Justin Tracy, featuring Don Byron

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Justin Tracy has been recording his fourth studio album at The Woods over the last couple months, with Todd Adelman recording and co-producing. The album is called Five Fathoms and is slated for a 2024 release.

Justin was recently joined in the studio by jazz legend Don Byron, who added clarinet to the song “Simple Life.” Don has been nominated as a composer for both a Grammy and Pulitzer, has released a dozen albums as a band leader, and has performed with the likes of Bang A Can, Bill Frisell, Reggie Workman, Living Colour, Joe Henry, Allen Toussaint, Susan Vega, and more.

A bit more about Justin: Singer-songwriter Justin Tracy was born and raised in London and currently lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.  He is a multi-instrumentalist with a focus on acoustic guitar and voice.  He is also a record producer, composer for television and film, arranger, and vocal coach who recently hand-built his recording studio, Hurley Sound Studio. Justin began his career as a jazz drummer performing with acts including Earth, Wind & Fire at the Nice And North Sea Jazz Festivals. Justin is a self-taught guitarist and recently worked with acclaimed tabla player, Nilesh Jhadav on his albums Bangla Motor (2011) and Mumbai Night (2017).

Suzy Thompson is a fiddle player who has have devoted her life to the pursuit of weird and obscure old-time American music – warped fiddle tunes in odd tunings, cinematic ballads, country blues songs that contain mysterious metaphors, early Cajun music with incomprehensible French lyrics and backwards chords. In addition to her rhythm-driven fiddling, she is a powerful blues singer, influenced by Memphis Minnie and Bessie Smith, and a highly respected blues guitarist.

Suzy swang by the studio recently to record with a group of Woodstock legends — John Sebastian, Cindy Cashdollar, and Molly Mason.

John Valesio was the engineer.

Suzy Thompson with John Sebastian, Cindy Cashdollar, and Molly Mason.

We were super stoked to have Leif Vollebekk in the studio recently. Lief was recording some tunes with engineer John Valesio. Woodstock legend Cindy Cashdollar joined for some magical lap steel and dobro playing.

Leif is a Canadian indie folk singer-songwriter, whose 2017 album Twin Solitude was a shortlisted finalist for the 2017 Polaris Music Prize and the 2018 Juno Award for Adult Alternative Album of the Year. His fourth album, New Ways, was released in 2019 on Secret City Records

Cindy Cashdollar received five Grammy awards while playing for eight years with Asleep at the Wheel, and has also backed such noted performers as Bob Dylan, Leon Redbone, Redd Volkaert, Carla Olson and Ryan Adams as a member of his band The Cardinals.

Leif Vollebekk and Cindy Cashdollar with John Valesio and Todd Adelman

We were lucky to have Kevin DeForrest at the studio recently, working on his new album, tentatively titled “One More Time Today.” Kevin seemlessly blends elements of blugrass, country, and folk into his timeless compositions.

Check out Kevin’s Kickstarter campaign and related blog post about the sessions here.

For these sessions, produced by Todd Adelman and engineered by John Valesio, Kevin was joined by a fantastic band:

Kevin DeForrest – Vocals
Jim Christie – Drums
Taras Prodaniuk – Bass
Doug Pettibone – Electric Guitars, Pedal Steel Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Dobro
John Putnam – Acoustic and Resophonic Guitar
Brian Mitchell – Piano, B3, Accordion and Wurlitzer Electric Piano

From Kevin: “The Band. That’s a whole lot of musical experience and expertise in one snapshot. The skill and creative insight they brought into the studio is evident on the recording – 4 days, 14 songs. Better yet, the kindness and friendship they shared with me is a gift I’ll keep with me forever.

All the photos here were taken by James Kegley.

One of the many great things about the location of our studio is its proximity to Woodstock, NY, a town with a rich musical history. The area attracts some incredible talent. You can’t shake a stick without hitting a world class musician.

To wit, we’ve recently had the honor of hosting Larry Campbell, John Medeski, and Jefferson Hamer, who all tracked on Todd Adelman’s upcoming album.

Here’s keyboard maestro John Medeski (of Medesiki, Martin & Wood) wrecking our Farfisa.

