Fifty Years-Howling Dog Records
Howling Dog Records and me:
My deepest gratitude goes out to Don Richmond, Teri McCartney, Dave Clemmer and Jana Pochop at Howling Dog Records in Alamosa, CO. “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around, will it make any sound?.” That query applies to the aforementioned people. They “were around” and “did hear” the concept I had undertaken, were moved by it and wanted to be a part.
I refer to them as my Village People…as in “It takes a village” to do things like raising a child or keeping our country on the right track or, in this case, to get my “Fifty Years” retrospective off the ground. Creating something so comprehensive that covers five decades takes more time and organization than I ever imagined. When I began the process, I started it because I knew it had to be done. It was the next right move for me to make in my career. This 5-disc box set covers fifty years of my writing showing off the various styles of songs I write and extols the virtues of the many talented people along the way who were so willing to lend a hand.
At the perfect time, a casual conversation with Don Richmond turned into a possible marriage of what I was doing and what his Howling Dog Records was doing. My personal motto is “Everything is always perfect”, and this is the perfect case to hold up as an example of how the Universe works. With the help of my precious wife Sharon, 83 out of 105 songs we had mastered for contention were chosen. I had to separate each of them into the decades they were written, note where every song was recorded, who engineered it, who produced it and who if any co-writers were involved. Publishing info for each song is necessary as well as who played what instruments and if that song had been on any of my ten commercial albums. I selected 2 or 3 songs from each of those records, but the rest of the songs have been mixed and mastered laying dormant in a vault until now. From my point of view, they are the best of the best.
One massive task was to prepare all the songs to be mastered together as a group. Jon Raney at Raney Studios in Drasco, AR rose to the task. I’ve worked with Jon on other projects and think he is as good as it gets when it comes to listening, hearing and twisting the knobs that enhance every second of the recording. His process took weeks. My assembling all of this information both for the 24 page booklet accompanying the box set and for what appears on the Fifty Years section of bobcheevers.com has taken months. My web site guru Erica Gustafson, who did my current web site, is installing a section just for the “Fifty Years” stuff. She has a wonderful eye for keeping my website warm and colorful and easy to navigate.
I wanna give you some info on Howling Dog Records and let you know some of the other great artists who are on the label. First, my heros and occasional trio partners Shake Russell and Michael Hearne have just done a solo album each along with a new duo album. Some of the other artists I know are Michael’s uncle (and often musical partner) Bill Hearne, Bill and Bonnie Hearne, the amazing guitarist/singer/songwriter Don Conoscenti, 2 Bit Palamino, Don Richmond’s fab group The Rifters, Amanda Biggs, David Clemmer as well as the delightful Susan Gibson who has worked on numerous projects at HDR. You can go to howlingdogrecords.com for a complete list of artists and label info.
Here is some info off the Howling Dog Recorsds web page:
Howlin’ Dog Records is a small label based in Alamosa, Colorado, dedicated to finding new ways to help artists get their music out into the world in today’s ever-changing music business. Our goal is to build relationships and community among artists, audiences, and supporters in ways that nurture the careers and growth of both the artist and our company.
We are focused on the region “from Alamosa to Austin”, basically southern Colorado, New Mexico and down through Texas, and in a musical sense on acoustic through Americana to roots rock and blues. Focused but not limited – always up for an adventure!
The Howlin’ Dog Studio was built inside an old barn/workshop on the old farmstead where Don and Teri moved in the summer of 2008. It’s a building inside a building, with new walls, ceiling structure, isolated flooring, and all new wiring. It sounds great, feels great, and has pretty much everything we will need to make a great record. Plus it is in an amazingly beautiful and quiet place, with no neighbors to bother or be bothered by, incredible views all around, and still just a few minutes from the comforts of town when we want to go have lunch. We all think it’s pretty sweet!
Check out the equipment list for the details, but with our great mics, sweet analog board, top notch outboard pres and processors, we feel very solid with the capabilities here. There’s also a kitchen and a shower and a futon when needed.
Don also offers his services on the various array of instruments that he plays, including acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, pedal steel guitar, lap steel, harmonica, accordion, trumpet, and who knows what else, as part of the deal with working with him at Howlin’ Dog. We also have a ready roster of studio musicians who can join in on the project, both locally and remotely via file sharing. Whatever we need to do, we can probably make it happen!
Main recorders – Logic Pro X on Mac Pro Quad Xenon processor, Also Pro Tools 10.0, Sonar 8.5, 2 Alesis ADAT 20 bit XT 20s, 2 blackface ADATs, also Tascam 38 1/2 inch reel to reel, 15 ips, also have Sharp minidisc recorder and Tascam 4-track cassette
Mixing board – Allen and Heath GS-R24 hybrid analog/digital mixer, also Yamaha Digital O1V96 and original O1V, Studiomaster Pro-Line 16-4-8, Mackie 1202.
Monitors – Focal Solo 6 BE monitors, original Auratones, Mackie HR 824.
Computer mixing-editing-mastering station – Mac Pro quad processor running Logic Pro X and Pro Tools 10, UAD-2 card and plug-ins, Dell PIV 1.7 MHz running Sonar 8.5, Sony Sound Forge 9.0, CD Architect 5.0, Waves plug-ins, Sonic Foundry Acid 7.0, Mac G-5 and G-4 for backward compatibility of files and software.
2-track decks – Otari 5050 analog RTR, Tascam D-30 Mk II DAT deck, Tascam 302 dual cassette.
Mic pres – Universal Audio LA-610 Mk II pre and compressor, SSL Alpha Channel, API dual channel preamp, Universal Audio 4-710d 4 channel preamp, hand-built Hamptone Class A dual channel preamp, Aphex Tubessence 107, Joe Meek Pro-channel, ART dual Tube-MP.
Main vocal microphones – Neuman U-87, Flea 47 tube condenser, Mojave Audio MA-200 tube, Oktavamod MJE-K47H, Shure KSM-32, Audio-Technica AT-4033.
Other microphones – Oktavamod modded Oktava MK-012 stereo pair, Shure SM-81’s, SM-57’s, SM-58’s, Beta 57, Beta 87, Beta 52 kick drum mic, Cloud JRS-34 ribbon mic, Royer R-121 ribbon, AKG C-408 drum mics, Cascade Fathead ribbon mics, Studio Projects C-3, and Nakamichi CM-300’s.
Outboard signal processing -Alesis Wedge master reverb, Quadraverb, Nanoverb, enhancer, compressors, and 31-band EQ’s; DBX 106 compressor, AMR and ART compressors, BBE-402 processor, ART RXR Elite reverb, Sans-Amp bass guitar DI, and Line 6 POD, Hughes & Kettner and Zoom guitar processors.
MIDI and synth equipment – Ivory piano sample library and several others, Native Instruments B-4 organ, all included Logic soft-synths and samplers (with extensive additional sound libraries), Sampletank, Kurzweil and Yamaha keyboards, Roland JUNO analog synth, Alesis HR-16 drum machine, Alesis Nanosynth, computer sync with JL Cooper Datasync II.