries, but I just wasn't into the way it was going, and if you know me, you know I can't force myself to do anything I don't sincerely want to do.

Today, it just clicked, finally, and I got THE VISION. It may not seem like much, but now there is substance all over the page.
Substance. I mean, content. Not some other kind... ahem.

Anyhoo, I hope you like the new, sort of tabloid look.
March 25, 2013

snare trigger

If you've been following Steam Powered Studio for a while, you'll know about my attempts to make usable drum machine triggers from things like piezo-electric buzzers. I invested in a great drum box, the Alesis DM Pro, years ago, and have used it on many projects. I want to use it to "double-up" on natural drum sounds, so I've stuck some of these piezo elements to the insides of the drum heads on my cheapo Ludwig kit.

snare trigger

It will definitely work, the only question is how well, and for how long?
March 24, 2013

There's a good long read in the online Virginia Quarterly Review about books and publishing and how they make money doing that, and, and... really covers a lot of ground, much of it relevant to the music business as well.

They make the claim that book publishing isn't about selling physical objects called books- it's about the ideas in the books, and how they can be used to earn money for authors (and publishers, etc). Can this be applied to music?

March 15, 2013

It's the little things...

the 57

I was a long time looking for a good deal on this studio workhorse, the Shure SM57 dynamic mic. Entire albums (Sufjan Stevens?) have been recorded using nothing else, but mostly people use them on snare drums. Because recording live drums didn't happen very often back in the basement studio, I was in no rush to get one of these, but now that I'm in a big space (and actually own a sort of cheap-ass drumset) I feel it's a necessity. A studio without a 57 is like a carpenter without a hammer.

And they have been used as hammers! They're really tough mics, and heavy for their size, and, well, sometimes people just grab whatever's handy... But this one wasn't used that way. It's something like my second "flea-bay" purchase ever, and a nice deal. I got the mic, the 20' Monster cable, and the AT matching transformer for a "buy it now" price $20 lower than most asks for the mic alone. Works perfectly, made my entire day- thanks, Kevin!

(later) Turns out I was lucky- E-Bay is swamped with Shure mic knock-offs. By all indications this is a real 57 (mostly by weight and capsule impedence measurements). It also sounds right, and one of the first things I did when I got it was to spin the plastic windscreen around- as I remember they were always real loose, and this one was. At the time I did it it was just for a laugh, but it turns out that's one thing that can be a "tell" about the fakes- they don't spin like that! Be careful out there.
March 12, 2013

the cellar glass

Sadly, I did not get one picture from Saturday night, but I did get this souvenir glass.

Looks just like milk in there, doesn't it?
March 07, 2013

Happy day- it's release day! Check out Linzi's new page, and her song, freshly remixed- The Last Girl

March 05, 2013

Oh, kids these days. I've been adding to the Locals List and found these guys, Mutant Love Child. That's a link to a video of a rehearsal, something with a drummer, at the rented room at Drums Etc. Fun stuff, it's why I spend my time doing this!

See their locals link for more live videos as a duo.

March 04, 2013

William's Burg

Williams Place

So I'm mixing Last Girl again, and I'm comparing it to some iconic CD's, including Tuesday Night Music Club by Sheryl Crow. That record has a classic sound which has aged well, and I notice it's produced by Bill Bottrell, so I gotta find out what else he's done. Turns out, a lot.

But the thing is, he now has his own little studioo in sunny Cali, and when I saw it I thought brother mine! because he has speakers hanging from chains and the whole thing is in one room. Granted, it's a room with a view of the Pacific ocean, but one room none the less.

March 03, 2013

the deal

Two guys trade a rare blues record for a rare Crumb drawing. Value is in the eye of the be-trader.

March 01, 2013

This month features a photo from an album that is sort of iconic for me. It was a record by RCA, made to be sold at Acme Markets called it's Coffee Time. The music on it is some saccharine Percy Faith and Skitch Henderson arrangements, but it was the cover I loved. Man, those kids are sure having fun, aren't they?
Joe Ellis

Without a doubt, Joe Ellis has provided some of our most rewarding moments.

And we just
Slough it Off.

Who are these loonies anyway?

Woggi Noggi

Why, it's those cute lil' Woggi Noggi girls!

