from left to right: Producer Bob Johnston, H. L. McConnell, Danny Memeo,
Rodney Wright, bassist Bryan Sutton, Todd Adams


The Making of Posture

On Halloween night, 1996 we went into Commanche Studios on 16th Avenue in Nashville to record with legendary Nashville producer Bob Johnston. Bob has produced classic albums for Bob Dylan (Blonde on Blonde, Nashville Skyline, Highway 61 Revisited, John Wesley Harding), Johnny Cash (Folsom Prison Blues), and Simon and Garfunkel (The Sounds of Silence). Bob is a rare breed in the recording industry anymore. Where most producers today will build a song track by track in the studio, Bob wanted us to record live. Just start playing and roll tape. And that's what we did.

We were going in to cut three tracks: Consider This, Slightest Distance, and Count On You. We arrived at the studio about 6pm and started setting up for an all-night session. This was the first of many sessions in the studio and was supposed to be the first official recording session for the Posture album.

 

 

  

HL & RODNEY

As it turned out, though, we actually liked some of our demo recordings better than what we had recorded in the studio. So the demos we recorded on August 6, 7, and 8 of 1996 for the songs Posture and Girl In the Valley actually ended up on the album. They just captured a feeling that we couldn't recreate under the pressure of being in the studio. Another song, Once in a While, was taken mostly from a demo recorded in February 1996. Other instruments were added to the track in late 1996. And even though we recorded Consider This at Commanche Studios on October 31st, we weren't completely satisfied with the performance. It's very difficult to capture a live performance that everyone is satisfied with and Consider This just didn't come together that night. That song was re-recorded later with Dave Perkins. But we were happy with Slightest Distance and Count On You. Those two songs, recorded live, made it onto the Posture album.

Later, in November 1996, we started recording the rest of the album with Dave Perkins. Dave's studio, named Dave's Garden of Eden, is actually a converted mobile studio housed in a 1949 Flxible bus. It has more character, history and ambiance than any studio you could imagine. Previous clients of the mobile studio included Led Zepplin, Ted Nugent, Amy Grant and many others.

The bus part is only half of the studio though. It would be pretty hard to set up vocal booths and drums in a little bus, so the bus is actually just the control room. Dave converted his basement to make the rest of the studio. This picture is of H.L. as he's recording the song rizzo.

HL RECORDING TRACKS FOR RIZZO

 

 

DAVE AT WORK

Recording at Dave's was a little more laid back than at Commanche. For one, we had more than one day in the studio. We had several weeks of time blocked off to do everything from laying down basic tracks and overdubbing, to experimenting with different sounds and effects. It also helped that we were recording at Dave's house. And Dave certainly made us feel at home, almost a part of the family. Anytime we needed to just clear our heads for a minute, the home upstairs provided a refuge from all things studio. Sitting down with a hot cup of coffee or tea for five minutes has a way of getting you back on course when you're under stress.

After several weeks of laying down 99 percent of the tracks at Commanche and Dave's Garden of Eden, we went into Belmont studio to do just some minor tweaking. There were a couple of vocal parts to fix, some editing, and minor overdubbing. Dave had some other artists he was working with at his studio so we took this time to put the finishing touches on the raw tracks before going back to Dave's to start mixing. By this time, in early 1997, we had tried to re-record Posture and Girl in the Valley, but really liked the demo versions we had recorded with Bryan Sutton at his Sutton Home studios. So at this point we were very ready to finish this album and get into mixing it.

We went back to Dave's to start mixing. For most of the songs we spent a full day on each song. Some songs took a little less time.

HL's ALBUM ART WORK

Finally, after spending several days over the course of several months in the studio, we had a nearly finished album. The final step in the production process is mastering. For that we went to Ken Love. Ken is one of the most respected mastering engineers in Nashville. Then it was off to be manufactured and Posture was officially released on July 22, 1997.


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