Next week, I will take a moment to post a blog which will discuss a year of The Recording Session Vault Educational Website Project. But, for this evening, I want to take a moment to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season.
Over the course of the past few months, since school has started, I have been helping Quentin adjust to being in kindergarten. For the first nine-weeks of the school year, I was sick throughout the entirety of that time— first, with COVID (for four weeks) and then with pneumonia (for the next five weeks). Just prior to Thanksgiving, my mother contracted pneumonia, as well and it landed her in the ICU for more than a week. Thankfully, we were able to have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday together. We were extremely fortunate. During the time in which I was ill, I authored three brief contributing articles for Entertainment Weekly— which were about the greatest hit songs in country music (1950-2000), and the greatest hit songs from both Bruce Springsteen and Sir Paul McCartney. None of them have appeared on the website or in print as of this post, and I am not certain as of this writing when or if they will make an appearance in the publication.
I have also authored two articles which will be published onto the website after the beginning of the New Year. The first article is a studio spotlight feature of the Sound Emporium in Nashville, Tennessee, a legendary recording studio facility that since 1969, has been a place where some of the greatest hits from (in chronological order) Ray Stevens, Don Williams, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Gene Watson, Keith Whitley, Trisha Yearwood, Alan Jackson and so many others have been recorded. The second article is the final company spotlight feature that will be written for the site and it details the amazing story of Spectra1964. Beginning in 1964, the company, under its original name— Spectra Sonics, produced some of the greatest units of gear and consoles, as well, for the professional music recording industry. In fact, some of the greatest hits in the history of popular music were recorded using Spectra gear and consoles at such legendary recording studio facilities as Ardent, Stax and The Record Plant in New York City, among others. Today, Spectra1964 produces amazing units of gear in both rack-mount form and 500-series modules which are true to the original designs from 1965-1969, for the world of music recording.
The reason why the Spectra1964 article will be the final company spotlight is because I am in the process of creating a buyer’s guide for education. Though it is referred to as a buyer’s guide for education, it is actually a product guide which is designed to introduce the primary audience of the The Recording Session Vault— which have been music teachers, band directors, choir directors, theater coaches, music students, school administrators and young and aspiring engineers to the amazing technologies that can be found in the greatest recording studios in the world and the amazing companies which still create them. This project has taken me six months thus far, as I have been authoring the product descriptions, feature articles and research for it over the course of that time in the evenings. It was inspired by Mindy Peterson, who gave me the opportunity to appear as a guest on her fabulous podcast, Enhance Life With Music, and the other wonderful music teachers who I have had the opportunity to work with during my twenty-year career in education. The guide will include articles about each of the components that could be found in a legendary recording studio, how the legendary engineers of the past would have used each of those components and which of those components are still in use in fine recording studios today, plus, the stories of the companies that continue to lovingly create them. I have been so fortunate to have more than 40 professional audio companies and the wonderful people behind their products who have been both kind and gracious enough to provide their assistance and support to this educational project. It has been a monumental undertaking— and, it is my hope that it will serve to introduce both educators and those who love popular music to the products that have been used to create it, plus, how those amazing technologies can be used by them to teach the artists, engineers, musicians and producers of the future.
Once the educational product guide is completed, I will turn my attention to two other important components of the The Recording Session Vault Educational Website Project, authoring spotlight articles about the recording studios that were the places where some of the greatest music of the past was recorded that are still in operation and also, honoring the legendary recording studio engineers who were truly the great people behind the popular music that we have all come to love and to cherish. It is my plan to author one article per month after the guide has been created and is fully available. This will allow me to have the opportunity to work on my book project, which will be about the forces which led to the death of rock music and eventually to the rise of hip hop and country music in the 1990s and finally to the music scene that is with us in the present. It will also allow me to be able to launch a podcast series that will about the legendary albums of the past and the engineers, musicians and producers who were behind their development. I plan on using the blog just for basic updates on a monthly basis. Next week, I will post an end of the year in review for the website.
I want to close by ending this post with a wish for each of you. From my family to yours, we want to take a moment to wish each of you and your families both a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season.
John, Stephanie and Quentin Long