The “Covers of Comfort” CD is Almost Done!
Throughout the journey of making the “Covers of Comfort” CD, I have learned so many things. And now, I would get to witness the magic of mastering from the experts at Terra Nova Mastering in Austin, Texas.
There is a process to creating a CD, and I truly appreciate every step (and every person) bringing us closer to its completion.
Most of all, I am grateful to have had the most patient and talented producer/drummer/mixer in Ron Wikso. Also, beautiful songs performed by incredibly talented world-renowned artists, and invaluable support from many wonderful people.
All of this brings us to the final step in the audio production of a CD (before we get to artwork, packaging and manufacturing). This is called “mastering”. Ron knew exactly who to call and (once again) I am so grateful.
What is Mastering?
I will borrow a definition from the Terra Nova Mastering Website:
Mastering is the process of sonic enhancement of audio recordings. Using many different software programs, digital and analog equipment, and the combinations of all three, the engineer works from the format provided of final mixes. The final EQ and compression, assembly of the album, fades, song sequencing, editing of unwanted glitches, clicks, pops, and basically preparing the master for duplication.
Terra Nova Mastering
Ron called his friends Jerry and Diane Tubb at Terra Nova Mastering in Austin, and set our appointment for Thursday, June 9, 2016. I was so excited to see this final step of the CD creation process, and even more amazed by who I would get to work with once we got there.
Jerry and Diane opened Terra Nova Mastering Studio in 1990, and have built a beautiful, first-rate studio facility. Since 1990, they have handled the mastering of over 13,000 albums!
They are so kind, and welcomed us with a warm greeting, and made sure every detail was handled.
I love Diane’s comparison of making a CD to having a baby:
“You have the baby, raise it, send it out into the world, and then…
have another baby!”
Diane is a sweetheart, and a VERY talented artist and interior designer! She is also the Vice President/Co-Owner and Head of Business and Studio Operations of Terra Nova Mastering. She has a musical background, and plays classical violin and folk guitar.
A Familiar Sight
Before I describe the mastering session itself, I just want to mention something about the amazing atmosphere of the studio we had the privilege of working in.
As we listened to Jerry working on our music, we sat for almost six hours in the mastering session admiring Diane’s stunning paintings on the walls. She had featured a “scroll” shape in the paintings that we saw, and immediately recognized. The “scroll” is actually called an “F-Hole”. It’s a sound hole that allows sound waves to exit the body of a string instrument.
My mom plays guitar, and when I was a little girl, I remember tracing that shape on her guitar with my tiny fingers. And there it was, beautifully incorporated into paintings on the walls of the studio.
It’s funny how little reminders pop up about the people who first taught you to appreciate what you love!
I was so impressed with Diane’s work, I went to her website and found even MORE to love!
You can check it out yourself by clicking here: www.dianetubbart.com
The Footprints of Music Legends
I could see from the hundreds of CD’s on the walls that Terra Nova Mastering works on MANY CD and DVD projects! Over the years, they have worked on projects from all over the USA, Europe, UK, Canada, Australia, South America, Central America and Japan.
Major and independent artists, major and independent record labels, major and independent producers, Grammy nominees and Grammy winners, the most prolific recording and mixing engineers in the music business, as well as radio, television and film industry, public and private businesses, local, state, and national projects.
I saw a framed piece that featured a Paul McCartney CD, and another housing a John Lennon CD. At first I thought they were part of a “collection” they had acquired. When I got closer to them, I read that Jerry actually did mastering on both of them!
These were just two of the artists they’ve enjoyed working with on “Limited Edition” hour-long releases. (These are exclusive conversations with artists that also featured songs from their CD, as well as “live” bonus tracks unavailable elsewhere.)
Legends On The Walls
Many of the artists come to Terra Nova Mastering to record the conversations and bonus music tracks. These special projects are mastered by Jerry Tubb and Bill Johnson at Terra Nova Mastering.
I asked Jerry about these recordings, and he humbly replied, “Yes, we did work on those. Such nice people.”
