Calvin wrote this song on the way to the studio. He banged it out on his guitar and the band played it a few times as they worked out exactly what he wanted.
The drums are in a separate room behind glass with the bass player camped out watching him. Old Groove Tubes Model 1's were used as overhead/room mics with the rest of the kit mic'd with an AKG D112 on kick and Sure SM57 on snare.
Calvin was in the vocal booth with his acoustic guitar. I put a condenser low on his guitar and mic'd him with a stage mic for the scratch. To keep him from singing too loud, and getting in the guitar mic, I kept the vocal loud in his headphone mix. Everyone else was DI'd in the main room of the studio and played along.
As soon as we had a take, Calvin re-sang the vocal. We isolated the fiddle player and had him play the most lonely part he could come up with. I finally had to take most of the original signal out and replace it with the output of a reverb unit set to sound like someone was at the end of a long hallway.
We kept pulling instruments out, but the song still wasn't conveying the loneliness we were after. I asked if this was one person's perspective, or if it could better express the distance between two people. Calvin agreed and I made a quick call to a singer I'd met a few days before. She was able to come right out and after two tries we had the take we used on the track. She just re-sang the same lyrics and we bounced between them where it made sense.
The final version is just two voices, guitar, bass, and fiddle.
The helicopter sounds may be a little cheesy, but it seemed right at the time. They were part of the compliment of sounds on the YAMAHA S90 keyboard I had just bought.
Mastering... if you want to call it that, was accomplished with an APHEX 204 and Empirical Labs FATSO feeding into a T.C.Electronics Finalizer 96K. No drastic settings on either unit were used. I don't think the Finalizer did anything except make the A/D conversion for the DAW.
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