Skyypilot Posts

Waves and Discovery (Pt. 2)


It would have been physically impossible to make my audio gains in the past few months without Waves plugins.  A plugin is software inserted in the audio chain of your DAW  (digital audio workstation).  It is generally an emulation of the original processing hardware desired.  They are indispensable for sound-shaping.

Mixing “in the box” is a term used to describe mixing done completely using a computer.  The only hardware used is your audio interface where you can monitor what you’re mixing or plug in microphones or guitars if you choose.  The advantages are immediacy and convenience.  One can change gear at the click of a mouse, unlike the old days of unplugging the unwanted hardware, dragging out the gear you want to try, and plugging it all back in.

Waves Audio was founded in 1992 . Its first product was the Q10 Paragraphic Equalizer.  It was the first commercially available audio plugin.  They now have over 200 plugins that can process audio in a myriad of ways.  Each piece of replicated gear has been carefully modeled, down to the 60 or 50hz hum of the original hardware.  Waves even puts a couple of extras not on the original equipment!

When I listened to the Beatles while growing up, I dreamed of recording at their EMI (Abbey Road) studios.  Their producer (George Martin) used Abbey Road equipment to decorate the sound much like an artist uses colors.  I now am able to use that same equipment in software form, from beginning to end (as well as many other studio gear combinations).

Every recording studio is filled with audio processing gear.  It is expensive and cumbersome.  Each component has its own distinct sonic character.  It’s what we look to for “spice” in our recordings.  The ability to change these quickly is vital.  Waves makes this economically and physically possible.  I use their plugins exclusively now and recommend them.   They aren’t paying me for this endorsement, either!

Discovery (Pt. 2)

Another discovery I made was the in the music of Tony Joe White.  He had just released his 42nd album in September, then unexpectedly passed away in October.  Tony Joe White was a true original.

He was driving a dump truck in Marietta, Georgia in 1967 when he heard Bobby Gentry’s “Ode To Billie Joe”.  He was inspired to write his southern-based “swamp rock”.  He wrote “Polk Salad Annie” (among others), drove to Nashville, signed with Monument Records, and had a #8 hit with fore-mentioned song.

He wrote the huge hit “Rainy Night in Georgia” that was made famous by Brook Benton.  Tina Turner would record four of his songs on her 1988 “Foreign Affair” album.  (Tony Joe played  guitar and harmonica on it as well.)

He made great music right up till the end of his time on this earth, doing what he loved.  That’s how to do it!

You can discover Tony Joe White, too!

© 2018 J. Mark Witters

Culture War, Hypocrisy, Discovery

Culture War

We have had a culture war going on for decades and no one seems bothered by it.  If you are one who tends to go individually, good luck with that!  There is a race for the bottom of American culture to where it is non-existent in most cases.  Lots of safe, boring, compartmentalized music is  being released every day to a chorus of “so what” ‘s.  Cute, savvy, etc.,  but what message is being sent?  Music is the ultimate form of communication, after all.

I am in the culture war no-man’s land- Mid 60’s Straight White Conservative Christian Male who refuses labels as to music genre.  I like George Jones to Captain Beefheart. to Hound Dog Taylor, etc., etc…  I don’t play concerts.  The studio is my instrument.  Every day is fresh.  Isolating, but exhilarating!


I love hearing the hypocrisy of the least inclusive telling me to have an open mind.  Our society espouses high morality, yet lying, cheating, and outright theft are rewarded time and time again.

That’s not the America I grew up in.  We expected people to be honest and left to grow in each person’s own time and space.  We had freedom of speech and creativity flowed.

Today, the hypocritical politically correct slash, burn, censor, and shun all thought other than their own.  Degeneration into mobs seems to be the easy,  popular way to rule others’ lives.  Count me out.


Despite the negativity, I made a discovery- Dave Hole.  He’s an Australian blues guitarist who plays the most jaw-dropping slide guitar I’ve ever heard.  He plays with the slide on the index finger from over the top of the guitar neck when playing slide, then back around from the bottom to use the other three fingers.  You have to see it to believe it.  Check this page out:

There is always something you haven’t heard.  I, for one, am always looking.

Bright Shiny Object

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Bright Shiny Object

What we have here is a bright shiny object.  What, may you ask, is that?

Many have watched talent shows over the years.  America has seen programming such as “Original Amateur Hour“, “The Gong Show“, “Star Search“, “American Idol“,  “America’s Got Talent“,  etc., etc…  The contestant’s  task is convincing the panel that THEY are the latest bright shiny object.  It is a moment of instant, but fleeting gratification.  Now, they must prove themselves in the REAL world.

All About Communication

After all, it’s all about communication.  The message is what really matters.  The world is filled with amazing musicians, writers, singers, artists, etc., but a comparative precious few do anything meaningful with their God-given gifts.

It ultimately doesn’t matter how fast you can play scales and arpeggios,  how many chords you know,  or how many vocal triplets and gymnastics you fling around.  It always goes back to what’s in your heart and how THAT is communicated- the message.

Some of the best communication happened back in the early  days.  Sure, it was primitive in the music, delivery, and recording, but it was the guitar and the raw voice speaking directly to you.  Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, early Bob Dylan are all prime examples.  People listened because a message was being delivered straight to them.  The vocals, playing, and recording may have been rough, but the message is what mattered.


Any artist cares about the legacy he/she leaves behind.  Now, if one is only driven by sales, not so much. There are countless pieces of million-selling garbage out there.  There are many gems, as well, but you generally need seek out the ones that speak to you personally.  The search is the real adventure.

As far as sales and even website traffic go, I am a dismal failure, but that’s not my goal. The learning curve is lurching upward.  It’s the journey, not the destination.

Good or bad, I’m building my legacy.

© 2018  J. Mark Witters