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ISOLATION BOOTHS: Recording Delta Tales in the Middle of a Pandemic

Updated: Jun 23


KARYN MUELLER: I was intrigued by the fact that completion of Delta Tales was accomplished during the Covid-19 lockdown, with many of the musicians being located in different parts of the country. Of course, this wasn’t what SKR and his team had foreseen but sometimes necessity is the mother of invention, after all. Ace Acker and the SKR team persevered and DELTA TALES was released in October of 2020. I asked Ace to tell us the story of how he used his “magic” to make this happen. I think he makes it sound a lot easier than it was! As SKR sings “There is light at the end of the tunnel." ACE: We started working on Sun King Rising’s debut Delta Tales album on January 20, 2020 with few expectations and only a framework process to start with.

From the beginning we knew it would be challenging. With the artist, John Blangero, living and recording in Port Isabel, Texas and I (the producer) living in the Mahoning Valley of NE Ohio, the challenge was to add a studio band to his completed keyboard/vocal tracks. I would record the band in area studios with the best regional players and singers available.

By March 14, we had three basic tracks completed, with more sessions booked. But on that day, the whole world shut down and remained on shutdown for a year. That complicated the production considerably. I had, by then, found a studio near Pittsburgh operated by David Granati, a Pittsburgh legend and dear friend from the early days of our careers (I have since moved to Pittsburgh myself). Before the shutdown became complete, we were able to record two basic tracks there with a superb band of Pittsburgh players. At that point, the State of Pennsylvania cracked the whip--“Stay at Home!”

This was an order we could not violate; John’s standing in the international scientific community would not allow him to. Nor did we want to. I was forced to produce the remainder of the album during the few brief periods of shutdown relief that did come that Spring and Summer, some at David’s studio, but most of it remotely in seven different studios across the country, wherever the players and singers we needed for each track were located. These were the “isolation booths” the title of this piece refers to. It was an extraordinarily complex process, but we managed to complete Delta Tales by the end of August on PeacockSunrise Records. The label released the album on October 2, 2020.

Now we are immersed in the pre-production process of Sun King Rising’s sophomore album and this one will be recorded in an entirely different—and far superior—manner. Join the Lowdown to follow the continuing saga of Sun King Rising’s rise to world prominence by this day of 2022. You ain’t heard nuthin’ yet. Ace Acker Pittsburgh, PA Join The Lowdown for more stories like this. Please click the Login button below.

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