Usually, before I use a piece of equipment, especially for an on-location recording session, I like to really dive into it beforehand. As most anyone would, I find it better to be very familiar with every piece of gear I’m using before I use it in the field.
Leading up to our recording session with Robert Ellis, I wasn’t able to put the Roland Studio-Capture through its paces beforehand, which meant that the session was going to be the acid test. Being extremely compact (just over 11 inches wide) for all the features it offers, the Studio-Capture was the perfect size to stick in a bag with a laptop and few mics for the session. For our session, Robert sang and played one song on guitar, and the other on piano. We set up the Studio-Capture, which connects via USB 2.0, to a MacBook Pro running Logic. The Studio-Capture sports 16 inputs and 10 outputs, with 12 of those inputs being microphone pre amps, so we were able to set up for guitar, piano, and vocals, and switch between the two setups as needed without having to reset everything.
On this week’s edition of Acoustic Café, Robert Ellis brings his trio to the Big Sky studio and performs songs from his 2014 release The Lights From The Chemical Plant. He also swaps stories about his recent move from Houston to Nashville. The new album was recorded in Nashville with Jacquire King, and features Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith of Dawes, as well as Jim Lauderdale.
“My friends joke that I’m incapable of metaphor,” Ellis tells host Rob Reinhart. “And a part of that is that I grew up in the storytelling-songwriting tradition and you know, it is really important to me that you don’t get confused while you’re listening and that you can relate to these characters, and a lot of that has do to with how easy the story is to understand.”
A polar wind blew through Nashville in January, but we found sanctuary one afternoon in the home of New West recording artist Robert Ellis. The space cowboy himself treated us to a performance of “Bottle Of Wine,” a dark-night-of-the-soul ballad off his upcoming album The Lights From The Chemical Plant.
Ellis performs the song on his piano, a slightly out of tune instrument from 1909 that packs a serious whorehouse vibe. A sad song is always best for winter, and “Bottle Of Wine” fits the bill just perfectly.
Video shot and edited by Neal Dahlgren. Audio recorded and edited by Steve Martin.