LUKE PLUMB: REFLECTIONS ON THE MAKING OF "HEARTH"
I have written a few updates regarding this project (see the Archives) The project has been a tricky one and its absent protagonist has still managed to enforce an imperative of standard that is probably beyond anything I’ve been at the helm of before.
The album is a dual disc release - one being the studio work entitled Hearth and another a collection of material from Michael’s recorded live performances. While the studio album has everything ranging from intimate sounding songs to big band performances, the live disc is Michael with guitar. It’s a good contrast.
We’ve had files flying around the internet, beautiful vocal performances from Karine Polwart in Scotland and Chris While in England and perfectly placed fiddles from John McCusker, flutes, whistles and pipes from Mike McGoldrick and drums/percussion from James MacKintosh - all recording amid the hustle and bustle of Celtic Connections in Glasgow.
Back home James Rigby coordinated the Backing Vocals recording with our Castlemaine BV section - Jane Thompson, Penny Larkins, Maggie Rigby and Elsie Rigby. We got some guesting accordion from Phil Carroll, some double bass from Shannon Birchall and Kate Burke holding down the guitar from Michael’s original guitar arrangements. Shane Howard and Carl Panuzzo have each sung three of the new songs.
It’s been a big undertaking. Stuart Hamilton at Castlesound Studios has done a great job of pulling all the sounds together and making everything sound coherent. I know Michael would have been thrilled at the prospect of Stuart getting his hands and ears onto the material and he really has pulled all stops out and left his indelible imprint on the final result. There’s no replacing the experience and ears of someone like Stuart.
It really is a great album. It’s been a privilege to work on and it deserves to be recognised far and wide.