Mancave Studio Diary #3 – River Town

This will be the final instalment of the diary, for now. Perhaps the next ones will be on the recording the Cats and I are working on. Should be fun!

This recording features Leanna Yamada, whom I’ve written about on before, notably here and here. Leanna also appeared at the ABC Songwriters’ Circle back in March of this year. Here is her bio.

unnamedLeanna Yamada is a Toronto-based singer and songwriter. You can usually find her playing around the city with her band, which includes her creative partner and lead guitarist Chuck Majic. Together they write popular music with folk, blues and jazz influences. Leanna will taking advantage of the Songwriters’ Circle to introduce more personal material she has written as a solo artist, which comments on her own life experiences. (show #18 – March 13, 2018)

Leanna and I met when she started working at a school in North York. As we discovered we were both songwriters, this became a frequent topic of discussion. From there, catching each other’s shows followed. As I was starting to develop ManCave, I asked Leanna and Chuck Majic (her guitarist in the current project at the time) whether they would be interested in having some recordings done at my fledgling studio. They agreed, and were able to put down a few songs with her band.

Fast forward to a few months ago… Leanna had a collection of romantic songs better suited to a keyboard-driven approach. We agreed to see what they could sound like fully produced.

This one is my favourite. Early in the recording of it, I suggested that real strings would sound amazing on it. Leanna had been thinking the same and knew an amazing musician to fit the bill. Enter Daniela Gassi on violin and viola.

daniela.jpgDaniela plays viola regularly in the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, as well as in semi-professional orchestras in and around Toronto.  She also performs with Brampton Music Theatre, playing violin in the pit orchestra for their musical productions. Outside of the classical realm, Daniela also performs as part of pop rock ensemble Three Seasons and the Move, and plays violin in many other indie bands, most recently with Ryan Bonner (Tides On Earth) and with Leanna live.

The concept from the beginning was to make the arrangement as sparse as possible to feature Leanna’s singing, but have a rich tone. Keyboard and vocals were done first, then strings were added at a later date. That session was a very creative one, where Daniela  doubled the signature piano riff, added harmony, and counterpoint to further enhance the song. Finally I played bass in a few spots.

Track List:

  • Electronic piano on Grand setting
  • Violin 1 panned right
  • Violin 2 panned right (on selected sections)
  • Viola panned left
  • Bass through “Modern Amp” model
  • Vocals: single track through the Rode NT-1A panned slightly left
  • Vocals: same as above through the Sennheiser MK-4 panned slightly right
  • Reverb to taste

Enjoy!

River Town ©2018 words and music by Leanna Yamada – (SOCAN)


New Gig Alert

I’ll have more to say about this show in a blog later, but for those who like to plan ahead, December 18 at The Duke Live should definitely be on your calendar!

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Until next week, be well!

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