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Scott Minor at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

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Archive for the ‘Scott Minor’ tag

New album by Robinella, ‘Ode to Love,’ on the way

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Breaking news, local music lovers: Robinella (also known as Robin Ella Tipton Bailey, the chanteuse who used to front Robinella and the CCstringband) has a new album on the way (it’ll be out in “three months, max,” she told me this week), and when she performs at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Lambert Recital Hall at the Clayton Center for the Arts (502 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville), you’ll get to hear plenty of the material that will be on it.

It’s called “Ode to Love,” and the bulk of the songs were cut in Connecticut with jazz guitarist and producer Frank Vignola (who’s worked as a sideman to Madonna, Ringo Starr and Leon Redbone, among others). Save for a couple of covers (“Stardust” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”), the songs are original Robinella compositions, she said, and feature a number of guest stars.

“Technically, I think it’s my best album,” she said. “I recorded for two days in Connecticut, and Frank played on it, and then I took what I’d recorded back to Knoxville (to Scott Minor’s Wild Chorus Studio) and finished it with all my local friends.”

Those guests include dobro master Rob Ickes, jazz vocalist and string bassist Nicki Parrott, Blount County bluegrass phenom Jesse Gregory on mandolin, Blount County boy and Knoxville Jazz Orchestra bandleader Vance Thompson on trumpet, harmonica player Michael Crawley and the guys with whom she’ll perform on Saturday: bass player Taylor Coker, guitarist Mike Seal, drummer Nolan Nevels and keyboard player Justin Haynes, the latter two of whom perform with her in the R&B side project Pulse. She also performs a duet with Mike McQueen of the Blount County band HollowTree — “We’re hoping Quentin Tarantino’s going to need to pick it up for a soundtrack,” Robinella added with a laugh. “It’s a weird song called ‘My Crazy Love.’”

Admission to Saturday night’s show is $10; stay tuned for updates regarding a release show for “Ode to Love.”

Black Lillies seeking help for new video and album

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Black Lillies7The Black Lillies: (from left) Robert Richards, Tom Pryor, Jamie Cook, Trisha Gene Brady, Cruz Contreras

As Knoxville Americana darlings The Black Lillies head to Nashville for the filming of a video on Tuesday, front man Cruz Contreras is thinking ahead to the band’s forthcoming third album.

After shooting a video for “Same Mistakes,” off the “100 Miles of Wreckage” album, with director David McClister, the Lillies will return to Knoxville and go into the studio this week with local studio wizard/Sparklehorse vet Scott Minor, owner of Wild Chorus Studio. The sessions are sort of pre-pre-production for the new record, Contreras told me today.

“We’ll be creating instrumental versions of existing songs, so it’ll give us an opportunity to scope out his new studio,” Contreras said. “For licensing purposes, people who really like your songs want instrumental versions of them, and we can’t give it to them because there’s no separation — we’ve recorded everything live thus far. So this will allow us to get some updated recordings and get familiar with Scott’s new studio.”

To fund the new record, the Lillies are teaming up with Pledge Music (similar to Kickstarter, but more user-friendly on the technical side of things, Contreras believes) to raise money. Fans can support the band — as well as the Joy of Music School in Knoxville, which will get some of the proceeds of the fundraising drive — by pledging everything from $10, which covers a download of the new record after its completion; to $500, which includes a trip backstage on a future Lillies date at the Grand Ole Opry; to $4,000, which gets you a private show for up to 200 people. You can check out the various donor packages and sign up to help the band out by heading over to the Pledge Music page.

(On a personal note: Be sure and watch the video on that page; the song Cruz plays is simply titled “Father Song.” It’s been around for a while, but chances are good it’ll wind up on the new record, he said. It’s also one of the most beautiful songs the band has done, and that’s saying a whole lot.)

So far, the campaign is on track for its targeted completion date, which means the record will be cut in late summer/early fall and released in the first quarter of 2013.

“Right now, we probably have enough songs for a full record, but I’d like to get three or four more that are completely fresh to someone who hears us on a regular basis,” Contreras said. “We’ve got songs on deck that are stronger than anything we’ve ever done, so sonically I think we’re in good shape to improve on what we did with ‘100 Miles of Wreckage.’ We’re just trying to give ourselves a little more time, because we did the other records in a day or two.

“I’d like to do this one in three phases: a third of it live like we’ve always done, with everybody in a circle; a third of it more produced, with more separation so we can arrange and overdub and maybe rock out a little more; and a third more stripped down and more acoustic. I really want to get some more varied sounds.”

In the meantime, the band has high hopes for the video of “Same Mistakes,” he added — it’s on deck for airing on Country Music Television, hopefully with a world premiere event, and the shoot will tell a story that features Contreras and his son, Cash, as dad and boy in the video as well.

(Speaking of videos: If you’ve seen the Lillies performing “Knoxville, That’s My Hometown” in one of WBIR-TV’s promotional spots, you may have spotted local singer-songwriter and session musician Josh Oliver sitting in with the band. He’s a friend of everyone involved and played in the everybodyfields with Lillies members Jamie Cook and Tom Pryor.)

Written by wildsmith

July 9th, 2012 at 8:43 am

The Great Great Pines readying debut album

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If you’re going to record your debut album, might as well do it up right.

That’s what Laura Bost and James Maples — the husband-wife duo that makes up the folk act The Great Great Pines — have done. The couple is putting the finishing touches on “Letters to Us” with Scott Minor, the production engineer (and member of indie-rock outfit Sparklehorse) behind recent releases by high-profile Knoxville bands Royal Bangs and The Black Lillies.

“It’s our first album as The Great Great Pines, and it feels really great,” Maples told us this week. “Scott’s been a pleasure to work with, and we’ve been working on it forever — what do we want to put on it, what do we want to leave behind, what everything has been about with us. We want everything as simple as we possibly can.”

The focus, he added, is on the lyrics, the harmonies and the instrumentation — Maples on banjo and Bost on ukulele (although both play a number of other instruments). The two started out in the neo-folk ensemble The Centralia Massacre several years ago, but with the new group have gone into a decidedly more folk-oriented, stripped-down direction.

“We want to be the Gillian Welch and David Rawlings of this world,” Maples said. “There’s no need for 15 overdubs and horns and all of that. We want to keep it focused on meaningful lyrics to tell a story.”

The Great Great Pines will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Blount County Public Library, 508 N. Cusick St. in Maryville, as part of the “Hot Summer Nights” concert series. It’s a free show, and given their local ties — the couple lives in Blount County with their daughter, Josephine (who makes an appearance or two on the new record), and Maples is a 1996 graduate of Wiliam Blount High School — it should be well-supported.

The new album should be completed in late August, he added, with a projected September release date.