Hidden Gems in Hidden Canyon

Just completed a new CD for Grand Junction singer/songwriter Tammie Martin, titled Hidden Canyon (samples below). Tammie’s original songs are evocative of the mysterious expanses and loneliness of the red canyon country around Moab and points east and west.

Her vocal style transports me to the backwoods of Kentucky or West Virginia, delivered fresh and uninhibited, while the live in the studio instrumentation is strictly down home, laid back bluegrass. The songs are backed up by local players Bob Eakle (mandolin and dobro), Lisa Eakle (banjo), with Jessica Cooper on violin, and yours truly adding some overdubs on fiddle, viola, mandola, harmonica, and electric bass.

The basic tracks were recorded by live sound engineer, Chris Bollman, at the unique public recording studio located in the Mesa County Public Library in Junction. I was pleased to be able to mix and master the tracks and produce the final CD. Hidden Canyon is available directly from Tammie, but if you are unable to catch her performances in the area, you can contact Barn Jazz and we can arrange for you to get a copy.

New Studio Completed

Barn Jazz Productions is proud to announce that our new recording studio is open for business! All the hard work of wiring, construction, acoustic treatment, and configuration of gear took some time but the wait was worth it. Here is a photo of the new space. We now have room for an entire band, a luxury that we did not have in our prior space. If you would like to book some time please send me a message using our Contact Page and I will get back to you promptly. Here are some before and after photos.
StudioBefore
FinishedStudio3-s

New Studio Space

Work is progressing on our new studio space in Grand Junction, Colorado. We have acquired a house with a large, walkout basement are fitting it with acoustic treatment and sound isolation for the doors and windows.  The new studio does not have a name yet, but we are excited.  The space is twice as large as the previous Double Diamond Studio in Oracle, AZ.

tritraps_sSo far this year we have produced two CD projects for local singers and bands. There is a lot of acoustic music happening in the Grand Valley,  and I am excited to be a part of it.  Here is a shot of the far end of the room with some initial acoustic treatment in place, TriTraps (bass traps) from GIK Acoustics.

The Bone Tree CD was recorded in our temporary facilities in a rental house in GJ, so it looks a bit crowded. The new space will be a welcome change.  Bone Tree is from Whitewater, CO nearby.  Here is Bob Eakle of Bone Tree. Bob and Lisa made a great debut CD that is available from them at http://bonetreeblog.wordpress.com/

Bob and Mando

Pea Green Concert 2012

Just completed my first live performance with Way Down Yonder, a long-time Grand Junction bluegrass band, at Pea Green on Dec 22, 2012. Yes you heard that right, Pea Green is a performance hall located out in the fields and farms of Delta, Colorado, and a nicer and more appreciative crowd cannot found. We had a great, and opened along with the McCoys for my favorite local band, Stray Grass, one of the Western Slopes best known outfits.

Way Down Yonder consists of myself on fiddle, Joe “Que” Quesenberry on mandolin, Dennis Costlow on banjo and lead vocals, Carol Quarrels on guitar and vocals, and Big Dog Kyle on acoustic bass.

Way Down Yonder

Joe “Que” Quesenberry on mandolin

Award for CCEDC Pod-cast

Oct. 26, 2010. Barnjazz and HCE won an Impact Award from the Public Relations Society of America, Southern Arizona chapter, for its podcast, Discover the Copper Corridor. The video and audio production features narrative and visuals for the towns that make up the Copper Corridor region of southeast Arizona, with an emphasis on eco-tourism, history, and natural environment. The video was created for the Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition, located in southeast Arizona.

You you may view at Vimeo, or open the Media page on this site.

Best of Music from Fiesta de las Calabazas 2003-2006

REVIEW of CALABAZAS 2003-2006 CD by David Auerbach

This is real country music, ladies and gentlemen. The day before I listened to the Best of CD by various Calabazas artists, I came up with the following rule, which in an attack of Texas-sized ego I’ll call Dave’s law of fake country:  If a song makes use of any electronics save a microphone and some speakers, and maybe, just maybe a mixing board, it’s not country music, regardless of how ‘Southern’ the singer sounds. And we’re not too sure about that mixing board. Now, there’s nothing wrong with liking Carrie Underwood so long as you admit that you’re listening to a type of pop music. Don’t get me wrong. I like Carrie Underwood. I like pop music sometimes. But calling it “country” when it’s not peeves me just a little bit. I wonder how many of our “country” stars live in the country. Here’s a hint: Nashville has 607,000 people in its metropolitan statistical area. Maybe that’s a small town in China, but not here. And Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington-etc-etc-etc would be considered a major metropolis anywhere. And one more thing: Texas and Tennessee don’t have a duopoly on countryside.  I think I lost the point. What was it? Ah, yes, this CD is real country, even though they call it Jazz for reasons that remain unclear.

