the Soul Shop

the Soul Shop is an all-analog recording studio in Medford, Mass.

Last Month Of The Year, a Holiday Package from the Soul Shop

In 1850, in Medford, Mass, a young man sat down at the piano in a tavern and wrote "Jingle Bells," inspired by sleigh races held in Medford Square in the wintertime. A few years prior, a young Medford woman had written a poem entitled "Over The River And Through The Woods," reminiscing about sleigh rides to her grandfather's house, on the Mystic River. In the mid 1860's, a carriage stable was constructed on Main St. - a half-mile from the Square, and two blocks from the Mystic - to house the horses who led those sleigh rides, and who carried passengers back & forth to Boston.

This year, at the Soul Shop (built in the middle section of the building that housed that former carriage stable), we made a Christmas record.

Merry Christmas to you!

the devastating new album from guitarist Will Graefe

Will Graefe has been in the Shop before: tearing the roof off (live to 2-track!) with his power trio Dikembe's Mutombo, as well as ornamenting the gorgeous songwriting of Wilder Maker with his stunning lead playing. Now we're very proud to announce his forthcoming solo guitar record, Alos.

Recorded in March live to multitrack, the instrumental album (nearly entirely acoustic, with one electric number) showcases Will's songwriting as much as his staggering chops. Sometimes all you need to do is put the right guy in front of the right microphones, chiefly among which were two AKG classics: the C-451E (veteran of a thousand acoustic guitar records) and the D-19 (a dynamic mic on acoustic guitar lends weight and "wood" to the sound, especially with some gentle limiting from our 1176). The rest of our guitar & room micing will have to remain a mystery…

Performed on an inexpensive, borrowed flattop guitar, the palpable focus and tenacity of these performances echo the circumstances of their composition, as most were written on the road. As Graefe says: "On tours, I found myself playing constantly, and usually alone; in sound-checks, in the van, in hotel bathrooms, in parks. I would find almost mantra-like melodies or sets of chords and play them over and over again until they developed naturally."

Eschewing overdubs, and mixed with minimal processing by Graefe and Dan Arnes in Brooklyn, the album ranges from the reverent, simple beauty of Graefe's reading of "Solitude" by Duke Ellington, to the raucous, joyful melodic Americana of "Special," linked here for your listening pleasure:

Only the most technically proficient musicians realize the power of melody, and the awesome responsibility it takes to harness your prowess to great songwriting. With this recording, Graefe proves himself a master of all sides of his craft, and opens the door to an incredibly promising future. Here's hoping he keeps coming back to the Shop to put those ideas to tape.

buy the album here!

can't trust the internet

The online platform Posterous, where we used to host our news feed, has been bought out & shuttered. So it goes. Meanwhile, keep track of the latest happenings on our Facebook page (until that gets replaced by a Mountain Dew ad). We'll get back to blogging on this page soon!