Sessions with Ronnie


Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean

During the last couple of weeks of April of 2004 Ronnie McDowell and his band went in to Scotty's studio to record a new album for his label Curb records.  They covered about 14 of Elvis' songs including "That's Alright Mama" and Mickey Newbury's arrangement of "American Trilogy", made famous by Elvis on tour in the '70s.  Ronnie also re-cut his original tribute song "The King is Gone".  


Ronnie

Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Dan Schafer
Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean

The first day of the sessions Frank Michaels couldn't make it to play so Nashville session guitarist Dan Schafer filled in.  Originally from Michigan, Dan relocated to Nashville years ago and in addition to session work has toured with Barbara Mandrell in her "Do-Rite" band, Lorrie Morgan and Shania Twain to name but a few. He was also part of the cast of  'Dick Clarks' American Bandstand Classics' Show.


Steve Shepherd
Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Ronnie McDowell
Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Dan Schafer
Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Wade Bernard on upright bass
Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean

Different days featured different players but essentially the sessions consisted of Scotty engineering in addition to playing guitar.  DJ Fontana played drums and The Jordanaires and Millie Kirkham provided backup on vocals.  The members of Ronnie's band on hand to record were Steve Shepherd on keyboards, Wade Bernard on bass, Kevin Woods and Frank Michaels on guitar and Ronnie Dean (RD) on percussion.   


Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean

They were essentially live sessions with only a little overdubbing.  Scotty's studio utilizes several rooms.  In addition to baffles the rooms help to prevent bleeding of sound into the varied microphones when recording like this in a live full band situation.  DJ was set up in one room between the control room and main studio (the hall) which also allowed better control of his volume. The Jordanaires sang in the little room just off the control room while the rest of the band set up in the studio.


Ronnie McDowell and Scotty
Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Scotty and Stan Dacus

Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Ronnie Dean

Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean

Scotty's long time friend Stan Dacus came by to assist Scotty with some of the set up.  Stan had recently helped engineer the sessions with Alvin Lee last year and had done sessions with Alvin at Mylon LeFevreís studio in Atlanta in the 70ís.  Just last December Stan was in charge of the sound at Scotty's party at Gibson's Baldwin Showcase.

Ronnie Dean normally plays drums with his Dad's band.  On this session he recreated the sound that Elvis got slapping on the back of his leather covered guitar during a session.  Lacking the leather cover a blanket sufficed.


Steve Shepherd goes over some arrangements with Ronnie McDowell
Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Scotty and Frank Macek
Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean

In addition to being Ronnie's road manager and keyboard player Steve Shepherd is a very good friend of Scotty's and does a lot of engineering at Scotty's home studio.  Frank Macek was there three days running the tape machines for Scotty while Scotty manned the board.   His studio has so much stuff in it that it is basically a two-man operation when you're recording band, lead vocal, and backups all at the same time.   Frank runs Profound Sound Recording in Nashville and is the producer of Tyler Dean's album (Ronnie's youngest son).


Millie Kirkham and Ronnie McDowell
Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Frank Macek, Ronnie McDowell, Louis Nunley, Gordon Stoker, Curtis Young and Ray Walker
Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Gordon, Curtis, Millie, Ronnie, Louis and Ray

Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean


Gordon Stoker and Ray Walker
Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean

Many of the songs they recorded are ones they perform on Ronnie's "Elvis Presley Story" show with  Scotty, DJ, The Jordanaires and Millie Kirkham.  The Jordanaires and Millie perform regularly with Ronnie McDowell, most recently earlier that month at Branson, MO.  They'll be performing again with Scotty and Ronnie in June at the Elvis Presley festival in Tupelo with more dates soon after (see the tourdates section).


Ronnie Dean, Frank Michaels, Scotty, Gordon Stoker, Millie Kirkham, Curtis Young, Ronnie McDowall,
 Franck Macek, Louis Nunley, Wade Bernard, Kevin Woods, DJ, Ray Walker and Steve Sheperd

Photo © courtesy Ronnie Dean

Curb Records plans to release the new CD by this coming August.  Once again as Gail said about the sessions with Alvin "a good time was had by all".  Thanks for the great pictures RD.

May 2004 

 

All photos on this site (that we didn't borrow) unless otherwise indicated are the property of either Scotty Moore or James V. Roy and unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited.
 
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