COURTNEY JAYE: Sessions

Courtney Jaye has been an American Songwriter favorite since the early days when she showed up at our Music Row office unannounced, guitar in-hand. These days this sort of DIY initiative has helped define a new chapter in her career, coming off the heels of a disillusioning major-label experience with Island/Def Jam that produced 2005’s LP Traveling Light.Courtney Jaye has been an American Songwriter favorite since the early days when she showed up at our Music Row office unannounced, guitar in hand. These days this sort of DIY initiative has helped define a new chapter in her career, coming off the heels of a disillusioning major-label experience with Island/Def Jam that produced 2005’s LP Traveling Light. After searching for inspiration over the last few years in Nashville, Hawaii and points in between, Jaye teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Seth Kauffman in North Carolina and started work on the forthcoming Exotic Sounds of Courtney Jaye album. She produced the album sans label but, in a sign of the new Nashville, recently signed a one-off song deal with Universal Republic for the single “Sweet Ride.” The album, like the single, is full of echo and steel guitar, a defiantly lo-fi country album with hooks that get into you.

A few weeks before Jaye‘s scheduled American Songwriter Sessions date, I caught her at Nashville’s Exit/In, opening up for the similarly lo-fi, tropicalia-tinged Little Joy. It was an exemplary complement in old-school sounds, with Jaye‘s six-piece band-the cheeky Aloha Honor System-providing a floating backdrop of electric and steel guitars, drums and percussion and harmony vocals. For our office gig, she brought along Stanton Adcock on lead guitar, and Drew Belk on lap/pedal steel and mandolin, for a stripped down version of the full Aloha Honor experience.

As usual we had engineer Brian Threlkeld on hand, pulling from the American Songwriter stores of top-notch microphones and recording gear. We used the bright Mojave Audio MA-201 FET for Courtney‘s vocals as well as a series of room and instrument mics, including the Audix SCX25A, a warm and old-timey sounding microphone for acoustic lead guitar. We’ve gotten quite comfortable using our M-Audio ProFire 610 interface with Ableton’s Live 7 digital audio workstation, and, for this session, recorded four tracks live-vocals, rhythm guitar/percussion, lead acoustic guitar, steel guitar/mandolin. (To hear the final tracks Courtney and crew recorded at American Songwriter visit, www.AmericanSongspace.com/craftofmusic.)