And here’s Jefferson Hamer singing some sweet harmonies.

The new single “January” from The Century Band featuring Marc Delgado, recorded at The Woods recently, is now available on all platforms.

Marc writes: “A collaboration w a ton of friends!!! The whole thing was put together by our pal from NYC Dan Klug of The Century Band. He wrote the tune & played piano! It was recorded & engineered by Todd Adelman at his amazing studio here in Woodstock. Co-written & produced by Justin Tracy. He also played acoustic guitar, drums AND keys!!!! Todd Nelson played slide guitar and James Alanson Kirk played bass. Co-written & sung by yours truly!!”

The video footage was shot by Tim Geaney and edited by @l.ittle.bit, @richardhll and Mimi Young.

We recently had The Century Band (featuring Marc Delgado) at The Woods for a day of recording with Justin Tracy producing.

Marc said: “Fantastic day of recording at The Woods!! The vibe was spot-on. Everybody had a great time and the sounds and gear are second to none! Best studio experience I’ve ever had… period!”

In addition to Marc, the band featured Justin on drums, Dan Klug on Piano, James Alanson Kirk on Bass, and Todd Nelson on guitar.

Todd Adelman engineered the session.

The Woods was truly inaugurated in late April, when Todd Adelman recorded his Seventh full length album with Danny Blume producing. Tracking was for Todd’s forthcoming release Western Soul, due out in late 2022.  

The band recorded live to 16 track 2 inch tape at 15 ips on an Ampex MM1200. Todd and Danny were joined by engineer Nic Hard, as well as Jim Christie on Drums, Taras Prodaniuk on Bass and BGVX, Doug Pettibone on Electric Guitar, Resonator Guitar, Dobro, Pedal Steel and BGVX and Pete Rubens on Piano and BGVX.

We were thrilled that classical pianist Marisa Gupta recently swung by the studio on her way back to Paris to record on our Steinway D Concert Grand. The session was produced by renowned classical producer Marlan Barry.

Here’s a couple samples from the session:

Variations on a Theme of Chopin by Federico Mompou: Variation 11
Variations on a Theme of Chopin by Federico Mompou: Variation 12

Marlan noted that he used a pair of piano mics Neumann M49 tubes with K49 capsules, as well Coles 4038 Ribbon mic at foot. The room mics were Schoeps 221b Omni’s. The mic pres were GML and Neve.

A bit more about Marissa: 

Pianist Marisa Gupta has a versatile musical life, comprised of solo and chamber music performances, ranging from rare repertoire of the past to a deep commitment towards music of today, performed with heartfelt conviction and a deep intellectual engagement. Born in the USA of Thai and Indian parentage, pianist Marisa Gupta made her debut performing Prokofiev’s 1st Piano Concerto with the Houston Symphony. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including top prizes at the Concours Maria Canals (Barcelona), the Viotti Competition (Vercelli, Italy), Corpus Christi and Kingsville International Music Competitions, a Solti Foundation Award, a Fulbright scholarship for study in the UK, and many others. She was an Edison Visiting Fellow at the British Library (for the study of early chamber music recordings and performance styles) and was named a finalist by the BBC for its New Generations Thinkers Scheme, an initiative inviting leading British thinkers to broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Here’s a clip of Marisa performing Haydn, Mompou, and Chopin:

More about Marlan: 

Marlan Barry specializes in orchestral, chamber, operatic, electro-acoustic and jazz recordings. In addition to recording and producing acclaimed musicians, chamber groups and orchestras in New York, Marlan served as the head recording engineer and musical producer for Houston Grand Opera for 15 years, producing its commercial releases and national radio broadcasts.

Steve Koester of Two Dark Birds recently spent an afternoon at The Woods sketching out a new song, called “The Song To End It All.”  Studio Owner Todd Adelman acted as engineer for the session. Look for release plans on Vfib Recordings in the near future. 

Two Dark Birds is a band from the Catskill Mountains formed by singer, songwriter, guitarist Steve Koester.  The band has released four critically acclaimed albums. 

Here’s a video from their 2017 album “Bow.”