Busk Break: Andrea Lee and The Voodoo Wedding perform “Hot Popcorn”

In this video, local singer/songwriter Andrea Lee sings an original tune — “Hot Popcorn” —  joined by two of her bandmates from The Voodoo Wedding. It’s a good song, and they were great sports about being recorded.

As you can tell, however, there are some things about this video that don’t quite work. The first and most obvious is that I still don’t know how to get the right sound levels for recording a washboard. You’d think that after two years of recording all manner of musicians, including many old-time, bluegrass and novelty jazz bands I’d have a better method for capturing this sound, but it’s trickier than it may seem. Lee’s voice—which is hardly weak—is overpowered by both the banjo and the washboard. What you’re hearing in this video is the best quality I could get from an audio recording that was dominated by the tappy, scratchy, metallic sounds of that washboard, something that overpowered Lee’s voice and guitar no matter what I tried.

It’s a good example of a nearly fantastic recording that was thrown off by the limitations of the recording and the skill of the person behind the camera. Hopefully the next time I catch them, I’ll be able to get a more balanced recording.

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