Eric Clapton has called Sonny Landreth "the most underestimated musician on the planet, and also probably one of the most advanced". The Louisiana-based slide guitar player has invented and mastered an astounding set of techniques that includes fretting notes behind the slide and using every part of his right hand to coax the unique and expressive sounds he gets from the guitar. Tone has always been a hallmark of Sonny's, and Guitar Player Magazine recently named him to their list of the 50 greatest guitar tones of all time.
The Making of Grant Street
Sonny's new live record, "Grant Street", featuring his trio with Dave Ranson on bass and Kenneth Blevins on drums, was recorded in the Spring of 2004 at Lafayette Louisiana's Grant Street Dancehall, a beautiful, cavernous old brick and cypress honky tonk built originally as a fruit warehouse. Sonny and his long-term cohorts, multiple Grammy winning engineer Tony Daigle, and Nashville co-producer R.S. Field, wanted a true document of a live show. The result is a no holds barred set, released with no studio overdubs, showcasing a seasoned live band that kicks more butt than a cross-eyed Rockette.
Regarding the tone on the recording, Guitar Player's Jude Gold said "...on each of this live album's tracks, it seems like a glorious, all-engulfing white light pours divinely from Landreths amps...listening to Landreth's full-spectrum tones, it's almost as if the Louisiana slide superhero has somehow stolen a slice of a star and has brought it on stage with him. It's like his Stratocaster is plugged into the sun."
For the makeshift mobile control room, we assembled a small mountain of choice outboard gear, from vintage Neve, UREI and API, to modern Manley, Amek and PreSonus (including the prototype of their new ADL600 mic pre, which they kindly loaned out for the session), and the recording was done to an Otari RADAR system with Nyquist converters. Sonny uses a variety of different tunings, and expert guitar tech Jason Soileau was kept busy at the gigs, handing Sonny a number of guitars including several of his "road" Strats, a vintage '68 Strat, and a '60 Les Paul, which were plugged into a dual amplifier setup consisting of a Matchless DC30 and Dumble Overdrive Special, each powering a road worn Fender 2x12 cabinet. To capture the tone, the Matchless cab was close miked with a Royer R121 going through one channel of the ADL600 prototype, and a Sennheiser MD421, going through an API preamp, while the Dumble cab, which was housed backstage in an old walk in freezer to keep the stage volume reasonable, was close miked with a Royer R121 through the other channel of the ADL600 and a Neumann KM185 at a distance of about 3 feet going through an API. The resulting sound, capturing the full depth of Sonny's live tone from rich, full bass to sparkling harmonics, speaks for itself. The room mics, which were leaned on heavily in the mix to give the true ambience of the hall, went through a pair of PreSonus Eureka channel strips.
David Klausner - Sweetwater Sales Engineer
I've been a huge fan of Sonny Landreth's music for years. His incendiary live performances are legendary, and many people, including myself, have been bugging him for years to do a live album. When the decision was finally made to do it, I jumped at the chance to go down and help out in any way I could.