It has non-electric instruments and non-modified voices and that’s it. There’s no synth, no computer making their voices sound like they can do things they can’t, no fake Southern accents, no fireworks or laser shows, and no “earworm” beats designed by sound engineers in Los Angeles (metro population: 16 million plus). It’s just a few ordinary folks who are singing because they like to sing, not because they want to be rich or famous or popular.   And they live in Oracle, which you can see is in the country – for the time being, at least – just by looking around. This isn’t Hollywood or Dallas or even Nashville, it’s just Oracle. It admits what it is, unlike big-money “country” pop music. But it’s good. It’s music for listening, not dancing or marketing or whatever else.

Track 6 (Gina Lollobrigida, The Carnivaleros) is awesome. I didn’t know a harmonica could do that. Track 5 (Lost in the Graveyard, Carnivaleros) is spooky like Kansas before a storm where the ground is a smooth featureless green and the sky a creamy gray – and that’s it. Track 4 (Vamp in the Middle, Greg Morton Trio) is like a gathering of friends at the state park. Several songs are actually about here – sky islands, cacti, and whatnot. Track 9 (Sky Island Home, Freddie Terry) feels like there are real saguaros around, not cartoon ones. You can laugh (just a little) at the one and only Bob Dylan (wink wink) on Track 12 (I Am Bob Dylan, Rod Mac Donald) if you want. I know that not all of these singers are from this particular patch of countryside, but you can tell they love it the same as a native – maybe more. It has the obligatory dueling banjos and home on the range tribute, though you have to listen pretty closely to hear that tune – I’ll let you find it.   Really, they have something for most moods.

Buy this CD. Support Oracle. Support Oracle State Park. I’m keeping my copy, unless someone from the Calabazas wants to coverthunder across the desert.

(David is the Music Critic for The ONE Newsletter, Oracle. He is taking this CD with him to China on a teaching gig.)

Standing Stones of Beara

Good for background music — and foreground music
Reviewer: Martha Retallick
True confession: I recently made several hundred cold calls to drum up business for my design studio. If you’ve ever cold-called, you know how stressful it can be. So, to calm my nerves, I had “Standing Stones” playing softly in the background. It REALLY helped. And Jim, you’ll be happy to know that your music just helped me land a new client. Thank you! Now it’s time to put the CD back in the player, turn up the volume, and dance around the living room…

Standing Stones of Beara

Remembering the breathtaking beauty of the Irish Republic

Reviewer: Cactus Cathy / KXCI 91.3 FM Tucson
In 2000, I hiked for 2 weeks in Cork and Kerry Counties, and thought I would never be able to recreate in my mind the haunting beauty of the Beara Peninsula. When I heard Diamond Jim’s Standing Stones, I was engulfed in the nostalgia of everything Irish. Personal favorite tunes are Glenrastel and Standing Stones.

Barn Jazz Live!

Jan. 12, 2006 – Diamond Jim & the Barn Jazz Ensemble wow us again by spanning the genres from “I am a Pilgrim” to “Jeepers Creepers”, two of my favorites on the Live! CD. The one I play most on the air is “Caravan”, exotic and down home at the same time —- How do they do that? – Cactus Cathy DJ on KXCI

Barn Jazz, Vol. 1

“Barn Jazz may be the eclectic “Sergeant Pepper’s of Oracle Ridge and the Transition Zone. It is certainly original and expansive in concept and scope, light and airy, nicely recorded and performed”

Drew Signor
Arizona author, composer, and musician, “This Gloryland” book and CD

“Put on your headphones and let your imagination soar.
With Barn Jazz, Diamond Jim Hewitt takes us on a magical musical journey. One’s mind instantly begins to develop scenery and characters to fit the widely varied pieces. Musicianship and composition is original and entertaining. Hewitt has delivered a very impressive solo debut. “

Laurie Starr
DJ, KXCI-FM-Tucson

“As a DJ and Musicologist I listen to a lot of music throughout the day and Diamond Jim Hewitt’s “Barn Jazz” immediately caught my attention. His fiddle playing has that eerie quality of being “Old-Timey” and thoroughly modern at the same time. In other words Jim’s music is ‘Time-less’. A rare quality indeed.”

Kidd Squidd
DJ, KXCI-FM-Tucson

“Diamond Jim Hewitt’s “Barn Jazz” is down-home sophistication, combining elements of jazz, Celtic and hoe-down into one sweet and sassy mix. The violin virtuoso goes back to the farm.”

Cactus Cathy
DJ, KXCI-FM-Tucson

“Kicking back and listening to the masterfully intelligent vibes of barn jazz, one can fathom an artful edginess that mingles with a homespun yarn. I can hear it now — being played in discriminate cafes from NYC to Nashville — and well beyond….”

Liz Richards
Tucson Photographer

“CD sounds great!”

Mark Wood
2002 Emmy Award-Winning composer, rock violinist

“Thanks a lot for the CD Barn Jazz you sent to me. I like it and I think the concept barn in jazz is pretty nice. I guess you had a lot of fun recording it. I can see the barns in a wide country.”

Joerg Widmoser
Jazz Violinist with the Modern String Quartet, Munich, Germany