You have probably have heard the duet “Drive Away” featuring Kacey Musgraves. Bet you have also sung along to The Band Perry’s “Done”. And, do you watch “Nashville”? Then, you’ve heard “Be My Girl”. However, do you recognize the names John Davidson and Jacob Bryant? Well…pay attention, they have written all of those songs, and along with Trevor Davis, they are The Brummies!
The Brummies’ album “Eternal Reach” came out this past Spring, and I was instantly in love. Not only are the songs addictive, but the sound….ah….all recorded in analog!! What does that mean? Not to get all techie, but an analog recording is made by imprinting a signal directly onto the master tape or master record. Digital recordings take that analog signal and convert it into a digital representation of the sound. After the analog signal is digitalized, the recording can be copied.
Controversy continues over which is a better sound. I personally love analog as does John who took some time to talk with me recently. “It has always been our dream to record to tape. You can hear that hiss. It’s some kind of natural magic. It’s a glue. You record it, and it glues itself together. Tape has a timeless sound.” Consider The Brummies’ influences, The Beatles, Elton John and ELO. So, with Jeremy Ferguson and co-producer David Hopkins, they recorded “Eternal Reach,” on analog at Jeremey’s studio, Battle Tapes Recording in Nashville http://battletapes.com/). Jeremy did The Brummies’ music on a Spectra Sonics Console. That company made the consoles for New York’s infamous Record Plant. “My console is the first they have made since 1978. It’s a prototype,” Jeremy explains.
John says, he loved the experience of recording in analog so much. “I would do it anytime. It’s hard to go back to digital.” (For a bit more on the recording aspect of the album, see the sidebar below.)
Whether or not, you are an audiophile and pay attention to every sound or you just sit back and take it all in, “Eternal Reach” is a great listen. The way the album flows probably has a lot to do with the comfort of the songwriters. John and Jacob have been friends since second grade. They started the act as John & Jacob and had their first records under that name. Not really wanting to be considered country singers, they recently have rebranded and came out as The Brummies. “We are rock and roll, but we are from Alabama and speak with country accents! Getting thrown into the country world happened organically,” John laughs.
Writing with The Band Perry was a leap in their career. “At the time, Jacob and I were managed by same person as the The Band Perry. We opened for them in the UK. After that, they said they wanted to write with us. The first time we got in the room together, we came up with ‘Done’.”
Writing is natural for John and Jacob. “When writing a song, Jacob and I have had a lot of success bouncing things off of each other. He will have a lyric or an idea or I will, and we take it to each other. It flows naturally since we have been writing with each other for so long. Sometimes we write on piano, sometimes with a guitar. Sometimes we get on recording software and come up with a beat. There’s not a right or wrong way, but I think the best stuff that we have done is when we bounce off of each other and mold it from there.”
If you love what you hear, the good news is….The Brummies are on tour, and are also doing a show with Little Big Town. Check out their tour schedule at: https://www.thebrummies.com).
Battle Tapes Recording is Jeremy Ferguson’s studio in Nashville.
Whether or not you are an audiophile, and whether or not you really notice the difference in their sound, The Brummies are a great listen and feel. Jeremy said, one thing the band did differently was the change in standard instrument calibration which is 440HZ. The Brummies chose 444Hz. That’s what The Beatles often used. According to John, “444HZ resonates with the vibration of water. When you hit a C-chord in 444, it moves water. Your body is made up mostly water, so while you may not be able to hear the difference, you can feel it. It might move you in a way that you don’t realize.”
In any case, it is safe to say Jeremy can pretty much record any way you want to record. Not only does he have a 900 sq. ft building outside his house, but also a big console inside his house.
While Jeremy will record, drums, bass, guitars and vocals to tape initially, tape costs about $340 a reel and you might need about four reels, he says . Most likely the bands will switch to the more inexpensive Pro Tools to continue to record.
That’s not all bad, Digital technology, Jeremy says, has come a long way since he first started recording in school at Middle Tennessee State University. “When I first started to get into recording in the mid-90s, digital technology was not acceptable to people. It didn’t sound very good. We would record projects to digital for the class, then we would do the rest of our stuff on a two-inch machine because it sounded so much better. I think that digital technology is catching up sonically, but that’s only recently. It’s getting close in some aspects.”
Jeremy says, “I can act as a producer, but more often than not, I stick to the engineering and sound. That’s where I am most interested and have been concentrating.”
As time goes on, Un-Block The Music hopes to continue to visit studios and to look at new recording techniques. If you have story suggestions or studio suggestions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.