One of those only-in-New York things: you’re out in Ridgewood on a Tuesday night to see a solo guitar player (Chuck Johnson), and the opening act is freaking Lee Ranaldo. Since the demise of Sonic Youth, Lee has been a busy man, putting out two well-received solo records. If these new songs are any guide, there’s going to be a lot more where that came from. What’s striking about seeing Ranaldo in the many settings where we’ve seen him — from the Sonic Youth days to a mind-bending improv performance with Tim Barnes at the opening of Market Hotel, to this solo acoustic performance at Trans-Pecos — is the assuredness with which he plays, the singular dedication and quality that comes through in every single thing he does. The decades under his belt as a professional musician serve not to weigh him down, but as with the finest artists, to free him to do exactly what he chooses, when he chooses, and do it well. These new songs show Lee’s continuing development during the post-Sonic Youth Between the Times & the Tides and Last Night On Earth era, when Ranaldo first embraced more straight-ahead songwriting in the solo realm versus his previous experimental efforts. While we’ve heard “Let’s Start Again” before, at last year’s Trans-Pecos show, the rest of these songs were new numbers, some of which Lee has tried out sporadically at other appearances. Even in their stripped-down form, the complexity and strength of these songs was obvious, and Ranaldo’s vocals have never sounded better. This was a welcome burst of energy from a master of his craft; we can’t wait to see what comes next.
I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V microphones at the stage lip near Lee and his guitar, coupled with a soundboard feed and Audio Technica 853 microphones in the audience to capture the ambiance of the room. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!
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Recorded and produced by acidjack
Soundboard + Schoeps MK4V (stage lip, DFC) + Audio Technica 853c>PFA (ROC, at SBD)>>Zoom F8>3x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, compression)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Tracks [Total Time 31:11]
02 Let’s Start Again
04 Electric Trim
05 Last Looks
06 Thrown Over the Wall