Preacher’s Fire January 2017

Hear Ye, Hear Ye.

Ring in 2017 with a fresh Preacher’s Fire just off the presses.  Get out and the beat the snow, cold and ice with warm waves of live music!  Also please make sure you read Nick Schroeder’s indelible article about the aftermath of the Ghost Ship incident in Oakland last month.  He strikes up some really important issues regarding our National and our local Portland underground artist movements, making sure that the political aftermath of that tragedy doesn’t take us all down too.. We are truly lucky to have Nick here in our town writing about all the things we stand for as creative folks in Portland

Shows of note:

  • Last Mercy Emissions show w/ Sylvia, Kintaan, and 4 other bands @ Space Gallery 8pm  Jan 7th
  • An Anderson, Cadaverette, Wedding Camp @ Empire 8pm Jan 10th
  • Crystal Canyon, Tall Horse, North Atlantic, and The Great Depression @ Urban Farm Fermentory 200 Anderson st 8:30pm Jan 13th
  • The Keeper Class, Port City Saints, and 6 other bands @ Live at 212 Brown St Westbrook 7pm Jan 13th
  • Tigerbomb, Cushing, The Solars @ Bayside Bowl 8:30pm Jan 14th
  • Pete Witham and the Cosmic Zombies @ Bayside Bowl 8:30pm Jan 20th
  • The Outsiders, El Grande, The Pubcrawlers @ Portland House of Music 8pm  Jan 20th
  • Johnny Cremains, Starcrossed Losers @ Bayside Bowl 8pm Jan 27th
  • Feral, Glistener, Haxen, Stillborn Condition @ Geno’s 7:30pm Jan 28th
  • A Cold Cold Night II ( featuring Computer at Sea, Collen Kinsella, and loads of others) @ Space Gallery 8pm Jan 28th

North Atlantic

It is always a pleasure to work with musicians as they bring new creative projects to fruition. That has been the case with North Atlantic, a newly-formed atmospheric group based in Portland. The 4-piece band consists of Michael Hutchins (vocals, guitar), Abby Hutchins (vocals, keys), Tom Rogers (drums), and Lucas Greco (bass), and we’ve just finished their debut 4-track EP, which they are looking for a label to release on vinyl.

Influenced by the dsc_0430loud/quiet movement of the 90s, North Atlantic’s tunes have a similar aesthetic to Codeine with spacious clean passages that avoid being effect-laden followed by dramatic weighty sections. Also noticeable is their patience for songwriting: the group is not afraid to take 2-3 minutes for a piece to develop, and their understated tempos set a strong mood that is vast and immersive. Playing slowly and deliberately is deceptively difficult, and is an important aspect of that genre, and, in their case, is employed to effectively give drama to individual notes and chords. Their vocals are tightly blended and reminiscent of Low, which had a similar husband/wife power team generating an eerie, full-bodied one-voice quality. The rhythm section is also a perfect fit for this group– the bass player is understated and thoughtful, creating lines that don’t get in the way, and the drumming is moody and sensitive to the varied energy from song to song.

North AtlanticWe’ve been honing these songs for well over a year.  I had been listening to the final two albums of the British group Talk Talk for a while and they started to have a huge impact on me. The sparseness, the melody, the contrast between subtle nuance and abrasive texture. They made me want to start playing music again. I had played in a few instrumental rock bands in Boston, Chicago and Portland starting in the mid 90s to 2003 then got married built a house and a family, started my career and found little time for music. The fire has been reignited and I couldn’t be happier. I came home from work one day and told Abby I wanted to start playing music again, but I didn’t want to play what I’d been playing in the past. I wanted piano this time. Some digital elements. I wanted more conventional song structures and I wanted to play in a band with lyrics. It hadn’t hit me that I was married to a classically trained pianist. When we started playing in the dining room one night in the Fall of 2015, I knew the rock guy and classical girl would make a good musical match. It took a while for Abby and I to put the final group together–we auditioned at least 5 drummers before we found Tom. We couldn’t be happier with the work Acadia did in representing our sound.

