Why I Love Mechanical Music


Real mechanical music has the ability to get people to camp out, around the fire, so to speak. Music is unique in that it stokes so many physical, mental, and emotional triggers. It’s impressive experiencing the human mastery of a mechanical instrument, emulating nature at it’s core. Most commonly via musicians performing live, there’s something about the mechanical experience of music that makes people stop and stare – and most importantly, listen. Today, I feel like have to acknowledge vinyl playback as a mechanical live performance, as it seems to have the same effect on the community.

I was at a few casual gatherings this past week, where my friends’ teenage kids had turntables and a bunch of their parents’ old records – we actually hung out together, with the kids and parents picking records, talking about the music. I was most amazed that the kids had the interest and patience to listen to their parents’ music – you tell me the last time you saw teenagers willingly hanging out with a bunch of crusties, let alone talking about the crusties’ music. The live performance of music has the ability to bring people, young and old, together – they forget their cultural differences. Do you think it’s because that performance is mechanical in nature?

This new revival of vinyl has gotten me thinking – do people actually view vinyl playback as a live musical performance? They sure seem mezmorized in the same way – much like they would be at a concert. Would that explain the attraction to vinyl playback? Is it a chance to mechanically experience your favorite artists in concert, with your friends and family? I know that this mechanical music experience thing must be real, as it has extended beyond the hipster-clad big city, to the no nonsense small mountain towns of Montana – with new vinyl-only stores opening like Spanky’s and Gus, Old School Records, and the upcoming vinyl nights at the Tupelo Grille bar, mechanical music seems like it’s on the move.

Sonic Youth

Tiana Crist PianoWe all have experiences in life that we never forget, flashes in time we keep with us the rest of our lives. This week marks one of those milestones for local pianist Tiana Crist…

In today’s world of music, it can be difficult for our youth to get the support they need. At a very excited 10 years young, Tiana has that support system from her parents – thank you Sally and Chad for the encouragement! She has incredible skill and keeps a very humble attitude towards her art, even for someone who reads music and is already writing her own compositions.

Take a listen.

The Fan In Me

Beatles Necklace

The other day my neighbor and I got into a discussion, and I found out that she was basically one of the biggest Beatles fans ever. She told me that she had all of their records, trading cards, ticket stubs from their last show at Candlestick Park, clothing, stickers, posters…. everything. And then she told me about her prized possession – a gold medallion with John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Mop tops and beatnik suits. She told me what made this necklace rare was not the limited edition photo on the front, but that it also had all of their signatures carved into the back. I couldn’t believe it. In this lonely digital age, I had found a super fan. I remember collecting baseball cards when I was a kid. I learned all about my favorite players that way. I based hang out sessions with my friends around talking shop and traded cards – it brought me closer to the game, and it gave me a sense of community… even if they were just cardboard cutout friends. I wonder if the digital music consumers of today know what they’re missing, not being able to touch and feel a piece of the music. Maybe they don’t care. Must be the fan in me.

Got Change For 20 Grand?


We had a great week with Whitefish’s favorite funk band, 20 Grand. It paid off gigging endlessly this summer, as they got their keeper takes from a live pass through all of the songs – that energy definitely comes across in the recording. We are in the process of mixing and mastering the project, and it is sounding great so far – They have started a 20 Grand Kickstarter page to generate some pre-sales and get the project wrapped up, complete with a hilarious introduction video filmed in the SnowGhost control room. Here is a rough-mix-sneak-peek of their new tune ‘Dump Truck’ – Enjoy!


We Love Our Work

JP Quartet

Thanks again to the John Pizzarelli Quartet for visiting SnowGhost Music! A few of the best jazz musicians of our time, John and his brother Martin are two current snapshots from the past of their father Bucky Pizzarelli, a living legend within the jazz community. John and Bucky have also recorded their fair share of pop music, John playing on Paul McCartney’s last record Kisses On The Bottom, and Bucky on some of Phil Spector’s biggest hits. When you add in Monty Alexander on the Steinway, a man who some argue as one of the best pianists in the world, it’s recording days like these that we live for.

Fall Foliage and Mixing

Brett Mixing

As I work in the studio, and watch the leaves change colors here in Montana, I realize that there are obvious parallels in music production and changing surroundings. I know that the art we produce is directly influenced by our surroundings – but I’ve never actually thought about the seasons affecting mixes. Montana is gearing up for that annual white winter blanket, and I wonder if my approach changes at all. Getting ready for those SnowGhosts!

Luke O’Connell Band

Luke O'Connell Band

Tracking, mixing, and mastering 5 new songs for The Luke O’Connell Band, a group from our very own Flathead Valley. They work fast and furious, often only needing a take or two of a song before calling it good. It’s pleasure to work with them, and we look forward to doing it again!