Straid Hill was recorded live off the floor at Straid Hill Farm north of
“Straid Hill” was recorded “live off the floor” over three days in March, 1994 in a logcabin at my family’s farm, “Straid Hill”, north of Cobourg, Ontario, Canada. The recording was done by the most awesome Doug McClement and his state of the art Comfort Sound Mobile Studio (renamed: Live Wire Remote). Upon release, the record received some critical acclaim (see:“kind words”) and was re-released on Serge Sloimovits’ “Dark Light Records” (Willie P. Bennett, Leslie Spit Treo, The Sidemen…) in 1995.
The version available here is a re-mix done by musician/producer John Switzer in 2010 after the original 2 inch tape had to be transferred to digital before it disintegrated. Some backup vocals were added by Switzer and by Michael Walker in 2011. The original release was mixed by McClement on a ridiculous shoestring budget (we spent all our money on recording like the bunch of rookies we were). I think Doug mixed the record in one day in the mobile studio.
On this re-mixed version Jon Vopni, of Vopni Parsons Design revamped his brilliant cover illustration and Chris Bingham’s back cover image (write it on a rock) from the original pressing version. The band on “Straid Hill” had only recently formed following the completion of my first studio recording: “Better than the real you”. This early recording (1992?) was done at Fred Duvall’s studio and utilized the talents of “The Pranksters” (Michael Walker: keys and vocals; John McClean: bass; Warren Lastewka: drums; Michael Barnes: electric guitar and vocals).
Bob Vopni also played some wicked guitar on this recording. The Pranksters were an awesome obscure-covers/originals band that played all over the Golden Horseshoe (including a long standing New Year’s Eve show at the rough and tumble Black Bull at Queen and John in downtown Toronto). It was not long after the completion of “Better than the Real You”, that Walker, McClean, Lastewka and the “anything with strings” player Dave Bennett (formerly of the Philosopher Kings) joined me to form the Tyler Ellis band. It became apparent quite early on that “Better than the Real You”, although wonderful in its own right, did not really represent this new, well-rehearsed, folky/rootsy band we had become and it was from this realization that “Straid Hill” was born. Making “Straid Hill” was an experience that continues to inform everything I do. Try and write songs that are honest and true, surround yourself with great people who care deeply about what they do, and try, as best you can, to capture those songs “just the way they are”.
“Wonderful music by a great bunch
of guys.Hope the people who
buy the CD can pick up on the fun
we had making it.”
LiveWire Remote Recorder