Contemporary Country Reference CD

Can you recommend one ?

Hi Guys,

I am looking for a high quality contemporary country CD that I can use as a reference for some country flavor stuff that I am working on.

Thanks for your help,

Ted :D

Hi Ted Roberts:
You’re asking for replies that could be a matter of taste, depending on who might reply… I’m not sure that there’s a lot of Country music fans that lurk around this Board… Or at least they might not admit to it…

There’s a huge Fan Base of Southern Contemporary Ghospel Music, in the South-Eastern States from the Mississippi River to the East Coast… If it’s recorded well and played well… I’m a fan of all flavours of Music. However, if I were gonna come out of the closet, I’d say I’m more of a fan of Traditional Contemporary flavors of what you would hear on Vince Gill or Allan Jackson’s Projects… along with other’s like George Strait, and ther like… It’s not the vocal style of the creation… I’d say it’s the “Capture” of the Glory Tracks and the sound/style of the instruments used in the over-dubs… If you look at the credits, you’ll find most of the same guys playing on all the tracks, almost… So, it’s a closed shop… and, these guys get all the work… Well… Cause they know their instruments… The same people (Behind the Mics) are involved with the productions… If you want universal standards in that style of music… Go get Pocket Full of Gold… and The Key with Vince Gill or a number of projects done by Allan Jackson… I don’t have them all… I stopped buying CDs… about 5-7 years ago… or after the bottom of the market fell out… It may have been 10-12 years ago now, but a lot of people, in the distribution industry, lost their jobs when the Market Failed… Some got retired out… but a lot of people lost their jobs… I think it started with the sale of Gaylord Productions… However, that’s my opinion… I wrote on a Message-Board some time ago, about the Distribution Industry not keeping up with the “Times”, when as many as 5000 people lost their jobs and got laid off, or retired… The “Spin-off” to the lost jobs was just tremendes……l

Here’s another link… mabey the same one?

All this began when people started sharring their music on the internet… and people were getting into trouble with the laws of copywrite, and protection of ownership of music… and intalectal <<< ?? :p Property… I can’t spell, today… either…

I’ve been known to go OFF Topic… :laugh: :p

Anyway, that’s what I think…


Hi Bill :D

Thanks for your help bud, it was brave of you to come out of the closet like that. hehe.

Where I live their is still a huge country and rock market. Personally I grew up playing rock but as I got older I learned to play and enjoy many different styles of music. I’ve played and listened to Classical, Country, Rock ( soft and hard ), Folk , Blues, Jazz, even a little Bluegrass. I am sure I am forgetting a genre or two also.

George Strait lives here in my home town in San Antonio, Texas. To listen to his songs you would think that he lives in Nashville, but dont be fooled.

My Cd collection is also rather small, I use to buy a lot more music than I do now.

I can get a lot of country mixing ideas from the radio but Ive noticed that the local radio stations treat the music rather heavily with compression, limiting and Eq. So I am looking to get closer to the original recording before it got squished so I can get a better idea of what kind of dynamic range these folks are using.

I appreciate your help my friend, from what I can gather George, Alan and Vince would be a good place to start. :D



Hi Ted:
George Strait is one of my heros… You see he didn’t get gobbeled up by the Nashville scene. As much as I know, he tracked most of his projects with his Touring group… right in his Home-Town… And didn’t go to Nashville to track, and all… However I’m not positive of that… He has a close-knit organization… There are many other set-ups that don’t use Nashville, as well…

There are success stories that came out of that place…

One being … I forget her name… Mutt Lange and Shania Twain… we’ll call her… The girl from Sudbury, Ontario… She went there with a few ideas… got all the Tracks “On the Cheap”… Went to Montreal and Mixed them… and before it was all over… they now live in “cogneeto” in Switzerland… As far as I know, they do all of their Tracking over there… No more Nashville for them… :p

But if you go there you’ll find almost any other styles of music going on, other than Country music… I’ve been told. But, if you’re a Single/Front entertainer, I think you go there, to get tracks done, cause you’ll find the musicians there that’ll do the tracks for you… Well?? I’ve heard lots of Bad-Luck stories of people who went there to track projects to find they spent a bucket full of money only to come back with Nothing-in-Hand… But that isn’t the only place that you’ll find that to be the case… The one thing is… Don’t go to those places looking for work… Go to those places with your work…

Yea… mixing your tracks the way you hear them on the radio, will kill your creativity… Well…


If you are listening to the radio stations get the names of the artists and buy those CDs.

I love country music, mostly from the 70s on back. But I am aware of some of the current crop of “contemporary country” music…and that means…Toby Keith, Rascal Flats, Keith Urban, I like Brad Paisley, then there are the ladies, Martina McBride, Winona, Patty Loveless, :( shania twain.

