The Scruffs. From left: Stephen Burns, engineer Geoff Allan, Mark Rodgers, assistant Adam Hill, and guitarist Mike Baillie.
Power pop magnates and Ardent mainstays The Scruffs were back in studio A this June, working on the mix for their forthcoming record. They spent a week and a half mixing with their engineer Geoff Allan, who with the rest of the band travelled all the way from Scotland to be at Ardent. Adam Hill assisted on the mix.
The Scruffs have a long history in the Memphis/Power pop scene, having originally hailed from here and having cut their debut, “Wanna Meet the Scruffs?,” right here at Ardent in 1977. The band spent some time in New York in the early 80′s, but singer/songwriter Stephen Burns moved back to Memphis in 1982 and would remain here until finding a new home in Scotland in 1998. While here, he made the great cult classic recordings that would eventually turn into the album “Midtown.”
Having found his new home in Scotland, Burns pressed on and with the help of friends recorded “Love, The Scruffs” (1998) and “Swingin’ Singles” (2003), forming a new iteration of the band as he came along: Simon Cottrell on bass, Mark Rodgers on drums and eventually Mike Baillie on guitars, etc.
The recordings of The Scruffs evolved, and arrangements became more orchestrally lush, leading up to the recording of “Pop Manifesto,” which was mixed by engineer Geoff Allan and assisted by Adam Hill right back here at Ardent in 2006.
All of this, of course, leading up to their return for the most current project, to be entitled Conquest. The album is already mixed and mastered and is due out sometime in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled! In the meantime, check out The Scruffs’ Web site, or view their previous material on Amazon.com!
In the picture: Co-producers James Joseph, Curry Weber, Scott Hardin, and Todd Agnew.
Ardent Records artist Todd Agnew has been spending time in the studio working on a variety of material for his new record. What started as more than 30 songs (Todd is extremely prolific in his songwriting efforts) has been pared down to 12, and the record is now very close to being finished and ready to go. Six of the songs on the record were co-produced by Todd, Ardent’s Curry Weber, James Joseph, and Scott Hardin; the rest were produced by Todd and Curry only. Scott mixed the whole record with Curry engineering the tracking portions. The record will be entitled Need and is slated for an October 6th release of this year.
The first single will be entitled “Joy Unspeakable” and is due for release to Christian radio on July 10th. Stay tuned to the all new ToddAgnew.com for more details on a tour starting in the fall. For an hilarious video preview of the work on the album, click here (trust us, it’s worth your 30 seconds!). In the meantime, check out any of Todd’s back catalogue at Amazon.com!
In an event that may or may not have caused the hurricane force winds that blew through Memphis last week, Ardent Music owner and founder John Fry stepped behind the console for the first time since, according to the man himself, the 1980s. Fry was in studio A mixing some tracks for the upcoming Big Star Box Set, entitled Keep an Eye on the Sky. Ardent’s Adam Hill (our resident Big Star historian) assisted on the mixes, with a giant grin on his face. The tracks they worked on were:
1. An 8 track version of “Try Again” from #1 Record
2. An alternate take of “India Song” from #1 Record, with some additional overdubs that never appeared on the original
3. A rough, early instrumental version of “O My Soul” from Radio City
4. A cover of the Kinks “Til the End of the Day”
Memphis Music Foundation presents Backstage Pass: A conversation with MGMT and Kuroma! Featuring Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT and Hank Sullivant of The Whigs and Kuroma. This event is FREE, but space is VERY limited and you must call to reserve a seat. You can reach the foundation at (901) 527-1029. Call today!
Gain a different perspective on what local bands should be doing to increase their profiles, expand their audience, and do good business with talent buyers and clubs. Panelists can offer a myriad of success stories concerning local bands and will cover the major do’s and don’ts of booking. Other topics to be discussed include the importance of Pollstar and tracking your numbers, making first impressions, press kits, communication with clubs and promoters, and advancing production and press for shows.
In the picture, L to R: Producer Jim Gaines, bassist Tony Valdez, Lance Lopez, add’l engineer Adam Hill, assistant Nick Redmond, and engineer Pete Matthews.
Texas blues guitarist Lance Lopez was in the studio recently with producer Jim Gaines (George Thorogood, Steve Miller, Huey Lewis), overdubbing guitars and mixing a new record. This project marks the first time the two have worked together, but they have had friends in common in the Texas blues scene for some time. Pete Matthews was the mix engineer, with Adam Hill recording the overdubs and Nick Redmond assisting.
Lance takes off for a European tour this week, and together with Jim will be shopping his yet-to-be-titled record to various labels in the near future. Check out Lance’s tunes on his myspace, or check out some of his past projects on Amazon.com.
In the picture: Top row, L to R: Studio manager/Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, co-producer/engineer Curry Weber. Bottom row, L to R: Bassist Geoff Smith, singer Josh Cosby, and co-producer/lead guitarist Nick Redmond.
Ardent Music artists Star & Micey were back in the studio yet again, tracking the final song for their debut record, to be released in late June/early July. The song, entitled Nelson (named after a street in Midtown Memphis) will feature the legendary Jody Stephens (Big Star!) on drums.
Read more about Star & Micey at their lively blog, located at starandmicey.com.
In the Picture, L to R: Jim Aldridge (sax/harmonica), Dayna Kurtz, Sonny Burgess (guitar), Kern Kennedy (keys), Fred Douglas (bass), Bobby Crafford (drums), Randy Crafton (engineer), and Adam Hill (assistant).
New York singer/songwriter Dayna Kurtz came to Ardent with engineer Randy Crafton (Richie Havens, The Mingus Big Band) to do some work on her forthcoming record. Adam Hill assisted. With this session came something special – Kurtz’s backing band for the day was none other than Sun Records artists Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers.
Dayna first came into contact with drummer Bobby Crafford 3 years ago at The Ponderosa Stomp. The Legendary Pacers, who have been playing together with the same lineup since 1961, provided for Dayna the rockabilly/swamp pop boogie that she had been looking for.
The acclaimed 33 1/3 book series has featured Big Star’s Radio City for an upcoming release. Each of the books tells the story of the making of a record, and previous releases have included everything from Dusty Springfield’s Dusty in Memphis to Jeff Buckley’s Grace to Radiohead’s OK Computer, and everything in between.
Taking-over.com has reviewed Jump Back Jake’s debut release, Brooklyn Hustle/Memphis Muscle, which was released on Ardent Music’s newly revived secular music label late last year. From the review:
Retro bands have always been cool, but also a bit of a novelty. The current wave of metal bands with a huge 80s influence may be fun for a time, but I doubt they’ll have any lasting value. When swing came back in the 90s, its popularity barely lasted a year. But then there’s a band like Jump Back Jake that does it in just such a way that has me saying, “This is really really good. If they make the right appearances, maybe people will actually grab a hold of them as something more than another little trend.” And the reason Jump Back Jake stands out is because they offer not just a rehashing of an old sound but a complex melding of a diverse range of sounds. In just one album, I can pick out elements of blues, ska, classic rock, gospel, country, 90s alternative, jazz, punk, Southern rock, and funk. If that hasn’t sufficiently confused you, keep reading.