Making Father's Folk Album


Folk Son plays some clawhammer banjo while you wait

Folk son Says

Digi Demo

While you wait for me to get my act together and mix some more of Folk Father’s music I thought I’d tell a little about my journey into audio recording.

While no prolific song writer myself…I do enjoy mucking about with banjos and guitars…and a bit of singing. Believe me I tried to write some songs such as Folk Father…but I’m much better at winging it.

So somewhere in 2005 I decided to try my hand at recording (unless you count the times when I used to leave a cassette tape permanently armed on pause so that I could record songs I liked off of FM radio back in the 80’s).

I started out with Audacity, an M-audio Delta 66 soundcard, an Art TPS preamp (I know – not a real “tube” amp- I was a sucker to the salesman), an old Unidyne SM57 (from none other than Folk Father himself) and a cheap Apex Dynamic Model 380 (I’ve since donated it out).

So I present for listening: (and probable judgment) Really Gone.

About someone close to me separating from the one they love and everything else that this entails.

I recorded this song in a small crappy untreated room using the Apex 380 dynamic for vocals and the sm57 on Banjo. I used the Art TPS,  M-Audio Delta 66 and Audacity – at the time I had no headphones or method of monitoring. I re-mixed it a little later when I tried Reaper using various plug-ins and overdid the reverb and effects. I love and hate the recording. I love that I’m fairly fearless…since I didn’t know any better…but the sound I was getting (or could not get) later guided me to analog tape. Now I’m as perfectly miserable as I ought to be.


Old Demo tapes from the 70’s

Folk Flashback

Folk son Says

A couple of years ago Folk father gave me his old Akai reel to reel and a box of old tapes. To my delight many of the tapes survived. While many of the old songs on the reels I had heard before – I came across one I had never heard. I later discovered it was written before I was born: High Tideline.

I played around with the original track in Reaper to raise the volume and clarity of this recording.

As far as technical information I believe:

2 sm57’s

Yamaha EM150 PA

Effects & EQ:
Yamaha EM150 Spring reverb and EQ

Tape Deck:
Akai (I’ll look up the model later)
Recording Speed: 7.5 ips
Tape: Realistic “Super Tape”
Noise Reduction: None

Folk Father Says

High Tide Line was written while on the reserve at Bella Bella in the fall of 1969. It is about the suicide of one of the aboriginal men in the fishing village there.

Garage Session March 16th 2012

Analog Tape
Folk son Says

The journey had to start somewhere…so we began on March 16th and recorded 5 songs. Of these I have only uploaded Blue Light so far.

I lugged up some equipment to set up a studio in Folk Fathers workshop (crappy cellphone photo below). The main recording area is upstairs and while it has low ceilings at least they are covered in pine.

For this session I experimented with a few various microphone placements before deciding to use a mid/side configuration.  Since Folk Father is a natural performer, very dynamic and is not used to headphones for tracking I thought this would give a decent natural representation of his music played live.


Kel HM-7u (Mid)
Oktavamod Apex 460 and/or CAD M179 (figure 8 side mic)

Hand Crafted Labs Velvet (HCL)  Mid mic – straight to tape
Alto cheapie mixer preamp as side mic – to ART VLA II compressor – to tape


Revox PR99 MKIII
Recording speed 15ips
Tape: RMG SM900
Technitian: All technical support, maintenance & calibration etc: Roger Ginsley of  Tekx Electronics
Noise Reduction: None

Monitoring and Mixdown:

Yamaha N12 Digital Mixer
Sennheiser HD 280 Headphones
KRK Monitors (will have to check model – these belong to Folk Father)

Blue Light:

This track is presented here in its raw form. It was tracked as described above using the Kel Hm7U as the main mic and the CAD M179 as the side mic (although pictures show an Oktavamod Apex 460 – which was used later). It was tracked live to tape and no eq or other effects were added. One single VST was used on the digital mixdown to add approx. 2 db of limiting and raise the overall volume a bit.

I hope you enjoy this song as I hope to record many more and improve my techniques.

Folk Father Says

Blue Light was written around 2000.   I had a friend who once commented on this piece and referred to it as my ‘stalker’ song.   Maybe that’s why I haven’t performed it very much. More recently another different friend, who’s judgement I trust, pointed  out that this was not all that different than something like ‘On the street where you live’ from My Fair Lady, though in a minor key and a much darker melancholic mood….just the flip side of obsession…and something that many people experience at some point in their lives and loves.   Anyhow, I’m going to start doing it again.Here are the lyrics as I wrote them back then….though of course each time I perform it there is some slight difference.


There’s a blue light through the window from a glowing tv screen
I saw that as I paused a moment just across the street
And a message in the yard to read …to work out all it means
Everyone’s at home again it seemsThere’s a stillness in the air tonight …the stars are bright and clear
The moon’s gone past my shoulder…I suppose it must be late
And a breath of wind just stirring, whispers something in my ear
Yes I guess I’d best be on my way


Even in this land of fat, sometimes a life gets lean
Can you hear a sound through all this noise?
Do you know when no-one’s home I sometimes call up your machine
Just so that I can hear your voice    (….get back to you as soon as possible)

There’s a blue light through the window to a silver moonlit night
From out here at the border on the pavement just between
No point in looking into what it’s looking like inside
Sometimes things are not quite as they seem


There’s a blue light through the window from a glowing tv screen
I saw that as I paused a moment just across the street
All the lights are on…the curtains drawn back…it’s plain enough to see
Everyone’s at home it seems but me

There’s a blue light through the window from a glowing tv screen.

Folk Father at the mid/side set-up