The Old Coal Trail

   OK, so I finally got a new recording done! …CHECK IT OUT HERE
  AND... I’m hoping to keep ‘em coming for a while. (I’m shooting for one a week for the next few months at least…) 

   This is a song I actually wrote almost 2 years ago called the Old Coal Trail.
I’ve been playing in my live show all along, but I’ve never taken the time to properly record it until now.
 
   This one just popped up all of sudden after Jean and I had been meandering through the hills of North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia for a few days.
   Jean actually wrote a pretty cool story about our trip, which you can check it out HERE
 
This song is definitely a true story as you can tell from the lyrics
 
Down at a crossroads on the old coal trail
Pulled right over to set a spell
Rain’s coming better take cover
Up ahead
I don’t know what’s around the bend
 
The roads they wind and twist
On that old coal trail
Out past the church
The buildings look dead
Falling to rubble
Crumble back to the earth
 
The houses all boarded up
But you can feel their eyes
Staring out through the cracks
Boring right into your neck
If you squint your eyes
You can almost see
How it must have been
Before it all began to die
Once bright and filled with life
Now faded out and gray
On the old coal trail
On the old coal trail

 
 
   As far as the music, I’d been listening to some Junior Kimbrough and T-model Ford and that's right about when I happened to find a cheap old Kay flat top at a garage sale for $20.
   Now, this old Kay is clunky and sounds kind of crappy, but it does that old Blues thing pretty good with a brass slide.
    The music just popped out of that guitar on accident, and when we got back from our trip, the lyrics just popped out of my head after our travels
 
   One cool memory I’ll always have of this song, was playing it for one of the first times at 123 Pleasant St. in Morgantown West Virginia.
   There was a guy there with his wife, and they were rockin’ out to my stuff.
After my set, she grabbed me and told me that her husband was a coal miner from a long line of coal miners, and that the Old Coal Trail really got to him!
 
 

  Now for the musicians and people who like to peak behind the curtain…
  For this one, I used my Harmony Archtop running into my Magnatone M12 two channel bass amp.
  The Magnatone is a true two channel amp from the 60’s, so I split my signal separately into both channels.
I ran clean into one channel with some compression, and I added an old MXR distortion pedal to the other side.
   I stuck one mic up close in front of the speakers, and a second mic a few feet back.
   I also videoed the performance on my phone, which turned out pretty cool so I dumped the audio from my phone back into CuBase and mixed them all together.
   This is actually a “one-take” guitar performance, but I think that using the 2 channels with 2 mics, and then having the video capturing the sound right off of the f-holes is giving the guitar kind of a cool “chorusy” dense tone that makes it sound a little overdubbed and layered.
   A little aside...I use a bunch of cheap pieced together pieces and parts in my recording process and still get some very interesting tones and sounds, so don’t ever let anyone tell you that you or your gear aren’t good enough!
 
   This is also the first recording where I used my new hi-hat set-up on my homemade drums.
So that was a challenge figuring out how to mic it all up and make everything sound “not crappy”
   The Hi-Hat stand was given to me by my friend Randee McKnight from the Living Deads (I believe he found it at a junk store in the Southern States somewhere.)
   Come to think of it, Randee and his bass playing better half Symphony, also found my Magnatone amp, down in Florida at some kind of Flea Market!
   Where would this song be without them!
   The actual cymbals were given to me by my friend Rockabilly Ray Kollar, (former RumbleDaddy drummer)
I KNOW that Ray found them at a junk store!
Ray is a Flea Market/ Junk Store/ Pawn Shop Aficionado ha!
   I've modified the hi-hat pedal so I can play my snarebox and hi-hat at the same time; or individually if needed.
   I’ve been learning how to angle my feet differently on the pedal to get a crash sound, or a closed hat snap, or a jazzy ride/hat feel. (it ain’t easy, but I’m getting there)
 
Well, that is probably more information than anyone would ever want!
If you’ve read this far I thank you!
Looking forward to getting back out and playing some shows here in a few months with lots of new recordings and some new songs!
See ya soon!
~SRT

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