Cuff the Duke Way Down Here

Cuff the Duke Way Down Here
The rustic recording locale of Greg Keelor's farmhouse in January is reflected in the generally mellow and contemplative feel of this, the fourth Cuff The Duke album. It's decidedly quieter than 2007's Sidelines Of The City, and is also a more stylistically focused work. It begins with the sweet CSNY-style harmonies of "You Were Right" and closes with a pleasant two-minute instrumental. Sandwiched in between are consistently strong songs built around the distinctive vocals of Wayne Petti and the fluent pedal steel and electric guitar work of Dale Murray. Vocal harmonies and keyboards are also employed judiciously. There's not a dud here, while highlights include "It's All A Blur" (propelled by spiralling Neil Young-like guitar), the gently haunting "Like The Morning," and the more raucous "Another Day In Purgatory." Recording largely off-the-floor and to tape, the sound is warm and spontaneous, one sure to delight CTD's legions of loyal fans, and worthy of making new ones.

How did the recording process with Greg Keelor work?
Petti: We went to his farm with no pre-production. I had a bunch of songs, the guys had some songs. We'd start each day, pick a song, discuss it, arrange it, then go upstairs to the studio and just do it. We'd never done that before. We'd always rehearsed the heck out of everything. This time, all the parts were spur-of-the-moment and fresh. Also, it was eight tracks and one-inch tape, a very old-school sound. It really made us feel this was the way they used to make records. It was exciting and refreshing as a musician to create that way. The whole record was recorded and mixed in about 12 days. Because it was so spontaneous, we didn't overanalyze.

This is your most stylistically coherent record. Is that attributable to the spontaneous way it was made?
I think so. All we had to work with was what was in Greg's house, plus it was just the four of us. Recording in such a short time really did help make things more coherent. With the last one, people would comment that it was a really rockin' record. I didn't really notice that but now, listening back, it really is. This one sounds like we all smoked a joint, though we didn't. I'm curious to see how people react to a more mellow, vibe-y record. (Noble Recording Co./Universal)