Coda: Travels With Jack Flanders

If you’ve ever listened to the adventuring character Jack Flanders from the exceptional audio dramas produced by Tom Lopez and the ZBS Foundation then you are well-acquainted with the voice acting of Robert Lorick. Sadly, I just found out that Lorick died in January; although information is scarce, I estimate he was 75. Only a passing mention appeared here on NPR’s All Things Considered.

I discovered the masterful storytelling of Lopez and Lorick ages ago, when I was studying sound engineering and production at Berklee. I was enamored with the vivid storytelling and binaural sound quality of “Travels With Jack”Moon Over Morocco, Dreams of Rio/the Amazon/India/Bali/Sumatra—among many others: these “movies for the mind” left quite an indelible impression and I heartily encourage you to seek them out. You can hear samples and get downloads here.

Lorick was also a Broadway lyricist (“The Tap Dance Kid” with Gregory Hines) and he was a commercial voice artist; among his prominent clients was Chanel No. 5, for which he provided the tag lines on this recognizable “Blue Sky” TV spot, directed by Ridley Scott in 1979.

Read more about Robert Lorick here; and hear more here.

p.s. Lopez and ZBS have secured podcast distribution for their “Ruby” series via the new Wondery network, and they’re said to be planning a new streaming site to make it easier to travel with Jack Flanders. As they say, “stay tuned!”


Bang on the drum all day, any day

If you happened to have read the previous weekend’s NY Times Magazine highlighting “25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going,” you may have encountered a short article about drummer Matt Chamberlain. You can find out more about what he’s done and who he’s played for here, and then you might be interested to know how you, too, can (attempt to) get such a sound for your recordings.

If you are not a drummer or can’t entice a good one to play for you, then you may want to use the many loops Chamberlain has made available. Alternately, should you have that drummer at hand who can play in the pocket, a quick search will reveal a series of videos featuring Matt playing for esteemed engineer/producer Bob Clearmountain as a showcase of cleanly executed recording techniques.Record

Taking the simplest approach, here is the two-mic technique for those of us on a limited budget and, if you’re lucky, a really stellar drummer at the kit. 😉

The present tense of Leon Bridges

I’ve kinda fallen in love with this song after a bit of a courtship, having heard it repeatedly this past week on too-frequent trips to Starbucks:

“River” by Leon Bridges, from the album Coming Home.

It’s arguably his best performance. “Smooth Sailin'” is pretty cool, too, with a deliberately hyped retro production sound that defines the whole album and here it pointedly fingerprints its impression by opting deliberately for grit rather than laying out every pristine detail.

PlayThere’s a healthy influence of Sam Cooke on Bridges and similarities in delivery—the slight rising and falling slopes and curves of the notes—that he shares with Harry Connick Jr. and even a pinch of James Taylor, at least to my ears. An echo of a singer whom I can’t quite put my finger on still gnaws at me…somehow Johnny Rivers singing “Summer Rain” was my first association, but not quite, and then Sixto “Sugar Man” Rodriguez occurred to me…so I’ll have to revisit this. See if you agree by listening to this mix. 


Hawaii’s music heritage and peaceful message, in sound and picture

Listen to this! A great celebration of Hawaiian musical culture: so many expressive voices and instruments on this one song. And the process of multi-tracking the sound with picture—exquisitely shot, each musician on location, and creating a spectacularly coherent mix—is so well done. Nice work by sound man Dave Tucciarone and cinematographer Ruben Carrillo!

Project Kuleana: Music For The Well-Being Of Our Earth. An inter-island group performance of “Kaulana Na Pua.” Produced by Dawn Kaniaupio. For full credits, including all musicians, see the end of the video.

Frampton: Alive—and in the pocket

You may not have heard Peter Frampton in a long while yet you genuinely may want to settle in with this for a bit. Or longer. His voice has some whisky in it and his songs ring out undiminished and as strong as when he wrote them.

These videos of his newly-recorded, now classic songs ostensibly promote guitar pickups, with Gordon Kennedy’s deft sensitivity as an accompanist. The clarity and warmth of these instruments with Peter’s voice is quite outstanding. Of the three tunes here, “Baby I Love Your Way” stands tall yet “Lines On My Face” has such character for him now that it’s appropriately the big finish for this session at St. Charles Studio in Nashville.

Forty years after Frampton Comes Alive echoed from arenas to coliseums to stadiums and radios across America, a more intimate RAW tour is underway to promote his first-ever acoustic album of this same material and then some.