At noon on Memorial Day, a country singer from Palms Island who now lives in Nashville was back in town for a performance at the Firefly Distillery.
As well as playing outside on the patio for a crowd of patriotic music fans – most wearing red, white and blue t-shirts and sipping on sweet tea vodka – Haley Mae Campbell also recorded a live session in the whole new studio at the North Charleston distillery.
She was the third artist to test the space, after Caitlyn Smith and Jimmie Allen earlier in May.
A cameraman followed the strummings on his pink guitar, zooming in on the cajon drummer to his left and the violinist to his right as the band performed Campbell’s latest hit “Never Been in Love”.
The video joins the pool that Firefly expects to release when they launch a new, more music-focused website later this summer.
“This will obviously be Charleston’s new studio to beat,” Campbell insisted after her recording session. “It’s going to be really cool to see everything they do here once it all opens up again.”
Although Campbell was the third country artist to perform in the venue, event manager Sara Bennett ensured the studio was supposed to host artists of all genres and had high hopes for future sessions. with larger tours lined up to perform on the distillery’s outdoor stage. .
âWe wanted to bring Grace Potter here,â Bennett said of the artist who performed in the venue in April. “But it was still the COVID era.”
Firefly’s popular Safe Sounds outdoor show series brought tours to the city at a time when most did not hit the road. The spacious grounds and 10-by-10-foot partitioned âpodsâ – designed and erected by Rob Lamble of Ear for Music – made audience members and performers feel much safer than standing room shows. crowded.
The next round of the popular series will feature more single-ticket âlawnâ options, while the pods will become a special VIP section. This will allow greater capacity and therefore more important acts.
The studio will be a space for them to come and play a bit before or after their gig, if they wish, said Scott Newitt, owner of the Firefly Distillery.
Newitt has been collecting sound equipment and gear since his own days playing in jazz and alternative rock groups in New Orleans. Just fill up an upstairs room of the distillery that accommodates a range of sound engineers and videographers from a list of vendors.
His first studio idea resulted in a decorated motorhome during the 2008 recession.
âWe went out, bought a motorhome for 60 cents on the dollar, wrapped it with the Firefly logo and told the bands if they went out and promoted us they could use it for tours,â said Newitt.
He said about eight groups accepted it, but the RV was then turned into a small studio in Firefly’s former location in the barn loft and rented it out to performers for free. They only had to provide a producer.
Hootie & the Blowfish guitarist Mark Bryan helped set this up.
In the new space, a room once occupied by boxes of T-shirts and promotional accessories is now soundproofed and embellished with 27 different microphones, a Mac equipped with Pro Tools recording software, a Fender Telecaster and a six-piece Pearl Reference drum set. with Zildjian K cymbals, among a collection of other gear.
Newitt said it wasn’t really a business yet, although it could be an opportunity eventually. For now, this is only a cross-promotion opportunity for the distillery and the artists it hosts.
“It’s more about the people who come to play here,” Newitt said. “To see if we can get them recorded here. The idea is to have a cohesive program to put on social media.”
Interviews with artists, in addition to short video and audio sessions, are underway. And Newitt hopes to associate local groups with the business, perhaps set them up with roving groups as openers.
âIt will be fun to get to know the people playing here on a little more intimate level,â said event director Bennett.
Hopes are, maybe one day a next successful record will come from the Charleston Distillery. Wouldn’t that be something, said Newitt.
To reach Kalyn Oyer at 843-371-4469. Follow her on Twitter @sound_wavves.