Dixie Remedy Company is out of South Georgia and does a variety of original eclectic old time style music using high caliber and vintage stringed instruments. There are a lot of vintage National Resonator guitars as well as Dobros on this CD. Vintage banjos, mandolins, archtop and flatop guitars are also prevalent. Another listen will reveal jugs, kazoos, whistles, harmonicas and other interesting devices that are called into play! The CD will take you back to a more wonderful and simpler time while sending you on an intimate acoustic Southern journey.
Interview with the Producer
Q: This is an interesting CD! It seemed like a kind of a musical journey with lots of different styles of music to me. I never could predict what would come next Comment?
A: Yes, there is a great variety of acoustic based music on this album. Several people have mentioned to me that it takes them on an acoustical musical journey and takes them to a place that they like to be.
Q: Why are there no musicians credited on the CD?
A: Well this whole project started off with a group of friends, some of whom play in commercial popular, type bands, who wanted to get together and play just for themselves using some cool old acoustic instruments they owned. Making some practice recordings led to the recording of this CD. No musicians are credited because nobody associated with this project wanted any individual credit or notoriety. So it was recorded for what I would consider the right reason: the love of writing and playing your own music without particular regard to popular opinion. Also anonymity is a great shield when writing original music because in the end the writer is a sum of ALL of his or her personal experiences and musical sources from classical to jazz to popular music and what may come out in your original music may be totally different than what would be “expected” of you by your friends, peers etc. So to be able to express yourself to the world with the safety of being unknown could be a comfort to some writers (although it might seem ridiculous to others!).
Q: How did you come up with the band name?
A: We have a town here in South Geogia right near where we live called Dixie. Plus Dixie reminds you of the South, which we are definitely fond and proud of. The main inspiration though, came from an old patent remedy box I had called The Dixie Blind Staggers Remedy (For Horses and Mules!) put out by the Dixie Stock Medicine Company. Someone suggested dropping the Blind Staggers part (which will be used in the publishing arena) just leaving Dixie Remedy Company and there you have it.
Q: How was the album recorded?
A: The album was recorded on a Tascam DP 01FX recorder using a set of AKG 535 condenser microphones. On the solo resonator guitar song (Another Kettle of Fish), a vintage RCA 77 ribbon mic was used. I insisted that the whole album be recorded as quickly and as spontaneously as possible. I didn’t want the CD to sound deliberate or over rehearsed. All of the songs were done in one or two takes. This meant of course, leaving in some little mistakes and flubs here and there, but I think that just adds to the realism and charm of recording old style music like this ( most older music was recorded in the same fashion). It was really kind of hilarious the obstacles that had to be endured while making this CD. It was recorded in a room the back of my Antiques Shop. And we had to turn off all the fluorescent lights, and the air-conditioning to get some semblance of quiet. Even then an occasional semi truck going by or car horn would cause some concern. No AC meant that it was about 80-88 degrees when recording some of the songs (recorded in the summer in South Georgia). Not good when trying to keep instruments in tune. So literally a lot of sweat went into this recording! Then it was mixed down using a pair of 1960 Altec Voice Of The Theater speakers. I mixed the songs in stereo for spacial realism so that it sounded like the group is sitting right in front of you live when you listen to the CD on a good sound system. My good friend Jim Chion, who has been in the Radio and TV studio business for years and who owned the local radio station in my hometown, helped me to produce the final master.
Q: What kind of instruments were used on the recordings?
A: This was supposed to be an instrumental only CD but a few vocal numbers slipped in The banjos used were a Mike Ramsey Chanterelle 5 string frailing banjo, a 1920's Weymann and a 1920s Bacon “Chicago Princess” Plectrum banjo. The mandolins were an Eastman 815 prototype (with bound f-holoes) and a Flatiron A5 Artist. The guitars used were a Martin 0016DB, a Bourgeious LC-4 Archtop and an Alverez AD60 Cedar topped guitar that has had the top finish removed and replaced with a thin shellac finish and had the bracing altered on the inside. It is the guitar most heard on the CD. There was also a 1960s Garrido rosewood and cedar classical used. The resonator guitars were a 1941 Supro National (most used), A Regal tricone (modified), a 1935 national Syle O, and a 1933 “Cylops” Dobro. Since nobody had or wanted to struggle with an acoustic standup bass, a 1952 Fender Precision bass was used with nyon wrapped strings. Some of the more unique instruments heard on the CD would be the Degan Vibrophone, a Glenn Schultz “Thin Weasel” rosewood whistle, a Hohnerphone harmonica resonator and various other odd items including a Civil War era Jaw Harp, ACME siren whistle, a slide whislte, rattle snake rattles, kazoos, cowbells and old bulb type car horns.
Q: Why did you do the CD with only acoustic instruments?
A: Well other than the bass it was all acoustic. I kind of liked the limitations of excluding electric instruments and drum sets for this project. I had to define the reality of the band for the CD and the old time sounds especially on the early folk and blues albums pretty much stayed away from the electric guitar (actually the electric guitar used to be seen as blasphemous in folk circles) and the modern notion of a “drum set”. I like the purity of the acoustic sound and the ruralness of it. That is not to say on another album that we might not go with some electric instruments which I love equally well, but on this album the acoustic instruments gave the feel, innocence, and honesty that I thought this group of songs needed.
Q: The Cd seems easy going. Care to comment?
A: This CD reflects to me a different time and place. The album is gentle and light. A lot of music today seems burdened down. I like the old days when things were pretty much what they seemed to be and there wasn’t a lot of baggage under the surface. There are no virtuoso musicians here or extended soloing, just short, simple, down to earth playing and singing. Sometimes that’s a hard thing to pull off.
Q: You say all the songs are original?
A: Yes, all the songs, with the exception of Amazing Grace at the very end of the CD are original. Some of the songs were written right at the time the CD was recorded. Others were written over 20 years ago and haven’t been really recorded until now.
Q: How did the back cover come about?
A: The picture on the back cover features a face jug of mine by Billy Ray Hussey of North Carolina and some other odd things used in the recording of this CD. You can see the Civil War era jaw harp as well as the Schultz rosewood whistle (a master whistle maker), a local rattlesnake rattle, and the old harmonicas that were used on the album. The photo was taken at a friends house down on the Georgia-Florida border. Right off the front porch is a great little cypress pond. The farm is called “Simple Pleasures.” I thought the place really reflected the mood of the album well. It was my choice recording location though I wound up doing most of the work in the back of my shop. Thanks to everybody who helped out to help keep this project alive!
Q: How does the internet fit into your plans?
A: Hopefully through the internet I will be able get this project exposed to all parts of the United States and even other countries. You don’t have to have big record companies to push your music to get it heard any more with all the websites for “normal” people about like CDBaby, YouTube, myspace and eBay around. I learned along time ago that you don’t pick the people who like your music they pick you. So I hope to send this album out over the net and hopefully will hook up with the folks who love this kind of thing.
Q: Any final comments?
A: My thoughts are IT IS WHAT IT IS!! Dixie Remedy Company was born out of the love of doing something original that had no time pressure or desire to be “commercial”. Those who participated gave freely of their time because they enjoyed doing something novel like this. So hopefully this CD will create some interest and we can start on another Dixie Remedy Company release!
Please check in at www.dixieremedycompany.com from time to time for more updates and information.