Case study series – Country music production
Austen, an experienced singer-songwriter, had been working on a 4-track EP. He got in touch with Supreme Tracks looking for folk and country song production. He’d also listened our country session musicians on the website and thought they were phenomenal – particularly the country, blues and Americana guitars. As he said, “I’d love to have that energy and spirit on my songs!”
One of Austen’s tracks was Sunlight. He wanted a simple singer-songwriter vibe – “an acoustic core but with some beauty and sonic space behind it”. Austen sent us the demo – his own vocals with acoustic guitar – and asked for our input on which instrumentation would best suit the mood of the track.
Here’s an excerpt from the demo sent by Austen.
How we worked – The collaboration process
First, Austen’s demo was sent to one of the world’s most celebrated Nashville session musicians for his creative input. We can’t tell you who this is – it’s the anonymity that keeps our prices so low – but you’d know the name…
Our famous session guy was really impressed… “Great songs, I really enjoyed listening. They’ll sound amazing with the cats I have in mind”. For Sunlight, he suggested acoustic guitar, upright bass, fiddle, piano, mandolin and banjo. To keep costs low, the guitar player would overdub banjo and the fiddle player would overdub mandolin. To make the song radio-friendly, he also advised cutting the intro section in half to make the song’s length more radio-friendly.
Austen loved these ideas and gave us a green light to proceed. But first we had to get proper guide vocals from Austen to use as a guide for studio musicians recording sessions. Band leader made an arrangement sketch for Sunlight on keyboards, which we sent to Austen to record guide vocals over. Sunlight sounded good, even at this early stage. Have a listen…
By this time, our session leader had “aligned the stars” to get everyone together in the studio – members of a multiple Grammy-award winning band, players on a multitude of #1 hits. We did a recording session and got 4 songs done in one day, including Sunlight.
The preview of studio recording was sent to Austen. Take a listen …
Just a couple of hours later we received his verdict:
“So… This is the best thing I’ve ever heard. I’m currently in shock”.
Given the strength of the melodic line, we thought it would be great to end the track with acapella singers. We suggested the idea to Austen and gave him a quote for recording backing vocalists – a fraction of the `real world’ studio price. He came back to us… That’s within my budget. Let’s do it!
With recording session completed and approved by Austen, we were ready to mix and master the song. We worked with Austen on a couple of mix balance changes – mainly bringing the instrumentalists forward in the mix and allowing them to shine. Other than that, mixing and mastering went smoothly and were completed in a couple of days.
So here’s finished recording of Sunlight. It’s a fantastic song by very talented artist, arranged, recorded and produced by the best Nashville’s session musicians for hire.
Shortly after this, Austen got his first FM radio play. Several publishing companies are interested in his songs, and he’s already been asked if one of his tracks can be used on an indie movie soundtrack. He told us that after hearing the recorded instrumentalists for the first time “it gave me the confidence to record some of the best vocals of my career”.
Through Supreme Tracks, Austen was given access to the best country session musicians. But he paid about half the amount of money these musicians charge in the real world. Their creative and musical input took an already great songwriter to a whole new professional level. What could we do for you? Get in touch to find out.