My Awesome Friend Chris Longwood
Watching artists get better over time is something I really enjoy. Today I’d like to write about Audio Engineer Chris Longwood. I first met Chris in 2009 when Runaway Sun won an 8-hour block of recording time at SugarHill Studios in a raffle. This was the first time we had ever recorded in a big studio. Fast forward to 2014, and this week Chris is the Mastering Engineer for the new AndyRoo and the AndyRooniverse album, my sixth major release and the first album I have recorded and mixed by myself without entering a big studio. It feels like graduation. Chris has not only gone from being an Audio Engineer to also a top notch Mastering Engineer, he also teaches aspiring Audio Engineers the courses he used to take, and he has worked with George Clinton, Jandek, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Mariachi Vargas, Bobby Lyle and The Autumn Defense. He has also recorded bands (and gigged!) in Japan. Follow me down memory lane for a minute, before all this happened five short years ago. It has been quite a half-decade working together:
In 2009 Runaway Sun showed up prepared for that free recording session at SugarHill, and so did Chris, and we tracked the whole 10-song album The Bridge in that eight hours. Chris mixed that album in the following months, and I sat there and watched him work, trying to learn everything I could. It was really fascinating.
In 2010 I returned to SugarHill to record my Film Noir solo album. We tracked close to twenty songs over several days and kept thirteen for the album. He was there for the first time I ever worked with session musicians, and in one day we recorded banjo, mandolin, violin, and pedal steel with time to spare. We also recorded cello at my friend’s house, this really cool place that Clark Gable used to live in. This was the first time I had ever done any kind of location recording. Chris borrowed a really nice Mojave mic from Dan Workman at SugarHill, and a neighborhood cat wandered in and watched while we worked. It was a great time. Chris mixed that album at SugarHill, and there I was once again, trying to learn what I could.
In 2011 we teamed up again at SugarHill. This time we were recording the first AndyRoo and the AndyRooniverse album. It was the first time I had made a record where I played everything on it, with one exception. There is a song called Brush Your Teeth, and the toothbrush sound that you hear on that song is Chris brushing his teeth. 2 vigorous takes and we got it in stereo. We also recorded on location at the Children’s Museum of Houston for this album. He mixed that album too, and I kept watching and learning.
In 2012 Runaway Sun recorded the Let’s Run LP at Sunrise Studios. The band had the confidence to mike our own gear and work alongside audio engineering students to record the album. When it came time for mixing the album we went back to Chris, and he rocked it.
This year, I am releasing the second AndyRoo and the AndyRooniverse album, Color Your World. This is the first time I’ve recorded and mixed a record by myself. Chris is the Mastering Engineer for this record. I sent him the mixes, hoping he would like them, and he did! And then he sent me one of the masters, and I was knocked over. Like I said earlier, it feels like graduation. I’m so proud of you, Chris. Here’s to getting better every year! Who knows what we’ll do next?