–Michael Hutchins

When North Atlantic came into the studio they were aiming to preserve a live-sound feel for the record with clear crisp room presence. Their EP features two quieter songs and two rock tunes, which really showcase the tone and range this group can produce. We’re hoping to hear a lot from North Atlantic in the next few years, for now, be sure to check out their first live show on Jan 13th at Urban Farm Fermentory, where they will be playing with Tall HorseCrystal Canyon, and The Great Depression. You can also take a listen to the first tune released from their EP:

Jason Phelps Joins Acadia


Jason solders new 1/4″ TRS heads onto cables during the studio rewire

This past week we re-wired the studio and officially expanded the Acadia team to include Jason Phelps as our newest audio engineer! Jason is bringing both expertise and some fantastic gear to Acadia, and we’re looking forward to another productive year making great-sounding records.

Jason is no novice to the music world. He has been engineering sound for live shows since ’85, taught at Buckdancer’s Choice starting in ’97, and co-founded and served as music director at 317 Main Street in Yarmouth. He has also played guitar and mandolin with Jerks of Grass, Treehouse, A Band Beyond Description, and on countless local records.

Jason’s first full-length recording project was the Active Culture’s album Power of Assimilation, engineered at a local studio in Windham using a 1/2″ 16-track analogue unit, and from there he caught the recording bug. Most of his early recording work was small-scale and out of his house. He had a Fostex X15 4-track, and got lots of practice overdubbing tapes to build up multi-track stereo recordings. Around the same time he was playing with Treehouse, which was his first experience in a professional recording environment. The group was pretty green, and wanted to make a record at what was the new Big Sound studios. After a rocky start to the session, their engineer Jeff Whitehead sat everyone down and suggested that perhaps the group wasn’t as prepared as they thought for the project…Treehouse ended up spending a week working on just one song and that session was formative in Jason’s understanding of what goes into real production work and how to function in a professional context.

Tracking Bass During The Muddy Marsh Ramblers Session

From there, Jason really started playing bluegrass in earnest, and for a short time abandoned sound engineering in favor of making more music and teaching guitar. Recording technology evolved without him, and when he returned to a studio in 2004, this time with Jerks of Grass, he realized just how much the audio engineering world had changed. He had a hard time expressing what he wanted captured during the session, and knew he needed to be back in the control room. He bought his first copy of Protools shortly after that session and hasn’t looked back.

Conor Mulroy, a composer and one of Jason’s hiking buddies, was the final person instrumental in luring Jason back to the audio engineering world. Conor was in the middle of composing music for his master’s thesis that he eventually wanted performed by The Bee Eaters. Conor had seen the group perform and wrote his compositions hearing their instrumentation–cello, fiddle, and hammer dulcimer–playing in his head. The Bee Eaters had just relocated from Boston to the west coast, and Conor was worried he would never actually have a chance to record his compositions. Jason agreed to work with Conor work on the project, and after Stranded Aviatorhelping prepare charts and do pre-production, Jason started to outfit his new mobile recording setup. After much research, he invested in a Focusrite Clarett 8preX interface, UAD 4-710D preamps, Michael Joly Engineering microphones, and Slate Raven multitouch control surface, and hauled his new gear (complete with generators and gas cans) to a remote, off-the-grid gold-rush era cabin in Northern California. There he spent an incredible week recording The Stranded Aviator with Conor and The Bee Eaters, which was just released in 2016. The record was mastered next door by Pat Keane. From there he quickly joined in on projects at Acadia, acting as essential on-call tech support as we upgraded our computer system, and he has been slowly moving into the studio since. His first sessions in the studio were producing a full-length record with Muddy Marsh Ramblers and recording the funky jam band Great North.

We’re looking forward to him heading up many more sessions this year. Additionally, if you’re looking to tackle any crazy on-site recordings, Jason’s still got his mobile recording setup, so Acadia Recording Company can officially come to you! Welcome Jason!