Has anyone checked out Vince Gill on Clapton’s Crossroads vid? The guy is smokin’

I’ve got a Rosanne Cash CD I pull out - The Wheel. Also, contemporary country I’d suggest The Corrs. That’s got all earmarks of many recent contemprary recordings, though I wouldn’t classify The Corrs any more country than other artists that are. Heck,I don’t consider most of those type recordigs to be country recordings at all. For that I use Wayon Jennings Greatist Hits.

Yes Phoo,

I agree, the contemporary country artists have incorporated heavy doses of rock, among other genres, into their sound.

Thanks for the recommendations,


Hey all,

I don’t know if you’d call it exactly contemporary country, but the CD and song I always use to acclimate my ears to my playback system is the first track on George Strait’s CD from 1993, “Easy Come Easy Go.” The song is “Get Out of My Heart” and is the best sounding guitars, fiddle and steel-filled Ray Price-style 4/4 shuffle you’ll hear anywhere. The sound is spectacular.

The other song I use as a reference is Johnny Mathis’ version of “Unbreak My Heart” on the CD “Becaue You Loved Me”, a collection of Diane Warren songs Johnny recorded in 1998. Definitely not country, but a 5-piece group with the nicest nylon string guitar you’ll hear just about anywhere.

I would also agree with Bill that almost any Vince Gill CD would be helpful. Listen to both his uptempo stuff (like Liza Jane" and the slow stuff like “I Still Believe In You.” Also try almost anything by Alabama.

For something a little more rockin’, I also like the sound of Toby Keith’s “How Do You Like Me Now”, and almost anything by Montgomery Gentry.

If you’re trying for good clean sound, I would tend to stay away from some of the more raucous music. I like music with lots of cujones (think Waylon), but all of the intentional distortion and clutter do not a good sound make IMHO.

Admittedly I don’t buy a lot of CD’s anymore, but frankly I’m not hearing much if anything that hasn’t been done before and arguably better. Nobody could touch ol’ Waylon for groove. For honky tonk, you won’t find anything better than Mark Chestnutt.

I could go on and on about this stuff, but I’ll drop it for now. Remember too, the topic is the sound of the recordings, not my or your taste in music!

Don’t work too hard on Labor Day!


[quote=syn707,Aug. 28 2005,11:57]Has anyone checked out Vince Gill on Clapton’s Crossroads vid? The guy is smokin’

Some great guitar on that DVD. Vince Gill really stands out. Blistering guitar and clean as a whistle.

No distortion, no delay to enhance/hide the performance

Hi Dave:
That guy has an incredable Right-Hand… and ya know what? A Left-Hand to go with it… :O :laugh: I’d say he grew up play’in in front of a mic…


I forgot to add my .02 on your post… dontuck…

I’m not sure of this, but I’d say that "Back-and-Push stuff grew out of Texas… I’d expect nothing less from those guys… The kids in these parts that are comming along have some of that born into them, but their musical interests have shifted toward some kind of stuff that I fail to comprehend… ???

How old am I :laugh: anyway?

Thanks Don Tuck :D

Excellent recommendations Don and I really appreciate your input.


No problem, Ted,

There are many many recordings that are super clean, and where the instruments and vocals blend well but yet are each perfectly clear and distinct. This is what I strive for in my own recordings. I seldom get it. The tracks I mentioned in my post are the ones that I use as references, but there are so many more. I should have mentioned “Hotel California”, both the classic studio version and the live acoustic version.

By the way, I listened to “Esplanade”. Great sound and performance. What kinds of guitars are you using and how did you record them?


Hi again Don :)

Yes, I agree, Hotel California is a super reference.

Actually Esplanade was recorded by Ksdb, he used a guitar called a Line 6 Variax. It is a guitar that has guitar modeling software built into it. You just turn a knob on the guitar and voila you get the guitar sound of your choice. Their are several models, the one I looked at on the web had 25 different guitars built into it. Isn’t that amazing ?

He recorded Esplanade direct using one of the acoustic guitar sounds on the Variax, very nice sound I thought.


I think it was Hux who once said:

“If you can hear the kick, it ain’t country”

I KkNnOoWw… I rember that thread very well… See… my memory ain’t that BbAaDd… :laugh: Traditional/Contempary/Country… isn’t that splitting HAiRS?? … :p never included TuBs… That was a No-No… to hear a Kick, Snare, and a Hat… in the same flavor… The Back-and-Push was always done with a Muted acoustic and a Stand-up bass… Remember… there wern’t no electrified instruments used on the stage… I think it was Rickenbacker, that made the first Electric Bass… Quickly followed by Loe Fender’s first Bass… I can remember being in the studio and being told not to turn that ThInG up TOO LouD… ??? :p

Am I that old?? :laugh: