Bandgirl's Blog











It’s been a busy week promoting Silverwing.

We picked up a new venue at a place called the Flight Bar, guessing it’s next to the airport.  A friend is teaching line dancing and the owners want some live music, so our friend suggested Silverwing.  Always great to get a recommendation, now the pressure is on. We’ve exchanged info on the dances and songs that will make this gig a success for us and for the new dancers.

Then another friend contacted us this week about an opportunity at a casino in Reno, which is looking for some country music.  It’s hard to break into the casino circuit.  Sometimes you need an agent, who will take a cut, for making a few phone calls.  Also you need to have experience and it’s the age old dilemma, you need experience to get the gig, but you can’t get any experience unless you get a gig.  So if we can get in the door, then we’ll work hard to keep it.  Of course the venue needs to support it with some good advertising.

Then we had a killer practice yesterday.  Lots of breaking down the details.  My husband has played for so long, then he does everything by ear.  I, of course, can’t remember s#@t, so I have lots of notes, but no sheet music.  He just listens, picks out the chords, noodles till he has the lead figured out and off we go.  It can be an amazing thing to watch.  Anyway, there was lots of breaking things down.  What is that note, what is the drum beat, where is the stop.  It went from noon to 6pm with lots of smoke breaks, but that’s where we connect and become friends, not just musicians at a job.

Our next gig is this Saturday at our local hangout Boomer’s.  So lots of friends in the crowd.  I’ll let you know if anything crazy happens.

Mary, http://www.silverwingband.com, our cd is available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing



We have a gig tonight.  Silverwing is booked to play at the Whiskey Tavern.  This is our first time playing there, so we just don’t know what to expect.  Is it a country crowd? A rock crowd?  Will it be packed or not?  Will they dance or just stare at us?

Years ago I came to my first Silverwing gig with my friend who was married to the drummer.  I had never met Mel, the band leader, who is now my husband.  After the very first song my girlfriend elbowed me in the side and said, “Applaud, it’s your job.”  So I applauded loudly and yelled “Yeah” and we helped the party get started.  It’s contagious. 

So we applauded and next thing you know someone else across the room applauds and their friend applauds and someone yells, “Yeah” and it spreads.  But without that first person it takes a while longer to win them over.  Sometimes no one wants to be the first person to give the band their endorsement by applauding and you get this uncomfortable empty silence at the end of a song that you just put all your effort into for the crowd.  Oh well.  It’s a challenge.

So maybe you take a break and talk to someone at the bar or nod at someone who will ask for a song and you make a connection.  Then after a few more beers and a slow buckle polishing song, you’ve got them.  They finally start to hoot and holler and it’s a party.  But it sure is easier when the band family table does it’s job of applauding!  Ha!

Wish us luck at the Whiskey Tavern.  Come say hi to us at our Facebook page or check out our website at www.silverwingband.com.  Our CD “Moonshine” is for sale there. 



{November 14, 2012}   Recording Sessions on New CD

Oh my goodness, am I a procrastinator or what?

The recording of the CD has breezed by me and I have written absolutely nothing, but I am about to change that mistake on my part.  So here I go…

We recorded a track with the entire band, which we used as a scratch track, so that as we each recorded our own individual performance we could listen to the song through the headphones.  That was just easy as pie.

The first take on the drums did not come out so well, but we learned alot.  We learned alot about microphones.  They may look simple but they are complicated.  They have different uses, some for vocals, some for instruments and the mikes that we used were not good for drums.  The mikes picked up everything around them, not just the drum that they were pointing at, so we had hums and buzzes and double strikes and it was just muddy.  Not the crisp, individual recordings that we hoped for as a basis for our recording.

So shopping for new drums mikes was the next step.  We ordered the Shure PGDMK6 Drum Mike Kit.  Consisting of one kick drum mike, 3 snare/tom mikes and 2 instrument mikes that we used for overhead on the cymbals.  Our engineer also threw a blanket over the kick drum so the other mikes wouldn’t pick up the sound.

Then we had our drummer come back to the studio and re-record the drum tracks, which turned out beautiful.  I highly recommend spending the extra money to get microphones that are specifically manufactured for drums.  The Shure mikes were great and we look forward to using them in the future.

The next layer in our CD creation was the bass lines.  Since we have played these songs soooo many times in gigs, that went very smoothly.  If there was a note that they didn’t like we used the “punch in” feature to just fix that one little note.  Quick, fast and onto the next thing.  So recording the bass tracks for each of the ten songs took a few days and sounded great.

The bass tracks were done directly into the mixer board as opposed to through an amplifier with a microphone in front of it.  Using an amplifier can add a boominess to the recording, atleast in the room we were using, so direct in was how we went.

There is alot more to tell about the CD engineering and I’ll get back to that soon.  But Silverwing had a really great gig at the Carson Station Casino in Carson City, NV this last weekend.  We had a group of younger people who hung out and had a great time.  There was lots of encores and hooting and hollering and dancing.  That stuff is the stuff!  When you get a rowdy, fun crowd it just makes it all worthwhile.

Back in a few with more details on the recording of the Silverwing CD. Yeah!



{August 13, 2012}   Beginning of Recording Sessions

So this is the start of our final attempt at creating our own CD of our own music.  The songs are originals written by myself, my husband with some collaberation from a bandmate.  Our band Silverwing has been performing these songs in public for years.  We have had numerous requests from people for a CD.  We have actually missed so many opportunities to sell this CD at different events that it is frustrating to think about the lost income and lost exposure.   But that’s the past and today is day one of the recording sessions.

We are using a Tascam Digital Portable Studio DP-24.  I will go into greater detail on the equipment in another post, but for today we are creating scratch tracks of the originals with all the instruments and vocals recorded at the same time.  Then we will take our turn listening to the scratch track while playing our individual part for the final CD.

Silverwing is a four piece band that plays rockin country.  You can visit our website at www.silverwingband.com.  So we all show up and set up our equipment as if we are playing at a gig.  The drums are miked, the guitar amps are miked and the vocals are miked.  Then instead of all of these microphone chords going into a PA for a gig, the chords are the inputs into our Tascam DP-24.

We’ve played these songs together many times and so after a quick warm up.  We went ahead and attempted to record the scratch tracks.  Each individual song is being saved on it’s on Scan Disc.  The engineer has labeled each card for each song.

Playing together is a blast and even though we have played these songs hundreds of times, it’s still always new.  The drums were crisp and bright, the guitar playing was tight and the bass was driving and powerful.  Our music is fun and sometimes kind of rowdy.  There is not a sad song in the bunch.  So this is not work.  This is joy and life.  It never gets old.

So the recording of each song went without a hitch.  Our engineer, Sean, who is also the bass player has used a previous model of Tascam recorder and our DP-24 is the newest and best for our purposes.  So one after the other, we played a practice run through and then Sean hit the record button and there is was.  Saved on the SD card.  Amazing.

So step one is completed in one day.  Scratch tracks for nine original songs are completed in about 8 hours.  Very productive day in the studio.

Can’t wait to tell you the next part of the adventure.



{May 26, 2010}   Brandywine draws a crowd

I played guitar last weekend at the Oasis Bowl in Fallon, Nevada in my duo, Brandywine.  We had a great turnout with lots of dancing.  Brandywine plays mostly country music, so there is a line dancing crowd and a couples dance crowd that follows us where ever we play.  We added some new songs to the set list.  And playing them live for the first time is always exciting.  Will I remember the breaks, will I remember how many measures of each chord.  I love the challenge of adding new material to the set list.  But the classics are a treasurer.  The first song that I ever sang in public is “I can’t help it, if I’m still in love with you”  by Hank Williams Sr which I first heard on a Linda Ronstadt album many years ago.  I can’t sing it exactly like the Linda version and of course she had Emily Lou Harris doing back up vocals, how awesome, but I stand and deliver and try to do it justice.  It keeps me excited by life and playing keeps me young and happy with something to look forward to.  I’m looking forward to the next gig.



The Silverwing band from Fallon, Nevada is in the last stages of recording a CD of original material.  Silverwing is mainly a rowdy country band fronted by Mel Warstler.  Mel has been playing guitar since he was about 16 in numerous bands throughout Nevada, California and Oregon.  Raised a country boy on the coastal ranches in Oregon, Mel’s music roots go back to classic country.  He learned his picking style at 16 from a retired LA studio musician.  And from that time on Mel’s lead playing has improved and has elevated him to be one of the best country pickers in Nothern Nevada music scene.  When Mel isn’t playing with Silverwing, he is the lead guitarist for Rick Hays and American Steel and can be seen at casinoes throughout Reno and Carson City.

The music on the CD ranges from the classic country sound, to the Kenny Chesney beach type cha-cha to the swamp backwoods down home sounds of Little Big Town.  Really there is something for everyone on this CD.  Last few touches will be completed in the month of May and then mastering and production to follow.  I will keep you informed on when the CD will be released.

Have a great day, Bandgirl



{May 1, 2010}   Brandywine on May 22

Brandywine will be playing on May 22nd at the Oasis Bowl in Fallon, Nevada.  This is a new event for the Oasis Bowl.  We already do Karaoke on Friday nights, but to have Mel and I come in a perform live music is a new project for Brandywine and the Oasis Bowl.   We are really hoping to have a great turnout, so that we can make the Oasis Bowl our new hangout for the dance crowd in Fallon, Nevada.  We are working up some new songs and of course we will be performing our originals, such as Wide Open Spaces and Who You Are.  The CD of our original songs will be completed in the next month or two and will be available for sale this summer.



{April 26, 2010}   Brandywine at Oasis Bowl

The duo Brandywine (Mel & Mary of Silverwing) will be playing on May 22 at the Oasis Bowl, Fallon, Nevada.  Brandywine is very excited about playing at this new venue.  The Oasis Bowl offers a great bar with good prices.  The dance floor will be cleared for our “Silverwing Dancers.”    Brandywine is going to add some new songs to their list for this event.  It’s been a while since Brandywine has had a consistent place to play in Fallon, so we are hoping for good turn out.  This could be the our new “hang out.”  Come on out and support Brandywine and let Rick and Karen at the Oasis Bowl know that having a place to dance is a good idea.  Maybe we can make this a regular gig.  Thanks, BandGirl



et cetera