Nashville has never just been about country music. Since the recording bug hit Nashville in the early '50s, blues and rhythm and blues have been a major part of the recording scene in Music City.
And today, Stacy Mitchhart carries that tradition forward. A member of the Canadian Blues Hall of Fame and a winner of the prestigious "Albert King Award" from the Blues Foundation, Stacy is also a die-hard Epiphone fan. "They get the job done," said Stacy during a recent pop-in to see the new Epiphone showroom. Like many of his peers, Stacy is using the off-season to squeeze in some recording time.
E: You've been in the studio, right?
SM: Yes, I'm working on my new record. It's all being cut to 2" tape at Fry Pharmacy (studios) here in Nashville. That's where I'm cutting. We just did the first four days and got all the basic rhythm tracks cut. I'm stripping it down. It's more of a straight ahead bluesy type record. So we're gonna bring the horns in and add a couple keyboard parts. We brought the B3 (organ) in the studio.
Do you plan albums ahead of time?
I'm doing most of the producing. Every other record I've done, I'd have half of the material ready to go and then I'd start writing while I was in it. This time, I just really concentrated on picking the material ahead of time and rehearsing it up front. We were actually cutting as a unit in the room so we have to approach it differently.
We used headphones, but we were all in the same room, which makes a big difference, man, just being able to look at each other.
There's no better way to make a blues album...
I'm loving it - I'm really happy with the results.
Are you doing most of the writing?
I wrote about a third of it, co-wrote some, and there are three cover tunes. I always try to include a gospel tune. This time we have a Hank Williams song, a Gil Scott-Heron tune and a Bill Withers song.
What Epiphones are you using in the studio?
My main Epiphone is the '61 reissue of the Casino. Mine is #1473! And I have a back-up Casino, too. I've got one of the ES-339 PROs and I've got one of the Sorrentos and so I'll bring that out, too. I almost always play the semi-hollows.
To your ears, what's the difference between a P-90 and a mini-humbucker?
I'm huge fan of the P-90s. To me, the mini-humbuckers got almost a high, rockabilly, cutting sound. But the Casino - there's something about those pickups - it's just amazing. It's really top notch. It's round, it's full, it breaks up beautifully. It's just the ultimate guitar for what I'm doing.