Find out why
Goats are Great!

Summer Thieves

I see the boys of Summer Thieves in their ruin. (that's poetry, you kneau)

Here's their song
You Can't Lie.

There's memes for everything that wingers love.
end gun violence

I made some to post if you're not crazy about guns.
and also...
Mission Statement:

Only pretentious asshats post mission statements on their websites. Be that as it may, I do have a mission here, and that is to discover if there's a better way to make a living making music than by selling little round pieces of plastic. Or charging big money for recording.

I'm looking for a bunch of small-scale sponsors willing to support my work as a musician, singer/songwriter and recording engineer, work that often includes recording up and coming artists for free.

If you like what you hear, and want to keep me going in the future, please sponsor the studio. It's that simple.
I got on a kick of making videos for a while. Here's one now-

Jeff Coleman
Save to Serve Her

It's a song about drinking...

...from a bitter cup.
Jeff Coleman
48 eagles

This is one of my art pieces. Heh.

But seriously, ever notice how may eagle n' flag things there are?

It's an entire industry unto itself I bet.
There really is a history to this website. It started out with, then moved to onlinerock before I figured out how to just rent my own space.

One of Lancaster county's first punk/new wave bands
the Blame
the Blame had a good run back in the last century. Here's some of that for those who remember...

The Kids are Alright (live)
For Hire:
Yes, the studio is for hire. We will record your song, your CD, your steam whistle or your grandmother. Rates on request, generally vary reasonably.

Room and Equipment:
1,000 sq ft open space with way too many guitar amps and old keyboards, some drums and percussion, some interesting mics, a comfy couch.

It's all about relaxing and making good music. I sweat the tech stuff so you don't have to. We can get just about any kind of session player you need.

These gentlemen have recorded here-

The Gadjo Playboys
The Gadjo Playboys

We've done about 2 1/2 CDs worth of stuff.

Some of it is still unreleased!
Jenny's Diner
Jen and Charlie

Jen Starsinic went on to collect a songwriting award the year we recorded this.

Birdy in a Cage

Charlie Muench went on to join the Stray Birds.
Craig Wise is one of those good old boys.
He brought a lot of his friends in here.

Craig Wise

And they're

Still Makin' Sunshine

All the Marbles was the first Willie Marble CD.

Commit a Crime

We sure had some good times down in the basement working on this one.

There was a bunch of kids making interesting music...

Old Time Liberation Front
The Old Time Liberation Front

Feeder Mice Jig

Most of them still are...

Kenny was one hell of a songwriter. Back in Paradise, way last century, I managed to get a few of his songs recorded.

The Taking

Kenny Gross
Kenny Gross

A lot of music gets made here by a mixed crew known as-

The Stokers
The Stokers

You never know what to expect!

The Wreck of the Frisco Pier
Dark 30
This band had a good run, and made some good recordings in my tiny studio in Paradise.

Toward the Light

Listen to Bob and that Funky Snakefoot hook into the bottom!
Liv Pooleside has a blog-

studio blog
Steam Powered Studio

It features even more babbling about a wider variety of stuff.

You can leave comments there...

Night Wolf
Night Wolf

He's gone on to the other shore, but he left a couple of songs with us.

Walkin' Blues

Young Fashioned Ways

A guy came in with a couple of old reel-to-reel tapes his dad made in the '70's.
Ron Cook
Ronnie Cook

Dad played a 5 string electric fiddle. One of the tapes was a make-believe radio show.
Dave Francis has had some awesome jam sessions at his place. I recorded the Honeycut Brothers (and others) live.
9 lb Hammer

Foggy Mt. Breakdown

Stable Jam
Stable Jam

Olds Sleeper

Olds Sleeper has created a whole lot of good music in the wee small hours. I got to work with him on a few tunes at my old place.

Olds #3

Me and Ben recorded Blind Joe Death in a round building at a scout camp.

live at the round house

You Got to Love Somebody

Made a pretty good CD-
Live at the Roundhouse
Old Ezra Shade gets in here every so often.

Ezra Shade

Here's a little something seasonal...

Christmas Time
Dr Mo
Dr. Mo

We have stuff here going back years...

Junko Partner

...and new stuff in the works.
One of his recent songs has been animated by Brian McCall.