Old Lyme, CT (March 25, 2013)-Shoshana Bean's second album, "O'Farrell Street," features the former "Wicked" star singing through a Neumann TLM 67 large diaphragm microphone.
Bean, perhaps best known for her performances as Elphaba in the Broadway musical "Wicked," is also a recording artist. The new album goes back to her childhood. "The album began with my wanting to honor the sound of the late sixties and soul music-Stax and Motown, mostly," she says. "I was raised on a lot of that music and these different artists. The music is very simple, yet there are a lot of nuances and complexities you don't even notice. Also, there are no filters; it is just pure emotion."
To make sure she got the sonics just right, Bean called on longtime friend and producer Tim Kvasnosky, who has been more or less obsessed with the Memphis blues sound since roughly 2004. "I wanted to make this record in an authentic way without using samples, and microphones were a big piece of the puzzle," says Kvasnosky.
After a shootout of no less than 12 vocal microphones, which included several U47 "rip offs," he settled on the Neumann TLM 67 large diaphragm microphone. "Right away, I could see how Shoshana reacted to the TLM 67," he recalls. "We loved it, and the more we worked with it, the more we realized it was giving the record a sonic footprint and character."
O'Farrell Street was recorded in North Hollywood at Bright Street Recorders, which Kvasnosky says has a spectacular live room. The basic tracks were recorded just as they would have been in the '60s, with the core band playing simultaneously, live to tape; strings, horns and vocals were added later.