June 2010: The Bathouse Studio - Bath, Ontario


Recording sessions for Small Source of Comfort at the Bathouse Studio in Bath, Ontario, June 20-25, 2010

Bruce was in the Bathouse Studio in Ontario recording his next album from June 20 through June 25. I was fortunate be able to attend the sessions. On June 26, Bernie Finkelstein came to the studio to listen to rough mixes of the recorded tracks. Those involved in the project at this stage are: Jenny Scheinman, Annabelle Chvostek, Gary Craig, John Dymond, Colin Linden (producer) and John Whynot (engineer). The current release date is March 8, 2011. On my second day at the sessions (June 23) as we sat in the control room between songs, Bruce told me the tentative title for the CD is, Small Source of Comfort.

The Bathouse Studio is owned by the Canadian rock group, The Tragically Hip. I first saw The Hip around 1990 in Seattle when they were touring behind their first full-length album, Up To Here. On the evening of June 22, Gord Sinclair, bassist for The Hip, stopped in and listened to the playback of a song recorded a short time earlier in the day.

Everyone gathered at the studio at around 11am on most days and the sessions went until about 10pm. Another hour or two afterward was spent reflecting on the day's work and looking forward to the next day's projects. The environment was very friendly, fun and relaxed... lots of laughter and quick wit. The evening meal was a time when everyone gathered in the kitchen and living room and had good conversations over good food and drink. No dining room table, just everyone sitting wherever there was a place to sit. There were heavy rains many days, and a 5.0 earthquake was felt on June 23, rocking the widescreen television that was airing the tennis championships at Wimbledon. 

The Bathouse, built in 1847, is divided into four recording areas and a control room. Each player had their own enclosed room set up for their part in the recording sessions. There were glass doors between all the rooms making it possible for the players to see the person in the room across the way. After a song was recorded all the players would gather in the control room for a listen-back, and in many ways this was the most interesting aspect to the sessions. There would be comment from all about how the track sounded in general, with each player then adding specific comments as to what could be improved. If it was decided the percussion part in the first verse needed something different, Gary Craig would be back at the drums and having another take. In most cases, it was the person playing the instrument who was the first to suggest they could do a bit better. I was impressed with the amount of detail each person gave to their part in the production of each song. They worked to make their contribution the best it could be at that moment. -Daniel Keebler

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