From steve_200–(at)– Tue Sep 22 12:46:52 CDT 1998
Article: 241138 of
From: steve_200–(at)–
Subject: Re: Lots of famous studio aces on one album
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 10:12:41 GMT
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Hi Sef,
My brother has been working in Nashville for 6 years as a road manager for
mainly Pam Tillis but others as well. I became a Saturday nite cowboy (that’s
what we used to call regular guys who dressed western so they could go honky
tonkin on the weekend-I grew up in the sticks and my first paying gig was as a
country bass player).

I got pretty heavily involved in the country music scene for a couple of
years. There are some country stations in town and I got familiar with the
artists and players, producers and songwriters. I really liked it because
“Young Country” often sounds like southern rock or 70’s rock and roll with a
twang. Many of the guitarists are world class. That’s one of the reasons I’m
into teles. As I read Cd credits and articles on the players, it became
apparent to me that Nashville is a music making machine. My brother was kinda
surprised I didn’t already have this figured out.

There are about 5+ A list players for each instrument. These guys, Brent, Dan
etc as far as guitar, do about 80-90% of the work and make heavy 6 figure
incomes doing it. It’s all based on economics. The Producers and Labels
typically want the basics cut fast-one or two songs in a 4 hour session
including as many overdubs as possible.

The road bands that tour with the artists will sometimes do demos of the
tunes and even write some of the instumental hooks (this is a hotly debated
topic there, between the bands and session cats). The 10 or so top producers
don’t want to use a road band, who have to go in and learn how to get sounds
in the studio. The road band may know some of the songs from rehearsing but
the studio guys and gals can get a tune sounding like they’ve been playing it
as a band for months- in half an hour. They are also top notch musicians
expected to add hooks or help with arrangements as part of their job.

The producers the want the same drummers, keyboardists, fiddle players,
steelmen, acoustic and electric guitarists who can walk into a studio where
they’ve cut lots of tracks, know the engineer and producer (and his approach)
and be able to get sound and do run throughs of the first tune within 15 min
to half an hour after the clock starts. Most of the players have done many
many sessions with other members of any given session band.

Also most top studio players have at least 2 rigs. While they are playing thru
one, their guitar tech and cartage company are setting up the other rig at the
next session. They walk into the next session, look at the tune, talk to the
producer to see what he’s looking for (if anything-some producers just let the
session players run with it) tune up and start the run through.

The only road bands (generally) who get to record are the self contained
groups like Diamond Rio and the Mavericks. Some of these groups have ex
session players in them or they might bring in a ringer to help out.

I got burned out last year and and started listening to a my usual “anything
that’s good” music again, because, to me, a lot of the Nashville stuff started
sounding the like the same band but just a different singer and song (coz it
kinda is). It’s a very closed shop down there. For very A to B list player
there are Lots waiting in line to do demo’s play clubs, do anything, to make
the connection and get a key producer or artist to start using you.

Garth uses basically one guy on leads in the studio. Brent Mason is on all
Allan Jacksons hits. Brent is probably The Guy on guitar in town right now-his
break came after he played in a bar band that was a hangout for music biz
types. He also did every demo session he could land (little pay there-but you
get heard).He played the bar for a couple years and word got out that he was
hot. Chet Atkins popped in, sat in and later invited this then unknown
guitarist to appear on a national TV special with him and George Benson, Larry
Carlton, Mark Knopfler. Brent said he immediately began getting calls for

FYI-A lot of ex LA guys are in Nashville now. Dan Huff played on Thriller..
Rock producer Mutt Lange-Def Lepperd, Journey, Cars etc decided to try country
and wanted to take someone brand new to the top. He listened to a lot of demos
and finally decided to get together with a young vocalist from Canada. They
fell in love during the sessions and got married. Happy ending-she had a huge
number one album and the new one is solidifying her status as a top star. Her
name is Shania Twain.

As far as Jo Dee Messina goes, if memory serves correct, she is signed to semi
country superstar Tim Mcgraw’s production and management company. Could be
wrong, she was just coming up when I strayed from the barnyard. But it makes
sense. He would have the money or the pull to get a budget to hire some top
guns for the project then promote the heck out of her.

I’m back listening to country again in spurts. Just not non stop. I don’t want
burn out again. There’s some cornball stuff (still) in country and there are
folks who are there because they got a lucky break or happen to look good and
the label found em a hit (songwiting and “song pedaling-pushing” is a pretty
closed shop there as well).

But there is a lot of genuine talent in all areas too, my brother just came
thru town last week on the Patty Loveless/Colin Raye tour. 2 of the finest
singers in country or pop. I couldn’t go. Hate it when I miss free tix to good

Anyway, I can spot Brent on a record and also Dan (he’s a bit more pop rock)
some of the other guys are hit and miss. Brent has a solo album out that’s
about 2/3 unbelievable tele then some jazz and swing. If you ever see Clint
Black’s cd “The Hard Way” used, you might wanna pick it up. He’s got an all
star line up (Brent, Paul Fraklin on steel, Mark O’Conner on fiddle-I think)-
and he cuts em loose on a few songs.


In article <19980921225633.17391.0000189--(at)>,
sefstra–(at)– (SEFSTRAT) wrote:
> My wife listens to a decent amount of modern country/crossover kind of stuff.
> She just got a Jo Dee Mesina album; pretty good stuff, and really tasty,
> totally appropriate guitar work.
> So I look at the credits. And I see Dann Huff, Michael Landau, and Brent
> ON THE SAME ALBUM, among others.
> Wow…….
> Now, individual tracks are not credited. So I played a little game……at
> least in some instances, I feel pretty sure that I can tell who’s playing on
> what track.
> Anyone else heard this CD yet?
> Steve

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