2015 was an excellent year in which I was fortunate enough to be involved in the production of many musical projects. I had been working hard on composing original tunes for TV/Film as well and got to see many of them get placed in shows such as The Voice(NBC), NFL on FOX, The SteveHarvey Show, Chicago PD, Swab Stories (VH1), and World's Funniest Fails (NBC).
The year started with Ben Knight and the Welldigger's album "American Highways." This band features my good friend, Jeremy Smart, on guitar and his brother, Jason, on drums. The band had started the recording in Nashville and wanted to come home to Cincinnati to finish it off. I was impressed with the songwriting right from the start. It had a genuine quality about it that is seldom seen these days in a music world full of songwriters looking to write substance-less "hits" instead of writing from a true place of authenticity. Ben is the real deal and his band is an all star cast of local talent. It was a true honor to record a couple of the tunes , mix, and master "American Highways."
Later in January the Queen City Silver Stars came in to begin work on their 2nd release "Green Flash". Working with these guys is always a treat. You probably won't meet a better group of people, and their island vibe was much needed in the very frigid month of January! The album features the always impressive songwriting of Mark Becknell combined with a Caribbean rhythmic flare that makes for a very unique flavor. Go check it out and see for yourself!
Concurrently Mark Becknell and I had been working on his solo album "Like The Vine", an album that is guaranteed to raise every hair on your body at one point or the other. The sentiment behind the songwriting cuts through you like a knife and grabs your attention from start to end. It's an understatement to say it was an honor to be involved in this one! A must listen!
In February The Klaberheads came in to begin work on their album "Klaberhead Tradition." The history of this family band is vast, as they have been in existence now for over 85 years! As far as I'm concerned they put on the best and most entertaining live show around town. You can catch them every year at various Oktoberfest celebrations including the big stage on fountain square at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.
March brought on the release of Ronnie Verl & The Wallbangers debut cd entitled "Mostly Drinkin' Songs". This cd is the brainchild of the one and only Ron Bryant. His old school country songwriting is laced with wit, humor, and emotion all in one package. It was an amazing experience to work on this album which features Cincy greats Jeff Vanover, Dusty Bryant, Mark Becknell, and Renee Frye. Check out my favorite cut from the album "Harvey Wallbanger Hangover."
In May a good friend, Josh Muddiman, brought his band "Lost Coast" into the studio to record their first ep. I have always admired his unique gruff voice and ability to write a solid rock song stemming back to his days in "Shoot Out The Lights." To no surprise the band came in and layed down a few tunes with ease. Well prepared, skilled, and precise! The ep features the one and only Alan Topolski on drums and Joshua Howard on bass. Have a listen. Later in the month, The Part Time Gentlemen released their first album "Whiskey On My Breath". A terrific collection of traditional and original tunes. The songs ooze acoustic energy and the tightness of the band is quite apparent on this 10 song album. Well done guys!
Early on in June, Wolfcryer came in to record a couple tunes including his single "St. Anthony." Singer/songwriter Matt Bauman, who usually performs and records solo, decided to do this tune with a full band. Matt was great to work with and I know he has impeccable taste because he picked some of the best talent that Cincinnati has to offer to back him up!
Chad William Stamper released his debut solo album "Camera Shy" in June as well. This album was the culmination of many different sessions where Chad would come to Jeremy Smart and I with song lyrics and ideas. The three of us would sit down, work out the song arrangement, and record all in one day. It was such an enjoyable process getting to know Chad, his songs, and the incredible insight he brings to the table. Give him a listen and pay special attention to the lyrics! So well thought out and delivered with care.
In August we went on location at the Southgate House Revival to record a live album for Frontier Folk Nebraska. These guys embody the spirit of everything I love about rock n roll. Great songwriting, stage energy, and delivery. Glad to be a part of this monster! Look for the release soon.
Our band, The Atomic Atoms, released our 3rd album "Diggin Up Ed Sullivan" in August as well. It is one that we are all very proud of and spent a few years working out the kinks on. Features the always impressive and entertaining songwriting of one Mr. Adam Singer, my dear friend and compatriot. My personal opinion is that it's our best effort to date! Check it out here. I also released a solo punk album under the name The Tommyknockers. A big thank you to Stephen Sherman and Jay$ Baskette for coming all the way down from Cleveland to record their tracks on it. These dudes are amazing.
Throughout the rest of the year I was fortunate enough to start working on numerous projects which will see releases in 2016 from bands such as Modern Aquatic, Sleepy Andy Tracy, Motel Faces, Ernie Johnson From Detroit, The Riverside Rampage, Full Moon Ranch, The Southern-Aires, Call of Cain, and Josh Eagle. It is amazing to be able to make music for a living and I am so grateful for all of you who choose to bring your projects to Cappel Recording! Happy New Year!