For the past year, the six members of The Busted String Band have been gathering in their guitarist’s living room, patiently recording and rerecording their first full-length CD using only a Mac computer, a couple of microphones and a Marshall amp — all to preserve their music and commemorate their experiences.
After overcoming a few hurdles, the band released their ten-track CD, “Mighty Fools,” in Kirksville on Friday during a party at Wrongdaddy’s, Matt Kennedy, graduate student and program advisor for service and leadership, said.
“Mighty Fools” features a mix of blues, bluegrass, country and Irish influences with a roots music center that holds everything together, Kennedy said, and is a good representation of the band’s diverse sound.
The title track, “Mighty Fools,” is a sad country ballad, he said. The song isn’t a staple of their live performances, so he said the band wanted to draw attention to the recording.
“It’s a little all over the place, but I think it really captures the essence of what our band is, which is a little hard to pin down in terms of style,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy, the band’s guitarist, said the diverse project was not without its share of obstacles. The ultimate goal was to create something the band could be proud of, but because they recorded at home and had limited experience with sound engineering, there were a couple of failed attempts before they were able to produce a record they were happy with, he said.
Each musician recorded their individual tracks in Kennedy’s living room, using Garage Band to piece it all together. The recording finally was finished during October, and Kennedy said it was worth the hours of work that went into the CD’s creation.
“I think it represents kind of a snapshot of what we’ve got going on,” Kennedy said. “Being a band that’s comprised of people that are not necessarily planning on this being a full-time career and people who are only going to be in Kirksville for a few years, we wanted to capture the essence of [the band].”
Kennedy said the CD allows the band to take the music they’ve written and the stories their music tells and put them in a tangible format that can be kept for “posterity’s sake.”
While Kennedy said he is proud of the effort that went into the CD, he said it also is exciting the CD has been well received by fans. By his estimates, about 350 people attended the release party and about 60 CDs were sold Friday at Wrongdaddy’s, Kennedy said.
Graduate student and GTRA Michael Kosiek said it was the support of fans that originally gave the band the idea to record.
“People were egging us on, asking us about [a CD] and putting the idea in our heads that we should have something to show what we’ve done over the past couple years and have something tangible to remember us by,” Kosiek said.
After that, Kosiek said the band probably spent at least 200 hours creating the CD. He said the band wanted to make sure it was something they were proud to call their own, and they were willing to work out the kinks, learning the process of home recording and overcoming minor arguments throughout the process.
“There was definitely some brotherly and sisterly arguing — we’re kind of like a big family,” Kosiek said. “All in all I think it did help us grow as a band … I think it was all for a good purpose.”
Not only did the band learn to manage tension during the recording process but Kosiek said recording also taught them more about their music. By examining the songs closely during recording, the musicians got to know their original songs better than before, he said.
After all the work the group dedicated to the project, Kosiek said he is excited to see the CD gaining interest. He said he was not expecting to go through their first 100 disc order so quickly, and the fact that only 40 CDs remain from their first order disproves his belief that there was not much interest in the band’s music.
“We just wanted to do something we were proud of and had a lot of fun doing,” he said. “It’s kind of a surreal kind of feeling that people actually spent their money on it. It’s nice to know people are still willing to support local acts and live music.”
Senior drummer Paul Hadwiger said he agreed the project was a growing experience for the band. Discipline, patience and consistency were key to the success of the project, he said.
“You had to do a lot more personal work in your recording,” Hadwiger said. “Everyone had to practice more, had to work harder on their own individual playing, so everyone kind of grew more as musicians with this project.”
Hadwiger said he hopes “Mighty Fools” will give more people the opportunity to listen to The Busted String Band and increase enthusiasm for live performances.
Filed Under: Features