Looking at other CD’s, I soon realized I was standing in one of the most highly revered mastering studios in the world!
Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Norah Jones, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson all had CD’s on the walls that were mastered there.
Being a huge Kris Kristofferson fan, I asked Jerry if he actually came to the mastering session. Jerry said, “Yes”, and added, “Kris was a very kind man”.
I asked Jerry where Kris had sat during the session, and Jerry pointed to the chair.
So, of course, I had to sit in it!
One of my favorite bands (The Gregg Rolie Band) has a CD on the wall that Ron plays on, and co-produced.
The Gregg Rolie CD, “Rain Dance” also features Wally Minko on keyboards, and Kurt Griffey on guitar.
Watching the “Master of Mastering” at Work!
The studio we were in was filled with state-of-the-art equipment I would never in a million years be able to understand. But that’s why we were here! To be able to work with, and be in the capable hands of one of the best in the business is truly an honor!
Terra Nova Mastering CEO and Chief Mastering Engineer Jerry Tubb has been recording, performing, and teaching since his early teens. Some of his early musical influences were The Beatles, Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, and B.B. King.
He was Director of the Commercial Music Department at Midland College for several years prior to opening Terra Nova Mastering in 1990. He has won many academic awards, and as a jazz guitar performer has played with numerous famous musicians.
Mentor to so many musicians, and “friend” to all who meet and work with him; everyone knows that Jerry “keeps it real”, and is dedicated to his work. Jerry has excelled in every aspect of music, but mastering was an area that he knew he would choose as his focus. It was a decision that has made Jerry’s talent a major contribution to the music industry of Texas and beyond.
He has a wealth of education and experience:
- Master of Music / Texas Tech University / 1987 Jazz Guitar Studies
- Bachelor of Music / Texas Tech University / 1983 Music Composition
- Associate of Arts / South Plains College / 1975 Music
- Attended / University of North Texas / 1975 Jazz Studies & Composition
I am so pleased that Jerry reacted to the album with such enthusiasm. Being an accomplished musician himself, he was able to articulate his appreciation for what he was hearing.
And, we truly appreciate his comments on how Ron’s production creates a true feeling of comfort through the choices he makes with strategic placement of sound effects, instrumentation, etc.
He understands the level of difficulty the musicians are playing at, and commented on how “expressive” their performances are, and how Wally’s arrangements are “beautifully written”.
I am humbled by his and Diane’s kind words regarding my performance. And, I am really happy to hear how they feel I am being “honest” in the delivery of the lyrics I feel so passionate about. (This will make my Aunt Kathy very happy!)
During our session, we were also able to meet Nick Landis, Senior Mastering Engineer at Terra Nova Mastering. Nick was actually hand-picked in his junior year by Jerry to become an integral part of the Terra Nova Mastering team.
Nick finished his coursework and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Sound Recording Technology from Texas State University. Professionally, he has accumulated over 2,000 album credits.
As a volunteer, Nick served on the Board of Governors (2009-2013) and as Vice President (2012-2013) for The Recording Academy Texas Chapter. On the academic side of things, Nick is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Texas State University and a frequent guest lecturer at Austin Community College and Mediatech Institute.
So, as you can see, we were surrounded by the best in the business. Meeting and working with them is something I will never forget.
Another “Pinch Me” Moment
When the session was over, we received 2 CD’s to listen to on different speakers for review. I can’t explain it, but seeing the CD with the printed label just makes it all seem REAL!
There are “Autograph Books” in the entry of Terra Nova Mastering with the signatures and messages from artists who have worked there. I would have LOVED to look through all of them. Can you imagine? It’s probably a “Who’s Who” of the music industry! Those books in the entry remind me of Carol Burnett’s book she had everyone sign at the end of her show.
I showed it to Ron, and told him he should sign it.
His response was, “No, Honey. WE should sign it”.
Wow. All I can say is, “I am TRULY glad we had this time together“. 🙂