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  • Writer's pictureRobert James Ray


I’ll start off by saying a huge thanks to the musicians on the record. Most of them I had never met before, never mind played with. They made this recording so easy and it was a real pleasure to have them on it. They were:

Lead Guitar - Bradley Burgess

Pedal Steel - Chris Hillman

Bass Guitar - Oliver McKiernan

Drums - Oscar Robertson

The recording session was quite old school as it often is in Toe Rag. We all played in the same room and everything but the vocals was recorded live. It was the first song we tackled that day and after setting up we ran the song a few times to feel it out. It’s actually the first or second take of recording that made it. There was something fragile about it, and although we were playing it more confidently a few takes later the early take just seemed to capture the sentiment of the song.

We had some great instruments on the record. Oscar played the house Premier kit, and Chris’s Excel Superb pedal steel really makes the track. Guitars included Bradley's 64' Jaguar, and his 60s Guild Starfire bass which was played by Oliver. The acoustic was my trusty 1958 Gibson J-45. I had actually been worried about it in the days leading up to the session as the humidity of the recent (and random) heatwave had got into the wood, causing a buzz and some projection loss. However this beauty sounds better than most even on a bad day!

Studio Erotica

I won’t go into much detail about what gear or microphones were used, however I can say that when you record a take at Toe Rag, you can go into the control room and hear an almost finished sounding record during playback. It’s unlike any studio I’ve ever been in before. This is of course all to do with the man behind the desk, Liam Watson.

After hearing the playback we felt we had it and decided to move on. It was time for another cup of tea and a hobnob, as that is what we musicians gravitate to the most (other than sex, drugs and rock'n'roll).

I returned to Toe Rag a few days later to add the vocals. I sang the song around six times in total, and what you hear is one take (I forget which one...4 or 5 I think). I have previosuly (and continually) struggled with perfectionism and at one time would have pushed for alot more takes, and would have probably felt disatisfied with the outcome regardless of how good it was. However part of my aim with this session was to overcome that foolish desire and I must say it felt good to nail it in one.

'Don't Want Your Lies' is out on 24/08/18.

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